"I made this as an alternative to the usual turkey and it was really, delicious!"
Adulthood starts when the festive period becomes more about the dinner than the presents. We are reacquainted with old friends and foods that might only grace our plate once a year.
For many, the centrepiece is the turkey. But for others, turkey can be a laborious chore, and a burden to the festivities.
For the latter, here our are some great turkey alternatives for the holiday season that you can try.
Ham in Coca Cola
Cue the raised eyebrows.
This recipe from celebrity chef, Nigella Lawson might be hard to wrap your head around, but the end result is fantastic:
“Don’t hesitate, don’t be anxious: this really works. No one who cooks it, cooks it just once,” boasts Nigella on her website.
The end result is a far from boring, delightful sweet and savoury dish, that will make an excellent change to the traditional turkey.
One commenter, happy with the results said: “I make this every Christmas Eve, everyone in my family loves the ham, it’s also a big favourite with the kids because of its wonderful sweetness, the neighbours love it too!”
You can find the full Ham in Coca Cola recipe from Nigella Lawson’s website here.
Honey-Roasted Duck with Creamed Cauliflower
A lot of misgivings about turkey stem from its size. Turkey gives festive chefs and dinner hosts an extra thing to worry about.
The turkey might be too large for the oven, or too large for the number of guests to finish.
Duck makes an excellent in between. This full flavoured dish is great for small groups, serving four provisionally.
Both the honey glaze and the creamed cauliflower support the duck very well, making a well rounded and enjoyable meal.
One happy host said: “I made this last Christmas as an alternative to the usual turkey and it was really, really delicious!”
The fact it’s less stressful than turkey is just a bonus.
You can find the complete Honey-Roasted Duck with Creamed Cauliflower recipe on the BBC Good website here.
Confit of Goose
Holidays can be somewhat of a mad rush. Having family to visit, children to entertain and a meal to cook can be quite overwhelming.
The great thing about this tasty French dish, is that it can be prepared well in advance, minimising the seasonal stress.
Confit is a French method for curing meat, then poaching it in fat for a delectably tender texture.
River Cottage user HughFW said: “This dish, or set of dishes, has become a bit of a signature for me – and a Christmas institution in our house. I love it partly because it is so thrifty and resourceful.”
The salting process takes 24 hours, so make sure you set time aside the day before.
However, the dish can be prepared four weeks in advance, and its usually better the longer it waits – so get cracking!
You can find the complete Confit of Goose recipe on the Good Food Channel website here.
Wild Mushroom and Port Brioche
Vegans and Vegetarians shouldn’t have to miss out on the fun. The lack of variety in meat free dishes is a myth, and this recipe is proof of that.
Mushrooms substitute turkey as the centrepiece of this palatable dish. The selection of different mushrooms really carries this dish, creating a multitude of subtle changes in both texture and flavour.
One BBC Good Food User said: “This recipe was simple to follow and turned out brilliantly. Great flavours and a nice alternative to the usual veggie offerings of nut roast etc.
“Served ours with roast pots and parsnips and braised red cabbage – delicious! Definitely will be making this again.”
You can find the complete Wild Mushroom and Port Brioche recipe on the BBC Good Food website here.
Parcel-Poached Salmon with Herby Mayonnaise
A fish alternative to the classic bird, parcel poaching helps seal the flavours within the meat to great effect.
The cucumber and fennel salad featured in this recipe is the perfect accompaniment to the salmon, balancing the dish exquisitely:
“Absolutely delicious and really easy – not a scrap left,” said a happy chef. Which is all you can ask for of a festive meal.
You might like to try a light dressing with the salad. One BBC Good Food user suggested: “Rice wine vinegar, touch of finely chopped chilli, sweetened to taste with cane sugar, and left to ‘pickle’ for about an hour before serving.”
You can find the complete Parcel-Poached Salmon with Herby Mayonnaise recipe on the BBC Good Food website here.
While the traditional turkey remains a favourite among festive food lovers, you don’t have to resort to the same dishes year after year.
Try one of these great alternatives and make your holidays a little more inventive.