Monday, 01 December 2008
Why is Christmas dinner causing problems for you and your family if you don`t like turkey. Okay, and yes Turkey is a traditional meat eaten on Christmas day however, it does not mean you have to force feed yourself and others to eat something not pleasing to the palette. Christmas Dinner is about tasty food that is acceptable for those sat round the dinner table. If peoples belly rumble due to emptiness then Christmas dinner was not to their required taste, however if their bellies should bloat then this therefore proves that the sitting filled all - and it was all down to you.
Now established that Turkey will not grace the table this year, it is time to look at other succulent meats to take its place. Some people although not a lover of eating turkey still buy poultry produce because they think the table looks odd without a roasted bird sitting in the centre.
Listen up if the right joint of meat lays claim to the middle of the Christmas dinner table - Turkey will not be given a second thought. Although a dry meat it does not stop folk purchasing one because of tradition. Some people still cook Turkey and after serving its purpose of looking Christmassy it is removed to make way for Lamb, Beef, Pork, or Chicken. The Turkey is never wasted and used to make tasty sandwiches fillings. Beat dry Turkey down with beetroot, pickles and flavoured sauces. Use it for casseroles and stews. It also makes appetizing burgers and good in green salads; it can be used in stir fry dishes also. Turkey bits flavour omelettes.
Christmas Roast Leg of Lamb Dinner
Full leg of lamb, (5lbs, 2.25 kilos)
6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Chopped thyme and Rosemary
Bottle of burgundy
8 oz carrots
8oz white turnips
2 lbs potatoes
1 lb parsnips
4 garlic cloves
Sprigs of rosemary and thyme
2 Bay leaves
1 tablespoon of redcurrant or apple jelly
Sea salt and black pepper
Parsley to garnish and add color
This is a busy time for the chef so allow time for ingredient preparation and other. Christmas Eve is a good time to sort things out so you are not rushed off your feet on the day.
Using a skewer pierce the leg of lamb several times. Insert sprigs of rosemary into piercings. Lightly dribble olive oil over the lamb, cover and leave to stand till on work top ready for cooking.
Pre-heat the oven to Gas Mark 8 (450°F, 220 °C.) Pour olive oil into roasting tin then rest on top shelf to heat the oil - leave for 15 minutes. Wash and peel root vegetables and cut into quarters. Shallots can be peeled and left whole. Peel your garlic cloves if you prefer, but not necessary.
Dry vegetables with kitchen towel and add to hot oil in the roasting tin, turning the vegetables over to coat. Add whole garlic cloves. Put in the oven for 30 minutes turning once. Remove the vegetables and put aside.
Now rub sea salt and powdered black pepper into the leg of lamb and place in the roasting dish for 30 minutes. Then take out and place on top of the cooker on a medium heat. Now pour in the wine. Be careful with spitting hot oil. Baste lamb while adding chopped thyme and rosemary. When the wine begins bubbling, - cover the tray with tin foil. Lower oven temperature to Gas Mark 3, (325 °F, 170 °C), Cook for 1 hour 30 minutes.
When cooked baste lamb joint with meat juice and return vegetables with two bay leaves added. Place back in stove for a further hour and a half. Don't forget to remove the sprigs of Rosemary before serving. Leave roasted leg of lamb aside to cool for 30 minutes.
Still using juice from the lamb and vegetables add jelly and simmer to thicken. Squeeze cooked garlic cloves into the mixture. Dress vegetables with parsley and sit the leg of lamb on a serving dish..
Not quite as big but yet as tasty like the traditional bird is the Capon or as some folks say the "castrated rooster." The capon is a large poultry bird bigger than a chicken. Capon as the centerpiece for Christmas lunch is an ideal substitute.
Capon cooking and ingredients:
4 to 6-pound capon
1/2 cup melted butter
salt and black pepper
4 tbsps basil
4 tbsps thyme
4 tbsps tarragon
2 tbsps rosemary, finely chop as with the 3 above
3 tbsps minced garlic
2 medium onions, quartered
2 sticks of celery, sliced
Cube 2 red apples
Dice 2 green apples
1/2 cup white wine
3 cups chicken stock
Fresh is always best, however if your capon comes frozen thaw in refrigerator for 48 hours. Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees F. Swill capon thoroughly with cold water and kitchen towel dry. Place poultry in middle of a roasting dish and season with salt and pepper. Using a small basin mix melted butter with the chopped herbs and garlic to make a paste. Rub this under the breast skin and over outer skin. Circulate capon giblets along with diced vegetables and apples into the dish. Pack tightly over with tin foil and roast like this for 2 1/2 hours. Check for tenderness at 2 hours. Remove foil and allow skin to brown. When cooked remove capon from roasting dish and keep warm. A tasty sauce is easily made from dish drippings.
Discard as much of the fat as possible from the dish without upsetting the natural drippings. Be careful while in the process of making the sauce to avoid burns. Place dish over high heat to caramelize juice. Deglaze drippings with wine, scraping the dish with a spatula. Add chicken stock, and allow it to simmer. Do not boil and reduce to approximately 1 cup. Strain and season - then serve the sauce with sliced capon.
I bet throughout the whole time while you followed both recipes given here not once did Turkey come into mind. Just proving a point that's all. Tradition or not, if it tastes as good as it looks then you are onto a winner