Do you do a turkey or a goose? Or is your preference for a whole salmon or a nut roast? Here are some alternative ideas for a Christmas main course to tempt your tastebuds, and we’ve included some delicious side dishes to compliment the main event. And find out here how to source a sustainable Christmas dinner.
4 venison steaks (use beef if you can’t source venison), 1tsp black peppercorns, 1tsp dried mugwort (optional), 225g blackberries, 425 ml chicken stock, 75 ml Gallo Family Vineyards Autumn Red, 4 tbsp sloe gin, 1 tsp blackberry jam, lemon juice, to taste, 4 medium sized potatoes (maris piper are good for this), horseradish root (to taste), vegetable oil for frying, salt and pepper
Crush enough back peppercorns to give your venison a light coating, don’t make them too fine or the flavour will be overpowering. Finely chop enough dried mugwort to do the same. Mix the mugwort and pepper together and roll your venison in it, giving a light coating.. Leave in the fridge over night or if it is less than 2 hours before you cook the venison, leave it out on the side. If you do refrigerate the meat then make sure you take it out in good time for it to be at room temperature when you cook it.
For the rosti, cut the potatoes in half and boil for 5 minutes. Remove from the pan and leave to drain and cool. Grate the potato with an ordinary grater. Grate some horseradish root into the mixture to taste and season with salt and pepper. Heat the vegetable oil in a frying pan, form the grated mix into patties and fry until golden. If you have problems with the mix falling apart try adding a little flour or egg. Keep warm in the oven until the venison is ready.
To cook the venison, season the meat with salt. Heat a large frying pan and cover with a film of oil. It should be just smoking. Add the venison steaks. Turn each piece as it colours – be careful not to let the pepper burn too much – and keep turning until the meat is well coloured. If you are cooking the meat to rare small steaks will take a matter of 2 or 3 minutes while larger ones will take under 10 minutes. Rest the meat for at least as long as it cooked for in a warm place and then slice across the grain. While the meat is resting make the blackberry sauce.
For the blackberry sauce, press and sieve the blackberries. Add the Gallo Family Vineyards Autumn Red to the pan used to cook the venison, stir and reduce for a few minutes. Add the sloe gin, blackberries, blackberry jam and boil until the sauce coats the back of a spoon, add seasoning and sharpen with a squeeze of lemon juice.
To serve place the potato rosti on a plate with the sliced venison steak. Spoon over the blackberry sauce and serve with wild cabbage or sea beet.
Read our recent review of Gallo Family Autumn Red here.
1 cotechino sausage, 200gr dried castelluccio lentils soaked in water for 24 hours 1 onion, 1 carrot, 2 celery stalks, 1 garlic clove, 1 bayleaf, 1 tablespoon tomato paste 150 ml evo, 500ml vegetable stock, salt & pepper, 30gr chopped parsley
Place the sausage in a pot and cover with cold water. Bring this to a boil and then lower the heat and cook for 1 and half hours. In the meantime – dice the onion, garlic, carrot, and celery; place these in a pan with oil and start to brown the vegetables. Drain the lentils and add them to the pan, then, add the bay leaf and tomato paste and cover with the stock; cook gently until they are soft but not falling apart. Season with salt and pepper; garnish with parsley. Slice the cotechino and serve.
If you don’t want to cook this dish yourself then you can try it in TOZI, the Italian restaurant based at London Victoria.
Ella’s kitchen Jingle Belly
Providing the perfect meal for little ones from 7 months+, ‘jingle belly’ is literally a Christmas dinner in a pouch, with all the Christmas trimmings, including turkey, carrots, parsnips, red cabbage, potatoes, onions, green beans, cranberries – even sprouts! The perfect way to make sure the growing tummies of weaning little ones don’t miss out on a scrummy Christmas dinner with the rest of their family.
Most importantly though, in a bid to help those less fortunate, Ella’s Kitchen has teamed up with charity Kids Company to help provide meals for hungry and vulnerable children across the UK. At least 30p from each of the ‘jingle belly Christmas Dinner’ pouches will be donated to Kids Company, to provide food for disadvantaged children and their families on Christmas Day.
To buy the Ella’s Kitchen ‘jingle belly Christmas Dinner’, or to donate to Kids Company, go to: www.ellaskitchen.co.uk
700g sprouts, trimmed and cut in half, 25g butter, 25g plain flour, 250 ml milk, 2 Tbsp white wine, 75g mature cheddar cheese, grated, 25g mature cheddar cheese, grated, 1 small slice wholemeal bread made into crumbs, 50g cooked, whole peeled chestnuts, chopped roughly
Cook the sprouts in boiling water for 5 minutes until tender, drain. Preheat the oven to Gas 5, 190 C. Put the butter, flour and milk into a small saucepan and cook over a medium heat, stirring all the time until thickened, add the wine and heat, stirring for 1 minute. Remove from the heat and stir in the cheese until melted. Mix with the sprouts and place into the Pyrex 4 in 1 dish. Mix the topping ingredients together and sprinkle over the sprouts. Cook in the preheated oven for 10 minutes (without the lid) until golden brown.
2 large parsnips, peeled, 250g Chantenay carrots, 1 large sweet potato, peeled, 1-2 Tbsp vegetable oil, 1-2 Tbsp maple syrup, 1 Tbsp sesame seeds
Preheat the oven to Gas 6, 200 C. Cut the parsnips and sweet potato into large chunks and keep the carrots whole (unless large, then cut in half). Place into the Pyrex dish with the oil drizzled over and cook in the oven for 30 minutes. Turn the vegetables over, drizzle over the maple syrup and sesame seeds and continue cooking for a further 10 minutes until lightly browned and tender.
Tip: The maple syrup adds a lovely flavour to the vegetables but if you haven’t got any it can be substituted with honey.
Items within the Pyrex 4-in-1 Plus range are priced from £5.99 and are available from stockists nationwide. To find out more about the entire Pyrex cook and kitchenware collection and locate your nearest stockist, visit www.pyrexuk.com.
Streamline Orange and Thyme Glazed Carrots
400g Chantenay or baby carrots, 2 tsp cumin seeds, 2 tbsp Streamline thin cut orange marmalade, 1 tsp soy sauce, 3-4 stalks thyme, leaves picked, salt and black pepper
Boil or steam the carrots until tender. Heat a frying pan and dry fry the cumin seeds for a moment or two until they become fragrant. Stir in the thin cut orange marmalade, soy sauce and 1 tablespoon of water until the marmalade has melted into a glaze. Drain the carrots and toss them in the glaze until they look glossy. Sprinkle over the thyme leaves and season. Continue to toss until everything is well coated, then pour into a serving dish.
Streamline Black Cherry Mulled Red Cabbage
500g red cabbage, 3 echalion shallots, 2 Pink Lady apples, knob of salted butter, 2 clementines, 10 cloves, 1 cinnamon stick, 2 tsp mixed spice, 100ml red wine vinegar, 4tbsp Streamline black cherry jam, salt and black pepper
Finely slice the cabbage, shallots and apples. In a large casserole, heat the butter then tip in the sliced cabbage, shallots and apples and toss well. Add the zest and juice of one clementine, stud the other clementine with cloves and add it to the pan along with the cinnamon, mixed spice, vinegar and black cherry jam. Season, stir and put the lid on.
Cook on a low heat for an hour until the cabbage is tender, stirring occasionally. If the mixture gets a little dry, add a dash of water. Serve hot or cold.
Note: Great with ham, cold meats and cheese as well as alongside a traditional roast.