As the major stuffing had been finished, I needed a second stuffing that would permeate the inside layers of the bird and provide a contrast in flavours to the richer sausagemeat stuffing. I had opted for something vaguely Middle Eastern, which was my little nod to Bethlehem. I had bought the fresh dates with me from London, with the very purpose of using them in a stuffing. The base for this was fennel; slowly cooked with fronds of saffron until it caramalised, along with a juicy red onion. The chopped dates were folded in, along with some sourdough bread crumbs to bind it and the zest of an orange and a lemon to add some citrus bite. I lastly added some fresh parsley, which would add some astringency to the richly aromatic fennel, saffron and date combination.
With this done it was on with the birds and the boning!