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Apricot stuffing is a type of mixture made with either fresh or dried apricots that is normally stuffed into meats. Usually a bread stuffing, apricot stuffing is often made with other fruits, nuts, and sometimes alcohol. Frequently used in pork roast, it is also a nice addition to poultry or beef.
Cranberries, usually dried, are commonly included in apricot stuffing, particularly when the stuffing is used for holiday dishes. Shallots, almonds, and unsalted butter are also frequent additions. Sometimes onion is used instead of shallots, and parsley or fennel seeds may be added as well. Although many recipes are made with white bread, this stuffing does not need to have a bread base. Salt and pepper are usually included, often to taste.
When bread is used, it is always cut into small cubes. Bread is often allowed to turn slightly stale before use because the firm texture helps the bread retain its form once it absorbs the liquid ingredients. This firmness adds to the overall texture of the stuffing. The bread should never be completely stale, however, or both taste and texture will suffer.
Alcohol, usually cognac or another brandy, is often used in apricot stuffing. It is normally warmed first, and then the fruit is added and allowed to soak. Generally, dried fruit is used for soaking.
Pork roasts and Frenched pork chops, or chops with the rib bones protruding from the tops, are often paired with apricot stuffing. The meat usually has a hole cut in the center, going all the way through. For long meats, like roasts, a boning knife is recommended to make this hole since it is longer than most knives. Once the hole is made, it is widened with either fingers or with the handle of a stirring spoon. Then, the stuffing is pressed into the hole.
Beef is more often butterflied, then rolled around the stuffing. Butterflying meat simply consists of cutting the meat along the thin edge into two approximately equal sides. The meat should be cut almost all the way across, so that it can be opened like a book. The stuffing is spread on the newly created surface and the meat is rolled up and often secured in some way so it does not unroll during cooking.
When using apricot stuffing with poultry, the stuffing is placed inside the bird's empty cavity. The cavity is usually seasoned with salt and pepper prior to stuffing the bird. Although turkey is a popular choice to pair with this stuffing, chicken and pheasant work as well.
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