Makes 48 squares
- 4 echalion shallots or banana shallots or 2 small onions approx. 250g / 8 oz total)
- 2 eating apples (approx. 250g / 8 oz total)
- 375 grams pancetta slices (or rindless streaky bacon)
- 2 sticks celery
- 4 large leaves fresh sage
- 3 tablespoons garlic infused olive oil
- 200 grams vacuum-packed chestnuts
- zest and juice of 1 unwaxed lemon
- 500 grams panettone (or pandoro), slightly staled, sliced
- 2 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon of olive oil (for greasing)
- Peel and halve the shallots (or onions) and quarter and core the apples, and roughly cut up the pancetta (or bacon). Drop the shallot or onion and the apple pieces into the bowl of a food processor along with the celery sticks, snapped in half, and the sage leaves, and process in a short burst to start the chopping, before adding the roughly cut pancetta (or bacon), and then blitz at full pelt until finely chopped. You can chop everything by hand in which case, don’t expect to get everything as minced as it would in the processor.
- Heat the garlic oil in a wide, deep pan and fry this mixture, stirring every now and again, for 10–15 minutes, until the vegetables have softened.
- Remove the fried mixture to a large bowl, crumble in the chestnuts, grate in the lemon zest and squeeze in the juice, then tear and crumble in the panettone, and – I use my hands for this – combine everything into a squidgy paste. (If you’re making this in advance, leave it to cool and cover and transfer to the fridge for up to 2 days).
- When you are ready to cook this, preheat the oven to 200°C/gas mark 6/400ºF and let the stuffing come to room temperature. Uncover the bowl, beat the eggs and mix them in, then spread the mixture into a foil tray or lightly greased ovenproof dish (approx. 30 x 20cm / 9 x 13 inches), and bake for 25–30 minutes, until the edges brown and begin to come away from the tray or dish and a cake tester comes out clean.
- For a celebration selection, let the tray cool for 30 minutes and then cut into 48 little bite-sized squares or 24 larger pieces to accompany a roast, if you’d prefer.