Christmas dinner is meant to be a celebration of joy, but for many, the traditional turkey doesn’t quite hit the mark as everyone’s Christmas favourite. This raises the dilemma: should we stick to tradition or forge a new one of our own?
The search interest for “best cut of beef for Christmas dinner” has surged by 50% this month, signalling a shift towards exploring alternatives to turkey for our upcoming Christmas feasts.
Jordan Hanley, butchery supervisor at online butchers, Campbells Meat, comments: “Traditions shift with time; the classic turkey was once seen as untraditional when goose was the norm. Considering your guests preferences when planning your Christmas dinner, is one way to add a personal touch to your festive celebration.
“While you may lean towards turkey, having honest conversations can ensure that everyone’s tastes are considered and embraced. After all, Christmas should be about enjoyment, and whether it’s turkey or another meat that takes centre stage, the key to success is creating a Christmas feast that brings joy to all.”
Choosing your Christmas meat of choice isn’t always straightforward. Jordan Hanley recommends a few options with the perfect pairings to transform your Christmas dinner into an unforgettable experience.
The biggest criticism that turkey receives is that it can be dry. To uphold tradition and elevate the juiciness and flavour of your turkey, Jordan recommends you brine your turkey for the best results.
Enhance the brined turkey with a cranberry-orange glaze. Mix cranberry sauce, fresh orange juice, brown sugar, and a pinch of cinnamon. Brush over the turkey in the last 30 minutes of roasting. The sweet and tangy glaze complements the juicy brined turkey, creating a perfectly balanced and flavourful Christmas dish.
If you want a luxurious meat that’s tender and rich in flavour, Jordan’s top pick for a Christmas alternative is lamb.
To make it more festive, complement the lamb with a mint and cranberry chutney. Create a chutney by combining fresh mint leaves, cranberries, sugar, and a splash of balsamic vinegar. Serve alongside the lamb for a festive burst of flavours.
Why not give an old tradition a try? Jordan thinks the goose is an overlooked bird that is more forgiving than the turkey.
Give your goose a festive upgrade with a red wine and berry reduction. Simmer red wine, berries, sugar, and a hint of cinnamon for a rich reduction. Drizzle over sliced goose to add a festive touch, enhancing the dish with a blend of sweet and savoury.
For a festive meat that’s both tender and bursting with flavour, Jordan’s recommendation is beef.
Beef pairs wonderfully with various sauces but if you’d like a Christmas-inspired twist, enhance your beef with a cranberry port wine reduction. Create a luxurious reduction by simmering cranberries in port wine with a touch of sugar. This rich and slightly sweet sauce adds a festive twist, enhancing the beef with a burst of seasonal flavours.
If you want a meat that retains the festive essence of turkey but tastes a little different, according to Jordan, chicken stands out as the closest Christmas alternative.
Similar to turkey, enhance the chicken with a cranberry-orange glaze.