Festive alternatives to turkey

Hard to believe as it is, not everybody likes Turkey, or needs such a large bird. So what are the alternatives? Well, our wonderful food team have already posted a superb recipe for a succulent goose. A roasted goose with crispy skin and that dark sticky meat is certainly a thing of beauty, with that added bonus of all the beautiful fat for your roasties too. I’m even partial to a nice piece of sourdough toast with a little bit of the dripping spread on it and a smidgen of white pepper. At Barbecoa we get our geese from Essex – again, easy on the food miles, but mainly because they’re of a superb standard; high welfare, as you’d expect. They are out on grass all day and fed locally-grown corn at night to give them the rich coat of fat and that juicy flesh. As rough rule of thumb I advise our customers to work on half a kilo per person.

There is also a whole range of other poultry to choose from. Our wonderful free range chickens from Label Anglais, and at this time of year they grow some big roasters up to about five kilos, so there’s enough left for a few sarnies (well, maybe). We are also doing apple fed cockerels from Adlington - they are all free from growth promoters and hormone additives. I must confess I’ve not tried one yet, but am really looking forward to tasting something new. We will also have free range ducks and a wide range of game birds available.

As an alternative to poultry there is always the choice of a juicy bit of gammon. Whether smoked or unsmoked, boiled or roasted, they can make a stunning joint. Gammons lend themselves to all sorts of gorgeous flavour additions. I’ve used orange and tangerine skins with treacle, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and mace to really increase the flavour, then glazed them with some soft dark brown sugar in the oven. The variations are limitless. Superb hot or cold and a true Christmas treat.

Well, I’ve got a bit carried away here and haven’t even got around to the alternative cuts of beef, pork or lamb we are going to have available. Maybe I’ll be able to squeeze another blog in before Christmas.


Steve West

About the author

Steve is a butcher at Jamie's Barbecoa restaurant in central London, and our resident meat expert.
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