Monday, November 10, 2008

Great Scot! Scottish Savory Oat Stuffing That Is!


My 7th grade son is currently reading Kidnapped, which takes place in the legendary Scottish countryside and coast. Written by Robert Louis Stevenson, the tale is told in 18th Century Scottish dialect, transporting my son back in time via vocabulary and phrases such as nae (no), ken (know), mair (more), dinnae (did not), and dirdum (blame). You all know how much I love words and word roots, so while my son's level of enthusiasm is, shall we say, not the same as mine, it's been fun for me to learn these Scottish phrases.

That brings us to our recipe for today. Delightfully labelled a “skirlie”, this is an oat stuffing whose roots trace back for centuries in Scotland. It’s a wonderful recipe, and is surprisingly light with terrific texture and full flavor. With Thanksgiving around the corner, I’m looking for alternative stuffing recipes for my wee bairn that cannae (cannot) eat traditional wheat based stuffings. Sure, I can prepare a rice stuffing, but one bite of this has assured and secured it a spot on our Thanksgiving menu this year. Besides, it’s fun to say. “Skirlie” Skirlie, skirlie, skirlie!

Let’s begin, shall we. Oh, one more thing, I tested this using chicken ... no sense at all in cooking up a big Turkey two weeks before reenacting the Pilgrim celebration after all. Ok, now let’s get to it.

Super Savory Stuffing – Scottish Skirlie Style
(It's gluten free, too!)

Ingredients:

½ stick butter
1 onion chopped
1 cup regular old fashioned oatmeal
Couple grinds of salt
Generous grinds of pepper
Scant ½ teaspoon coriander
¼ teaspoon nutmeg (I dinnae use this --- we’re not huge nutmeg fans)

1 whole chicken for roasting
3 large onions, sliced in half
Seasoned salt
½ stick butter, melted and combined with a couple tablespoons of canola oil

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

In a 10” skillet, over medium heat, melt ½ stick of butter until it starts to bubble.Isn’t melted butter yummy looking? Add chopped onions and sauté until golden. Nope, they’re not golden enough yet.Okay, now they are golden. All at once, add the oatmeal and stir to coat with butter.Saute until toasted and slightly golden. You'll notice I'm not adding a drop of liquid here. We don't want this to turn into the consistency found in your breakfast oatmeal. Add your seasonings.Here’s the coriander in my pale, Pacific Northwest sun deprived hand. Hmm ... I have a relative who always wants to know how I know if I’m adding the right amount if I actually don’t measure everything. Let’s test shall we? I need a scant ½ teaspoon.I’ll just tip this into a measuring spoon and ... ta da! Oh ye of little faith. Not you, my blog friends, I’m referring to someone with the same blood line as myself. Hmphf. To be fair, though, she's usually asking me how much to add of something ... since I don't measure, I usually respond with "two shakes of this, or a couple grinds of that". Do you measure everything? Everything? Let me know.

Alrighty. Spoon your stuffing into a bowl to cool slightly while you prepare your bird. Place your chicken breast side up in a shallow roasting pan (I used Pyrex). Fill the cavity of the wee beast with the cooled skirlie. Don’t pack it it, it will expand while cooking. Place your halved onions all around the bird. NOTE: I didn’t lace up the chicken; instead I used the onions to prop up the chicken. I don’t usually stuff my poultry; I usually prepare the stuffing in a separate pan. So, therefore, I’m not much of a lacer. Feel free, of course, to lace up your bird. How many of you do that? Let’s take a quick poll ... how many of you are lacers? How many are not? Now season and baste your bird and onions with the butter/oil mixture.Pop it into the oven, and roast for 1-1/2 hours. Baste the bird and onions every 20 minutes or so.Just look at this gorgeous color! YUM! The meat is so moist!Just look, look at the breast meat!Mmm, a quick taste test ... and yep, it’s heavenly.See how crisp that skin is?

Hold on though, folks. It’s the stuffing we’re after today. Just look at this. For those of you who have only experienced oatmeal in sweet recipes, you are in for a treat with this savory version! This stuffing really has it goin’ on. The onion flavor really shines through, and the salt, pepper, and coriander hold their own. Let’s look closer. The texture is just outstanding. Remember: No added liquid (If you make it as a side dish, I'd use just a tad of broth.) It has a great al dente-ness about it; I’m quite pleased. Let’s try a bite. Oh, yeah, this is a keeper recipe for sure. Oh, and since this has no wheat in it whatsoever, this is gluten free, all the way baby! (NOTE: Some folks following gluten free diets have to abstain from oats as well. Use your best judgment in determining what's best for you and those you cook for.)

This Thanksgiving, I’ll be giving thanks for savory oat stuffing. Of course, I’m thankful for ALL stuffing recipes ... YUM. I can’t wait to say to those at the table, “Pass the skirlie, please!” What’s your favorite type of stuffing? Traditional? Do you have a special twist? I’d love to hear about it.

30 comments:

doggybloggy said...

this sounds great and I am going to try it but with a not so twisty twist - I am going to make a traditonal style stuffing and substitute the oats for the bread crumbs - thanks for the inspiration.

Marjie said...

Yeah! I'm first comment! My measuring spoon looks just like yours, so ignore the relative. You should have seen Ryan looking at me like I had 2 heads when I poured my touch of salt into my hand and tossed it in the ice cream!

Ryan loves Kidnapped, too (and so do I). He also likes to drag out his obscure words to see if he can trick his Dad (and usually he can't)!

Pam said...

That chicken is gorgeous! I have bookmarked this since I love oats. I can't wait to try this.

Jan said...

That looks and sounds delish, Paula, as does your roast chicken.
Carry on like this and you'll be piping in the haggis soon. :-)

Aggie said...

Look at those oats! Love love love it! Can you come over and cook this for me??

Cheryl said...

Girl, that looks delish, my husband would LOVE IT

Darius T. Williams said...

As always - I'm loving the play by play...and crispy skin - yummers!

-DTW
www.everydaycookin.blogspot.com

Manggy said...

Ah, this reminds me so much of haggis-- not that I've seen one outside Alton Brown's show :) It actually looks delicious enough to make me ignore the stomach-ness of haggis, hee hee. Even more delicious since it's in a harmless, golden chicken! :P

noble pig said...

Well, I love the name! This sounds awesome! I love oats so wow...this is for me.

Pam said...

I've never had stuffing made from oats. It looks absolutely delicious Paula. Great step by step post too!

Peter M said...

The chicken's colour looks wonderful and the stuffing...you have to show Kittie's Kitchen this...a Scottish lass.

kittie said...

Thanks for the link Peter!

Scots I may be, but I've never tried skirlie! (It's on the Scottish Scran list for when I get back though)

It is more commonly used as the starch in a meal - but I love the idea of it as a stuffing - it looks great!

ps. that chicken skin... ummmmm.. :D

OhioMom said...

Oh I definitely like this stuffing, and I am going to try it with my next roasting hen. Great tutorial!

I only measure when baking, and I never lace :)

Katherine Aucoin said...

Wow you have gotten a jump on the holidays! Everything looks fantastic. I'm like you when cooking, I measure with my hands or just eye it up. Who needs more dirty utensils?

Lori said...

Paula, this is awesome. The girls and I want to include dishes and traditions from different countries into our Holiday celebrations, and this recipe is perfect! Thanks! :o)

Lo said...

You know, I've never heard of skirlie... but I think I could get behind an oat stuffing without any difficulty at all.

Savory oatmeal?! Who would have thunk?

Bellini Valli said...

This is comfort food at its finest Paula:D

Jan said...

Oooh yummy yum! That looks like a really nice stuffing recipe!
I agree with the other Jan - you'll soon be piping in the haggis!!

MEDITERRANEAN KIWI said...

i love the way you married a book with a recipe, you know my love for food stories.

the chicken glaze looks so tempting, and although we don't usually stuff roast chicken in crete except at Christmas, i might be tempted to try this one!

(i think the macaroni cheese will be on tomorrow's menu...)

Proud Italian Cook said...

Girl, You know how to cook a chicken, look at that skin! Sorry, I got side tracked. Your oat stuffing actually looks delish too.

The Blonde Duck said...

Here's your dumb comment of the day. I've never roasted a chicken. Is it really hard to get all the gross giblet stuff out? How do you roast it so it isn't real dry/ gross?

Bridgett said...

I'm loving the new Scottish you, Paula! This recipe sounds delicious and I may try to convince my mom to try this for our Thanksgiving dinner. Sounds like a plan, right? The chicken looks divine!

Grace said...

"skirlie" is fun to say!! and it looks like it'd be just as much fun to eat.
and hellooooo, crispy skin! :)

sarah said...

omg! my mom has that same measuring spoon! I love it! LOL.

Sara said...

This sounds like an interesting way to make stuffing, your chicken looks great.

Sophie said...

This is so cool! I made a gluten-free stuffing awhile ago using cornbread, but never thought to use oats! Great and healthy alternative to wheat :D. I'll have to keep this in mind :).

Kevin said...

I really like the sound of this savoury oat stuffing!

Lindab said...

Hi! I came across your blog on a roundabout route from another homeschooling blog. I'm Scottish - and impressed that you've tried skirlie! Can I just mention that we would make it with coarse oatmeal, rather than what we call 'rolled oats', which I think are the oats in your picture. I don't know what you call oatmeal in the US, but what we mean is a very fine grain, a bit like couscous in texture. So the skirlie will be like a sticky couscous. I'm sure yours is just as delicious. Are you going to try haggis next? ;-)

Deborah said...

I think I'd have a hard time reading books with the dialect like that. It would definitely make me take my time and concentrate more, though!! This stuffing sounds great, and definitely a little different!

Leah Aspen said...

We have made Skirlie stuffing every Thanksgiving since I was a kid, but instead of nutmeg we added Sage. The taste is heavenly & gives me nostalgic memories every time I make it.