Parsley Recipes

APRICOT, CELERY & WALNUT STUFFING

(Sufficient for a 12 lb Turkey)

8 oz fresh white breadcrumbs

2 onions, chopped

1½ oz butter

2 sticks of celery, finely chopped

6 oz dried un-sulphured apricots, chopped

2 oz raisins

1 large orange

2 oz walnut pieces, roughly chopped

a good bunch of parsley, chopped

salt & pepper

Put the chopped apricots and raisins in a bowl with the grated rind and juice of the orange.  Leave to swell for at least 6 hours or overnight.

Melt the butter in a frying pan and soften the onions without colouring.  Add the celery and cook briefly before combining with the remaining ingredients.

Although there is a lot of advice nowadays not to stuff the body of the turkey, this is exactly what I do as the flavour of the stuffing gains so much from the juices of the bird as it cooks.  Just take care not to pack the stuffing in too densely and remember to add the stuffing weight to the weight of the bird when calculating cooking times.

CHICKEN WITH PARSLEY, LEMON AND THYME

A simple roast chicken in Italy is always a very herby affair.  There are several ways the herbs can be incorporated.  A herb butter, smoothed over the breast of the chicken between the skin and the meat, will both flavour and baste.  The cavity may be filled with a herb and breadcrumb stuffing, or, more simply, just with a cut lemon and sprigs of thyme, with the stuffing in the neck end only.

For the stuffing

1 banana shallot, chopped

1½ oz butter

8 oz fresh white breadcrumbs

1 small bunch parsley, chopped

Handful of thyme, preferably lemon thyme

Salt and pepper

1 unwaxed lemon

Melt the butter in a small frying pan then cook the chopped shallot until softened but not coloured.

Meanwhile strip the thyme leaves from their stems and mix them, together with the chopped parsley, with the breadcrumbs.  Finely grate the zest from the lemon and mix this with the breadcrumbs.  Stir the breadcrumbs into the buttered shallots, season well with salt and pepper and then add sufficient lemon juice to bind the mixture.

For the herb butter

1 small bunch of parsley

Good handful of thyme, preferably lemon thyme

Grated zest of 1 unwaxed lemon

4 oz unsalted butter

Salt and pepper

Chop the parsley, including the stalks, in a food processor.  Add the thyme leaves and lemon zest and process again briefly to mix.  Now add softened butter, a seasoning of salt and pepper, and process again until evenly combined.  This quantity will be more than you need for the chicken but is also good atop accompanying vegetables.

BOILED BACON WITH PARSLEY SAUCE

Parsley sauce is delicious with boiled ham, bacon or gammon.  In the spring I would serve with broad beans.

3 lb lean forehock or shoulder bacon joint

1 onion, peeled and quartered

1 carrot, peeled and roughly chopped

1 bay leaf

parsley stalks

1 oz butter

1 oz flour

3 fl oz single cream

3 tbsps chopped parsley

black pepper

cider (optional)

Put the bacon joint in a large pan and cover it with cold water.  Bring slowly to the boil then discard the water.  Cover again with fresh water (or a mixture of cider and water), add the onion, bay leaf and carrot and bring slowly back up to the boil.  Cover the pan and simmer gently for 1½ hours.

When the bacon is cooked, remove it from the pan and put some of the stock into another pan to re-heat the beans.  Meanwhile make a thin sauce.  Heat the butter in a pan, add the flour and cook for a minute to make a roux.  Taste the stock.  Ideally you will use about 8 fl oz of this for the sauce, but if it is too salty it will be necessary to use some other liquid, such as cider.  When you have finished adding stock or cider to the sauce add the single cream.  Season with pepper (it is unlikely to need salt) and stir in the chopped parsley.

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