Christmas is nearly upon us: an occasion that has its traditions set in religious celebration, but which has grown over the years to incorporate a number of other traditions.
One such tradition is the excitement of the Christmas dinner: a lavish meal that brings together families and friends to celebrate with a whole host of delicious foods.
Whilst the main component of a Christmas meal is traditionally a roast turkey, many households choose to do something different and celebrate the occasion with an alternative centrepiece instead. What we want to know is…what’s YOUR ultimate Christmas dinner?
Option 1 – Turkey
It was King Edward VII who made it fashionable to eat turkey at Christmas, with only wealthy Victorian households enjoying the bird at first. By the 20th century, it became more popular because of its size, making it the perfect bird for a large family gathering. To cook your bird perfectly, season it all over with salt and pepper and rub the seasoning into the skin, stuffing the cavity if desired.
Option 2 – Beef
A succulent roast rib of beef adds a bit more bite to your Christmas dinner. Be sure to choose a joint that is well aged and from a reputable butcher or supermarket. To get that premium flavour, simply massage the joint with olive oil or a good soft dripping, season with salt and pepper and roast until done. Be sure to leave it to rest before serving to make the meat as tender as possible.
Option 3 – Duck
If your Christmas lunch or dinner will be serving just a small group of people, then a whole turkey or rib of beef makes no sense: which is why many people opt for duck as the star attraction. A big duck will serve two to three people and saves the weeks of leftover turkey afterwards.
Pat the duck dry, season with salt and pepper and sear on all sides before roasting: without foil at first, with foil for the second half. For a real treat, pop it under the grill for a few minutes when done for rich, crispy skin.
Option 4 – Goose
Our final choice for carnivores is goose, which is not only far easier to roast than a turkey, but will also give off the most wonderful fat that can be stored in jars and used to cook roast potatoes and other dishes in the days to come.
Choose a free-range bird for the best quality and tenderest meat – and don’t worry about basting. The stunning layer of fat underneath the skin will help to keep the bird nice and moist. Serve with goose fat roasties for true decadence.
Option 5 – Vegetarian
Finally, the vegetarian option. Often, vegetarians are palmed off with a nut roast for their Christmas dinner, which can get a little boring. Why not try a vegetarian strudel, stuffed with seasonal squash, blue cheese and added sage leaves for a truly festive flavour?
Take Your Vote
Bird, beast or butternut squash…which of the above gets your Christmas vote?
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Image from BigStock.