Which came first turkey or goose?
Most people believe that turkey is the star of the British Christmas dinner, but this new-fangled bird has only been gracing the British table since the 16th century when it arrived here from America. Before that,a traditional Christmas roast would be the Christmas Goose. The goose as the bird of choice took a severe decline in the 1960s when it was considered a little common and turkey more exotic!
We all want our Christmas dinner to be special and a meal to remember for the right reasons! So how can you make sure that your bird is the best choice?
First take the time to buy your meat from a source you trust. You might prefer a trusted butcher or local farm shop, also great for buying all your veg and extras at the same time.
Knowing how your meat has been reared and where it came from can help you determine the likely quality of the meat. Usually higher quality comes from younger animals that are subject to greater welfare standards. Of course prices will also reflect this so battery-reared birds will be much cheaper than those which have been subject to a mainly organic diet and free-roaming.
Look for birds with unblemished skin, and if buying fresh check whether they will be dressed or whether you will need to do additional preparation.
Consider carefully the size of the bird you require.
General recommendations allow around half a pound or 225 g per person for boneless meat and three quarters of a pound or 340g per person for meat with a bone in. Of course appetites vary and you may want to buy larger deliberately, in order to have enough for leftovers.
Beef it up!
Other alternatives to a bird are roast rib of beef for Christmas dinner. Roast beef is one of Britain’s national dishes and the major part of a traditional Sunday roast. Despite its role in the weekly event, a roast beef is also very popular for a Christmas roast as well and why not, it’s not all about the turkey after all.
The BBC Good Food Guide website has lovely recipes for the alternative vegetarian Christmas dinner, try – parsnip, mushroom & barley wreath, persian pilaf & roasted root loaves, beetroot & squash wellingtons with kale pesto…..