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!)
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
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.