For some of us, Christmas Dinner is the most important part of the whole event. It’s the one day a year it’s ok to overindulge in our favourite festive treats. It’s also one of the only meals during the year when family and friends come together to celebrate. So the pressure is always on for the host to get the feast perfect for everyone. Turkey is a time honoured traditional choice for a Christmas dinner but after a few years, this can seem like a tedious option. If you fancy spicing up your Christmas with a new tradition this year, take a look at some of these fabulous alternative mains options.
Gammon is often advertised as an additional meat you can serve alongside your turkey. But it works just as well by itself. It is a succulent and tasty option that does not take long to cook. It can also be bought in varying sizes depending on how large your party will be. Gammon works well with almost any side and vegetable. Carrots, roast potatoes and parsnips, in particular, are fantastic choices. They will keep that festive feeling alive. Gammon, like turkey also works really well when cold. This is ideal if you’re having a boxing day buffet with bread, meat and cheeses. Add a honey or marmalade glaze during cooking to make the meat that extra bit special. This alternative option will be a change from Turkey, but still maintain many of the elements that makes Christmas dinner special. Head down to your local supermarket to find the best gammon joint for your party size.
Fish is an ideal choice for Christmas if you don’t want to over power your guests. It cooks quickly and is not as filling as some other options. This means your relatives and friends will be able to eat plenty of vegetables and any other extras you’ve prepared. There are so many fish options you could choose from your feast, so choose wisely. Shellfish might be too fiddly if you have lots of children attending for instance. Salmon is a popular alternative Christmas main as it again works so well with potatoes and other vegetables. Team with asparagus and new potatoes to create a healthy and fresh dinner that everyone is bound to enjoy. Think about how much you will need and choose a whole salmon or smaller fillets. Visit a fish counter or you can ever order online from http://www.citarella.com/ and have it delivered directly to your door. When cooking, always remember to keep your salmon skin side down, so the fish gets cooked evenly.
If anybody is a vegetarian amongst your party, they will appreciate this meat-free main. It creates a whole new feel to your Christmas dinner and is a healthier option all round. Which is ideal if you don’t want to pile on the pounds. It might look like a cake more than a main, but don’t let that put you off. It should have a nutty and earthy taste that can be enjoyed by all. Remember to ask everyone if they have a nut allergy beforehand, to avoid any allergic reactions during the main event. This is an ideal option also if you haven’t got a lot of time to prepare for your Christmas dinner this year. It can be frozen for up to a month; you just need to remember to take it out of the freezer to defrost. Warm it up in the oven and you’re ready to serve. Add some vegetable gravy to make the nut roast more moist and enjoyable.
Toad in the Hole
This is a British classic that is enjoyed throughout the year. So why would it not work for Christmas? Put a festive spin on this classic by wrapping the sausages in bacon before you cook them. This will create pigs in blankets, which is another Christmas dinner favourite. This is ideal if you only have a small party this year and can be cooked in under an hour. All you need to complete this excellent alternative is some gravy and vegetables like cabbage and broccoli. Finish off with some thick and creamy mashed potato for a simple but comforting main. Before adding to your Yorkshire pudding mix, fry your pigs in blankets in a little oil. This will make them crispier and ensure they are cooked all the way through.
Pies are comfort food we all turn to when the temperature drops. Chicken pie, in particular, is a popular family favourite, which can make a fabulous main at Christmas time. Bake small individual pies for all of your guest or just one large one for everyone to tuck into. To make it that extra bit festive, include cranberries, chestnuts and ham. These extras will make it feel more appropriate for the occasion and make everyone feel Christmassy. As with some of the other option, Chicken pie goes well with almost anything. It can be quite a filling main due to the pastry so don’t overwhelm your guest with too many sides. Roast potatoes, carrots and beans will all work well and you can finish the dish off with plenty of hot gravy. You can also serve cold on boxing day with chutneys and relish and freeze for up to a month if you want to bake it ahead of time.
As you can see, there are plenty of alternatives to Turkey. Remember to ask your guest beforehand if they have any dietary requirements you may need to cater for. Especially if you are diverting from a traditional Christmas meal. This could be the start of a new and exciting menu you use each year or alternate between every other year. If you can’t decide on one particular main, do multiple smaller sized ones instead. That way your guests can try out a combination or just stick to one. However, you spend your Christmas day, make sure it’s full of laughter and joy because that’s really what it’s all about.
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