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Best stuffing recipe for chicken, turkey or game: Pork, cider soaked raisins and pine nuts

Photo of Easter chicks for our best stuffing recipe

Easter chicks – we love them

The Chicken Out Campaign is working. Masses of people are avoiding the cheap intensively farmed supermarket chickens and visiting their local butchers to find free range birds.
When I went in to see Fred Fitzpatrick (Exning Road, Newmarket – now retired) on Saturday I had a small chicken on my shopping list.
“I’m sorry Fiona but we’ve sold out of those.”
“How about a medium one?”
“All gone.”
“Have you got any chickens at all?”

A small chicken from Fred is much cheaper than the equivalent free range supermarket fowl. And Fred’s chickens have a magical quality. The small chicken looks diminutive within the confines of his shop. When I get the bird home it always seems to have grown on the short trip back and easily feeds four hungry people with leftovers.

Fred bustled into the back or the shop and disappeared into the walk in fridge. He buys from an excellent supplier who does not deal with supermarkets. The chickens are described by Fred as “Happy chickens.” They are the best chickens that I have ever tasted. Firm and succulent. And not too expensive.

Fred backed out of the walk in freezer and called to me over his shoulder.
“Offer me X quid without looking and the bird is yours!”
I accepted immediately. I tottered back to Jalopy with a giant bird the size of a small turkey. Fred is generous to his regular customers.

Danny was delighted when I heaved the bag onto the kitchen table.
“Let’s make this giant roast chicken meal superb. Why don’t we use up the sausage meat left over from Christmas and make stuffing?”
He was searching the freezer in an instant.

I am now working for my friend Clare. She had mentioned a superb chicken pasta dish with raisins and pine kernels. Now was the time to test out the combination. A free range roast chicken deserves to be pampered

Danny was dubious until the first forkful.

Pork, cider soaked raisins and pine nut stuffing recipe for chicken, turkey or game

These quantities are to fill a very large chicken or small turkey. For a medium sized chicken halve the ingredients.


  • 400g of pork sausage meat
  • 100g of plumpish raisins (I used flame raisins)
  • Cider (or dry white wine) to cover the raisins
  • 50g of pine nuts
  • 100g of fresh breadcrumbs
  • 2 tblsp of fresh chopped parsley
  • 1 medium egg
  • Freshly ground salt and pepper


  1. In a saucepan cover the raisins with cider and bring to simmering point leave for at least five hours to let the raisins absorb the cider and puff up.
  2. Meanwhile roast or toast the pine nuts under your grill/in your frying pan until they are golden.
  3. Make your breadcrumbs (grater or food processor).
  4. Discard the parsley stalks and chop the leaves fine.
  5. Combine pine nuts, beaten egg, breadcrumbs, parsley and salt and pepper using a fork. Stir in the raisins gently and fill the cavity of your bird. Lock the opening with a cocktail stick and roast following the appropriate timings for your bird.

N.B. The stuffing does not work cooked in an open pan in the oven beside your bird as the raisins will burn.

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  1. Fiona Nevile

    Hi Toffeeapple

    Good news. They are tasty birds.

  2. Toffeeapple

    O, I’m so happy! I can get those chickens where I live; thank you for putting that link in. I’m very pleased that Hugh’s campaign is working. And I will try yur stuffing when I get my special chicken…

  3. Fiona Nevile

    Hi Magic Cochin

    Fred stocks the Suttin Hoo eggs too!

    I must try your ideas for using the chicken. Thanks for the tips. We tend to roast ours and then make different dishes using the cold meat.

    I must also check out the Highgate Farm Shop.

    Hi Sarah

    The Chicken Out campaign is amazingly successful in the UK. As a nation we are getting much more picky about where our food comes from and how it is reared.

    Loads of people are shifting towards semi vegetarian meals and ‘happy meat.’

    Glad to hear that Basil and Berry are eating good chicken. The cheap chicken is probably full of growth hormones and other horrors.

  4. The Chicken Out campaign is a great idea. Thanks for sharing the link.

    While we eat a mostly vegetarian diet at our house, I have been buying chicken breasts to make into food for our dogs…I have never cooked chicken before this and I am amazed at the quality differences between the meat from the big producers verses the meat from the specialty growers. I will not buy the cheap stuff for our dogs again. If our dogs stay on this home cooked diet I will only feed them Happy Chickens.

  5. magic cochin

    I like the sound of that stuffing – pine nuts and raisins are always a winner for me!

    The Highgate Farm Shop where I buy most of our meat stocks Diaper Poultry, and recently they’ve started stocking the Sutton Hoo free range ones (maybe by public demand – I forgot to ask). You can request giblets. Although the free range ones are a bit more expensive they are still good value and they feed us for four days (chicken stock based semi-veg meal on the last day). I sometimes cut off the breast meat to use on the first day. Then make a big pot-roast/casserole with puy lentils in the bottom for days two and three and boil the carcass for stock for risotto or a hearty veg soup on day four.

    Maybe people are thinking about where chicken meat comes from.

    Thanks for another great recipe Fiona!

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