After recently acquiring Nigella’s newest cookbook (At My Table), I tried a recipe which if I am honest, I was sure was going to be mediocre at best. It just looked like it couldn’t possibly live up to her beautifully written introduction to the recipe. But how wrong I was – her chicken, frozen pea and leek bake was the most simple dish, both in preparation and in constituents but its flavour blew me away. Although the recipe I am offering up to you today is similarly deceiving. Homemade Paxo is the most humble of dishes but the flavour will blow your socks off.
If you have no clue what Paxo is, then please don’t unsubscribe when you hear that it is, in fact, a packet mix of sage and onion stuffing :O
I know, I feel very ashamed of myself. But, it is the stuff of my childhood, as I am certain it is for many a Brit like me of very working class beginnings! (Like Bisto gravy and Oxo stock cubes, Paxo is a bit of a British institution!). It shouldn’t be surprising to hear that dehydrated breadcrumbs and onions aren’t exactly the most wonderful thing a home cook can shimmy to the table with but the flavour combination of onion, sage and a healthy dollop of butter is a beautiful thing served with your Sunday lunch or Christmas Dinner (or dare I suggest Thanksgiving, too?).
When you take fresh breadcrumbs and fold in onions, cooked until completely soft with fresh sage, a little parsley in a puddle of butter, you have a fluffy, moist and fragrant stuffing that works alongside chicken and pork roasts superbly well. Like curries and stews which are typically brown and uninteresting to look at, this stuffing may look sombre and drab but I promise you the flavour will win you over. It’s cheap, easy and wonderful to eat and I really hope I can convince you to stop buying packet mix stuffing and give homemade a try. I promise you won’t be disappointed! Hungry Hubby said it is even better than storebought Paxo, high praise indeed ;)
A frugal side dish for roast chicken or pork dinners. Super simple in composition and to put together but the flavours are so much better than any packet mix on the market!
- 50 g soft butter
- 1/4 tsp olive oil
- 2 medium onions, peeled and finely chopped
- 2 tsp dried parsley (or 1 tbsp fresh)
- 1.5 tbsp fresh sage, finely chopped
- 200 g fresh breadcrumbs
- 1 large egg, beaten
Add the butter and a little trickle of olive oil to a sauté pan over medium heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring frequently until softened and translucent.
Add the parsley and sage and cook for a couple of minutes until fragrant. Tip in the breadcrumbs and stir well to coat with the buttery onions.
If making immediately, beat in the egg and scrape into a butter oven dish of approximately 9 inches diameter (throwaway foil trays will do). Cover with foil. If not cooking immediately, allow to cool fully before adding the egg.
If cooking in a full oven (with potatoes, roasted veg or meat), then cook for 35-40 mins at approximately 200˚C. It will take 30-35 mins to cook in an otherwise empty oven I find.
Take the foil off and allow to brown for 5 minutes and stand for 10 minutes out of the oven before serving.
- I make my breadcrumbs by throwing whole pieces of bread, crusts and all, into the food processor and blitzing until they are a fine crumb. I use white bread for an authentic Paxo vibe but please do use brown if you prefer.
- Sourdough is a beautiful thing but you will need to remove the crusts as even my Magimix struggles to break that down!
- If you prefer a chunkier stuffing, chop the bread by hand with a sharp knife.
- You can make this stuffing up to 24 hours ahead - just allow the crumbs and onions to fully cool before adding the egg and then cover and refrigerate until needed. Add 5 mins to the cooking time for chilled stuffing.
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