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    Fennel, cherry & rye stuffing

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    Fennel, cherry & rye stuffing

    • Preparation time: 25 minutes, plus cooling and soaking
    • Cooking time: 1 hour 15 minutes
    • Total time: 1 hour 40 minutes, plus cooling and soaking

    Serves: 6-8


    30g unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing
    100g hazelnuts, roughly chopped
    2 echalion shallots, thinly sliced
    2 fennel bulbs, thinly sliced, fronds reserved
    6 garlic cloves, crushed
    20g rosemary, leaves roughly chopped
    300g The Village Bakery rossisky rye bread, torn into chunks
    100g dried cherries
    450g Waitrose British gourmet sausagemeat
    150ml chicken stock
    1 egg, beaten
    5 rashers pancetta, cut into 2-3cm lengths


    1. Heat the butter in a large frying pan, until foaming. Add the nuts, stirring for 2-3 minutes, until toasted and golden; lift out with a slotted spoon and set aside. Add the shallots and fennel to the pan with a pinch of salt; cover and cook for 5 minutes. Uncover and cook over a medium heat for about 20 minutes, until soft. Turn up the heat, frying for 4-6 minutes, stirring often, until caramelised. Mix through the garlic and most of the rosemary; cool completely.

    2. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 200˚C, gas mark 6. Spread the bread on a large baking tray; toast for 20-25 minutes, turning halfway, until crisp. Set aside to cool, reserving a handful. Cover the cherries with just-boiled water, leave for 10 minutes, then drain.

    3. In a large bowl, use your hands to mix the fennel mixture, cherries and most of the bread and nuts with the sausagemeat, stock and egg; check the seasoning by frying off a small pinch.

    4. Grease a large baking dish (about 1.5 litres in volume) and press in the stuffing, scattering over the reserved bread. Cover tightly with foil and bake for 35 minutes. Uncover and top with pancetta, as well as the reserved hazelnuts and rosemary. Cook for a final 3-5 minutes, until the pancetta is crispy, serving scattered with the fennel fronds, if liked. 

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    This recipe first appeared in Waitrose Food magazine. myWaitrose members can download the Waitrose Food app edition for FREE. Find out more.


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