- Paxo Sage & Onion Stuffing
- The perfect accompaniment to any meat. Perfect for roasts.
There’s Nothing Else QUITE Like Paxo….
Yeah, yeah… in an ideal world, of course, I’d be making my own stuffing from scratch – wouldn’t we all? But much as I love cooking (I’m an enthusiastic, if not necessarily expert cook), there are some culinary duties my inner domestic goddess balks at, and apparently the making of stuffing is one of them. I make every one of the other multiple side dishes entirely from fresh ingredients, but, well… even if I did feel inclined to mess around with breadcrumbs and the “traditional” stuffing ingredients (Chestnuts, anyone? Dried apricots?) that celebrity chefs would have me believe I should really be cooking, I think I’d feel somehow cheated if the meal was lacking some good old-fashioned stuffing-out-of-a-packet. So the pre-Thanksgiving shopping list always includes a few boxes of Paxo.
Paxo is, as you may have gathered, a British product. Why would I need to buy a British brand of sage and onion stuffing when there are plenty of US-made varieties sold in supermarkets, you ask? Well, I don’t buy Paxo “instead of”, I buy it in addition to a couple of bags of the familiar American brands. I find that the two work well together – complement each other, even. They may contain the same seasonings and flavorings, but other than that, they’re two very different kinds of product. American stuffing contains identifiable cubes of bread, for a start! Paxo contains wheat flour but you won’t really see so much as a breadcrumb lurking in the dried mix – it comes out of the packet as a kind of seasoned powder which, when mixed with either boiling water or (a better option that will result in tastier stuffing) some stock and melted butter, will expand into a thick, dense mixture.
The thing about Paxo is that although it is called “stuffing”, I really don’t find it to be all that good for actually stuffing a bird, although I know there are many who feel differently and will disagree with me on this. Certainly for stuffing the huge cavity in a turkey, the American-style cubed stuffing works FAR better, in my opinion. Paxo, on the other hand, is great for baking into stuffing balls (just shape the stuffing mix once it’s cooled down to a point where you can handle it, place on a cookie sheet and bake until crispy and golden brown on the outside), or making into a stuffing “loaf” in a lightly-buttered pan (the traditional British way to do this is to bake it with sausage meat, but I’ve always prefered it without). Its denser texture lends itself very well to these uses, which can be served up as side dishes in their own right, distinct from the cubed stuffing that’s roasted inside the bird. Also try making the stuffing “balls” mentioned above, but wrapping a thin strip of bacon around them before baking. Might not be the healthiest side dish ever created, but you can guarantee that however many you make, they will all be gone in record time.
Another great thing about Paxo? Again, the denser texture means that it can be cut into “slices” without falling apart too much, and is an absolutely heavenly addition (with cranberry sauce and a little mayonnaise) to the obligatory leftover-turkey sandwiches.
An 85g packet of stuffing like this will make maybe 8-10 stuffing balls or a small “loaf” in an ovenproof dish – I’d say enough for 4-6 people to have a small serving each as a side dish. I used three packets on Thanksgiving this year and we still have some left over in the fridge.
As for the ingredients, I see they’re not mentioned in the main product listing, so for anyone who’s interested, here they are:
Dried Onion (15%)
Dried Sage (2%)
Raising Agents (E503, E500)
Malt Extract (Barley)
In short: I’m very glad Paxo is avaialable in the US, as it gives me an excuse to cook double quantities of one of my favourite roast dinner accompaniments: STUFFING!