Mexican Meat Stuffing – A Holiday Preview

American Thanksgiving is less than a week away, which means December and the lunacy of the holidays are around the corner, as well.  One of my daughters (the standard omnivore) was visiting us a couple of weeks ago, and we decided to start testing a few recipes for our Christmas and end-of-the-year menus.  I wanted to try cooking a meat stuffing that one of my aunts once made for a Christmas Eve dinner; I was ensorcelled by the rich mixture of ground meat, fruits and nuts, in a metaphorical tryst next to the white meat from the bird.  It is a very popular recipe in Mexico, but my mom always favoured the celery and bread staple, because she thought it was too much to stuff meat with meat.  It is mainly used for the Christmas turkey, but since it was just the three of us this time (including my husband), we tried with a chicken instead. 

Meat Stuffing – Relleno de Carne

Printable recipe: Meat stuffing

Ingredients

1 lb (454 g) extra-lean ground beef (or half pork/half beef)
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 leek; washed thoroughly, roots and green top removed
2 stalks celery; washed and tops trimmed
1 clove garlic
1 tbsp dry thyme
½ tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp nutmeg; preferably freshly grated, or ground
½ cup chopped nuts (such as pecans, almonds or walnuts)
1/3 cup raisins (Sultanas, or Thompson)
1 apple (Golden delicious or Granny Smith)
¼ cup red wine vinegar
Salt and pepper, to taste

Slice leek and celery thinly; peel garlic; grate nutmeg; wash, peel and chop apple.  In a wide, large pan, warm up oil over medium heat; add leek and celery and sauté until translucent. Mince garlic and add to the pan:

Continue stirring and cooking for one minute, then add meat.  Break into small pieces and mix with the vegetables; continue cooking until no longer pink, then add thyme, cinnamon and nutmeg:

Stir to incorporate, then add raisins, nuts and chopped apples; Cook for another five minutes, stirring occasionally.  Season with salt and pepper, and pour vinegar in the pan:

Stir well, adjust seasoning as needed.  Transfer to a bowl and let cool:

008 let rest and divide

It tasted delicious even on its own, and there was enough to stuff a medium turkey, so we divided it before handling the raw chicken, and reserved some to serve on the side.  We kept the preparation of the chicken very basic, using only two tablespoons of butter, salt and pepper:

009 chicken for stuffing

After cleaning the cavity and skin, and removing any small feathers, the chicken was patted dry:

About two cups of stuffing were enough to fill the cavity; then, the skin on the breast was gently lifted, and one tablespoon of the butter and some salt were used to rub under it:

The second tablespoon of butter, more salt, and pepper were used to rub all the skin; the chicken was placed on a rack on a rimmed tray, and about one quarter of a cup of water was poured in the tray:

The chicken was covered with foil and roasted in a preheated oven at 350°F (180°C) for about two hours; then the foil was removed, and the chicken allowed to brown until the skin was crispy.  The total cooking time was almost three hours, until the juices were running clear; it was a long time for a chicken, but probably because stuffed birds take longer to cook.  After letting the chicken rest under a tent of foil for a few minutes, it was served with the reserved stuffing (reheated), and bowls of peas and sweet corn kernels:

016 chicken dinner

It was all a very tasty trial.  We thought that the baked stuffing and the portion reserved were equally nice, maybe the only difference was that the reserved portion got a little dry; this can be prevented by adding broth or juices from the pan when reheating.  That is probably what we will be doing when it is time to cook the big turkey next month.


I am joining What’s for Dinner? Sunday Link-Up #175 with gracious hostess Helen @ The Lazy Gastronome.  This time, Helen is featuring a very nice selection of dishes, from appetizer to dessert, and my stuffing fits right in with her theme, to complete a fabulous Thanksgiving menu.  Happy Thanksgiving!

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14 thoughts on “Mexican Meat Stuffing – A Holiday Preview

  1. Your photos are so well done and your instructions so complete. I know how much work this is. If you were doing your own photography, the number of times you had to wash and dry your hands alone is impressive! Well done.

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    1. For this post, I was very grateful to have my daughter cooking with me, so we took turns taking pics and cooking (she is the one with the manicured nails, hehe). It was particularly nice not to deal with the camera and the raw chicken at once, thank you so much for noticing, Judy!

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  2. I’ve never heard of stuffing a bird with meat – but it sounds good!! Thanks for sharing at the What’s for Dinner party. I hope your Thanksgiving is full of blessings.

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    1. It is really good, it was gone before the chicken, he he. I am really enjoying your party this Sunday, particularly the perfectly coordinated features. Have a great week, and all the best for a Happy Thanksgiving!

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  3. That looks great. I like the idea of stuffing a chicken because Turkeys are a bit big and this way I can make a special dinner for myself and friends once in a while. Maybe also could do it with a Cornish hen. I like the idea of being able to place a mini “turkey” in front of someone complete with stuffing for a meal with no leftovers. (Although I do love leftovers too …. hmmm. maybe turkey after all).

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      1. that does sound like an awesome stuffing — hmmm, maybe give it a different name as a main dish. A friend of mine sculpted a ground beef dish into a dragon once and the baked/roasted it. That was fun. You could probably do that with the stuffing — something like a shirt — and call it the Stuffed Shirt

        Liked by 1 person

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