LIFESTYLE

Tired of Turkey? Try These Tasty Alternatives To Traditional Christmas Dinner

16/12/2014 09:33 | Updated 07 December 2015

For many of us, eating turkey is like going to the gym or visiting your in-laws. You know you have to do it, some people even enjoy it, but you just can't seem to work up the enthusiasm.

If the stringy, slightly dry, white stuff just isn't your thing then try these alternative recipes for Christmas dinner. Trust us, once you've tasted them, you'll never go back.

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Vegetarian Christmas Dinner Alternatives: Veggie Wellington, Pan-Fried Sprouts, Christmas Pudding

Christmas Food Hacks To Save You Time And Impress Your Guests

Organic Pork Belly With Salt & Pepper Rub

pork belly

Allow this juicy pork belly to seduce you away from your turkey this Christmas...

Ingredients

Organic pork belly (approx 3kg)
1 red chili, deseeded and finely diced
1 white onion, finely chopped
3 tablespoons of vegetable oil
4 medium carrots
For the rub
3 teaspoons of Szechuan pepper
3 teaspoons of seasalt
1 teaspoon of garlic powder
1 teaspoon of ground cumin
1 teaspoon of chilli flakes
1 teaspoon of ground coriander


What now?

1) Mix all the ingredients for the rub in a bowl, lay the pork belly out flat and rub in the vegetable oil.

2) Once the meat has been fully coated take the dry rub mix and thoroughly rub into all of the meat.

3) Spread the diced onion and chili roughly onto the meat so that when it is rolled they will be on the centre of the roll.

4) Roll the meat and string it to keep the sausage shape (if you cannot string the meat then elastic meat ties can be used).

5) Cover tightly with cling film and leave in the fridge for 2 hours.

6) Take a heavy pan and heat some vegetable oil before placing the meat into the pan and browning it to an even colour.

7) Halve the carrots lengthways and place them in the bottom of a roasting tray, these will act as a trivet for the meat and add flavour to the juices.

8) Place the meat into a roasting tray and place uncovered into an oven that has been preheated to 170°C. Cook at this temperature for 2 ½ hours.

9) Take the meat out and let it rest for 20 minutes before carving.

Venison Wellington

cooking venison

If we haven't yet convinced you that it's time to break up with turkey, here's the perfect recipe to help you kick the habit.

Ingredients:

Loin of venison (approx 2kg)
150g course chicken liver pâté
75g – 100g Parma ham
200g sliced wild mushrooms
200g diced shallots
2 cloves of garlic crushed
1 bunch wild thyme - chopped
2 tablespoons of vegetable oil
40g salted butter
Salt & pepper to season
500g puff pastry

What now?

1) Season the venison loin with salt & pepper. Heat a pan, adding a tablespoon of oil and a knob of butter before placing in the venison. Sear until golden brown. Remove from the pan and allow to rest.

2) Place the remainder of the butter and oil into the pan along with the mushrooms, shallots, garlic and thyme and then sweat this off until the shallots are translucent.

3) Place the mixture into a food processor and blitz to a coarse paste, place into a sieve to remove excess water and then put to one side.

4) Spread the chicken liver pâté onto the now cooled venison loin and then cover the pâté with the mushroom mixture. Take the Parma ham slices and wrap the venison covering as much as possible.

5) Dust your work surface with a little flour and roll out a third of the 500g pack of puff pastry to a 18 x 30cm strip and place onto a non-stick baking sheet. Roll out the remainder of the 500g pack of puff pastry.

6) Unravel the fillet from the cling film and sit it in the centre of the smaller strip of pastry. Beat the 2 egg yolks with 1 teaspoon of water and brush the pastry’s edges, and the top and sides of the wrapped fillet.

7) Using a rolling pin, carefully lift and drape the larger piece of pastry over the fillet, pressing well into the sides. Trim the joins to about a 4cm rim.

8) Seal the rim with the edge of a fork or spoon handle. Glaze all over with more egg yolk and, using the back of a knife, mark the Wellington with long diagonal lines taking care not to cut into the pastry. Chill for at least 30 mins before cooking.

9) Place the Wellington in an oven pre-heated to 180°C and cook for 35 – 40 minutes for rare, 45 – 50 minutes for medium, or 60 – 70 minutes for well done.

Organic Rib of Beef With Herb & Sea Salt Crust

rib of beef

Your traditional Christmas lunch will taste bland and uninspiring after you try these ribs.

Ingredients

Organic 3-bone forerib of beef (approx 3kg)
250g sea salt
180g plain white flour
1 large egg white
3 tablespoons of freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons of chopped fresh thyme
6 cloves of garlic, chopped finely
1 tablespoon chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 tablespoon vegetable oil

What now?

1) Combine the salt, egg white, pepper, thyme, garlic, and parsley with 240ml water using a food processor fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on medium speed until blended.

2) On medium-low speed, mix in 120g of the flour, adding more as needed, until the dough is firm and feels slightly dry and stiff. Continue to mix for 2 minutes.

3) The dough should be smooth and firm but not sticky; add more flour if necessary. Flatten the dough into a rectangle, wrap in plastic, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

4) An hour before you’re ready to roast, take the beef out of the fridge and let it sit at room temperature for 30 minutes.

5) Position a rack in the centre of the oven and heat the oven to 180°C.

6) Heat a large pan on a medium-high heat. Add the oil and put the roast meat side down; sear until deeply browned, which should take about 5 minutes. Remove the roast from the pan and set it bone side down on a rack in a roasting pan.

7) On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough into a ½cm thick rectangle. Drape the dough over the meat, tucking it in on all sides.

8) Roast until a meat thermometer in the middle of the roast registers 53°C for rare, 57°C for medium rare, or 61°C for medium. This should take 1-¾ to 2- ½ hours.

9) Let it rest for 20 minutes, then remove and discard the crust. After removing the crust, the roast can rest for up to 30 minutes more before carving.

Organic Goose and Root Vegetable Terrine

goose

Never tried goose? Once you swap your turkey for these terrines you'll never look back.

Ingredients

Makes 2 large terrines
Organic goose (approx 5kg)
6 tablespoons sea salt
Handful of thyme
Handful of rosemary
200g goose fat
250g carrots, peeled and finely diced
250g parsnips, peeled and diced finely
1 whole celeriac, peeled and finely diced
Small jar of apple sauce
125 grams melted butter
8 slices of Parma ham per terrine

What now?

1) Quarter the goose (or ask your butcher to do this for you).

2) Tear up the thyme and rosemary, mix it with the sea salt and rub it all over the quartered goose. Place into a dish, cover with cling film and allow to marinate in the fridge overnight.

3) The next day, remove the goose from the fridge, place it into a deep roasting tray and cover it with the goose fat. Cover with foil and place into a preheated oven at 160°C for 3 hours.

4) After 3 hours, when the meat falls off the bone easily, remove from the oven. Place the goose to one side to cool, but don't let it go cold.

5) Take the root vegetables and some chopped thyme and add some of the goose fat to sweat down. Season with salt and pepper. When the vegetables are cooked through remove from the heat.

6) Now take the cooled goose (it should be warm and not cold, this will help meat removal) and remove the meat. When all the meat is removed shred using 2 forks.

7) Line a terrine mould with cling film and the Parma ham in preparation for the final mix.

8) Mix the shredded goose, the root vegetables, 4 tablespoons of goose fat and the 125 grams of melted butter. Taste for seasoning then add salt and black pepper as necessary.

9) Pack the final mixture into the terrine tin and fold over the Parma ham and cling film. Place a weight onto the top of the mixture and place in a fridge overnight. Finally, remove from the fridge, turn out onto a large plate and slice into portions.

Recipes from Rhug Estate.

Tips For Cooking Roast Beef With The Oven Off

oven

Ingredients:

The weight of the rib of beef depends on the number you’re serving.
A four-rib joint is perfect for 8-10 guests.

Method:

1) Preheat the oven to 240°C (465°F/Gas 9).

2) Weigh the beef, place it on a roasting tin and rub salt and butter into the meat.

3) Roast in the oven for 7 minutes per lb (450g).

4) Turn off the heat but leave the beef in the oven and do not open the oven door. Leave it for two hours and then remove the meat.

5) Serve with your favourite trimmings, and enjoy!

James Steen is author of The Kitchen Magpie: A delicious melange of culinary curiosities, fascinating facts, amazing anecdotes and expert tips for the food-lover. Published by Icon, price £12.99.

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