You’re feeling particularly bold and daring this year. Though the centerpiece for your holiday dinner has always been the turkey, this year you’ve decided to strike out and run ‘afowl’ of tradition.
While tradition dictates that the Christmas dinner table be graced by a golden bird stuffed, perhaps, with sausage and sage, home cooks suffering from turkey fatigue may want to consider shaking things up this year.
Here are a few ideas for turkey alternatives, culled from top food sites and chefs on the web:
Christmas goose – cooked
It’s a richer, fattier bird, and can be prepared much like turkey. A recipe from Saveur.com, for instance, calls for ingredients like lemon halves, sage and thyme to be stuffed into the goose cavity. Perhaps the only other tip unique to roasting a goose offered by Saveur is to prick the skin all over with a fork to allow the fat to render off more easily and ensure a crispy skin.
Meanwhile, British chef and restaurateur Mark Hix, of Tramshed and Hix Oyster & Chop House, shares his recipe for Christmas goose with CountryLife magazine in the UK, calling for headier spices and flavorings like garlic, peppercorn, cinnamon and a bay leaf. The bird is also served with a homemade apple sauce.
Feeling more carnivorous this holiday season? Try out this prime rib from Bon Appétit magazine, a tangy, savory recipe that calls for ingredients like horseradish, Dijon mustard, balsamic vinegar, crème fraiche and garlic.
From one of the oldest and most authoritative food blogs on the web, Epicurious.com, comes a recipe for prime rib roast with a red wine sauce that calls for rubbing the meat all over with dried ground Porcini mushrooms. The recipe also offers helpful tips such as letting the meat stand at room temperature for an hour before cooking for a juicier end product.
Pork and crackling
What’s not to love about a Christmas pork roast with crackling? Tender pork, good. Crispy pork fat, even better. Taste.com in Australia offers an easy, four-ingredient recipe that calls for sea salt, fennel, apples and olive oil. The key is to score the skin and rub in some olive oil to get the crackling going. Jamie Oliver’s recipe, meanwhile, is a savory version flavored simply with garlic and thyme.
If you want to ditch the animal kingdom altogether, tap into the inner Italian in you (we all have a little), and partake in the Italian tradition of the Feast of the Seven Fishes, a multi-course meal that calls for using seven different types of seafood throughout the dinner. Gourmet.com’s seafood menu includes crab cakes; onion anchovy galettes; seafood salad with fennel and green beans; linguine with cockles; romaine with garlic anchovy vinaigrette and seafood stew.
Here’s a showstopper: Instead of carving one big bird, serve guests their own mini bird in the form of small Cornish game hens. Martha Stewart, the domestic doyenne, offers up a recipe made festive with cranberries. The savory bird is also flavored with leeks, shiitake mushrooms and sage.
Food Network personality Anne Burrell’s recipe also provides a festive twist with a pomegranate molasses.
And finally, for the truly indecisive, here’s a recipe that combines all three birds into a flavorful, holiday Russian doll. If you have 18 hours to spend, The Alpine Steakhouse in Florida, for instance, shares its version of turducken with The Food Network, a recipe that calls for housemade Andouille sausage and spinach stuffing, 200 feet of butcher’s twine and a large sewing needle.
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