Bored of Turkey? – This Alternative Christmas Dinner Guide is a Recipe For Success

Key to every Christmas is a delicious perfectly stress-free dinner that will allow you to spend more time with your family and friends. And if you are tired of having roast turkey every year… maybe 2018 is finally the time to try something different.

I have created an alternative Christmas dinner menu that will satisfy each and everyone in the house. As always I am trying to make it slightly healthier, incorporating lots of fruits, nuts and vegetables throughout the menu and using only the most amazing ingredients.

It is also important to note that with just a little bit more effort, homemade meals are simply much healthier than store-bought. This dinner is quick and easy to prepare, it’s packed with flavours and complemented with winter spices that will fill your house with magical Christmas spirit and most definitely will amaze your guests.

And while I always aim for healthier meals, I feel Christmas time can surely be regarded as an excuse to fully indulge in the most delicious treats and guilty pleasures. I hope you will enjoy and have fun cooking this delicious dinner while sipping on festive spicy mulled wine and Christmassy Prosecco cocktails. I know I will!

Appetizers

– Roasted sweet potato crostini three way
– Creamy goat’s cheese, chestnut mushrooms, thyme and pomegranate
– Creamy goat’s cheese, fresh figs, blackberries and truffle balsamic glaze (optional)
– Fresh pears, blue cheese, walnuts and honey

Mains

– Seafood lovers choice – Grilled prawns with chimichurri sauce
– Festive bird – Duck breast with grilled asparagus, oranges and red wine blackberry sauce

Sides

– Broccolini with chilli, garlic butter and crushed almonds
– Brussel sprouts with pancetta, honeyed walnuts and cranberries
– Sweet potato mash with orange, ginger and pecans

Desserts

– Indulgent Guinness cake with Pecans & Baileys cream cheese
– Poached pears in red wine with spices and berries & Baileys cream cheese – gluten free option.

Appetizers

Ingredients:

– 2 medium sweet potatoes (these can be substituted with potatoes or simply toasted baguette slices)
– Goat’s cheese
– Chestnut mushrooms
– Figs
– Blackberries
– Pear
– Walnuts
– Blue cheese
– Honey
– Thyme
– Pomegranate

Method:

1. Slice sweet potatoes in 1cm slices, add drizzle of olive oil, salt pepper and mix until all covered in seasoning.
2. Bake in the oven at 200 degrees for 15-20 minutes until soft inside, crispy and golden on the outside.
3. Mushroom topping: heat frying pan, add 1-2 tbsp olive oil, fry mushrooms until golden (8-10 mins), season with salt and pepper and fresh thyme.
4. Separately mix ¼ glass white wine, 1 tsp mustard, 1/5 tsp miso (optional) add to mushrooms and continue to sauté for another couple of minutes.
5. Add goats cheese on your crostini, add mushrooms, fresh thyme sprigs and pomegranate seeds. Pomegranate seeds are like red jewels which will add the festive glow to any dish.
6. Pear, blue cheese topping: add thinly sliced pears, sprinkle blue cheese, crushed walnuts and drizzle with honey.
7. Fig & blackberry topping: cut figs in quarters, add blackberries. Drizzle with truffle balsamic glaze (optional).

Mains

Grilled Prawns with Chimichurri Sauce

1. Preheat oven to 190 degrees, defrost prawns, drizzle with olive oil and place in the oven on the grill function – leave for 10-15 minutes.
2. Pour chimichurri sauce over prawns. Serve with toasted baguette slices and lemon wedges.
3. For the Chimichurri sauce: mix 1/3 cup thinly chopped parsley, 1 small chilli, 2-3 garlic cloves, 1/3 glass olive oil, 2 tbsp red wine vinegar, squeeze of lime/lemon. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Duck breast with Asparagus, Oranges and Red Wine Blackberry Sauce

Ingredients:

– Duck breast (I would serve 1 duck breast per person)
– Orange
– Blackberries
– 1 pack of asparagus
– 200ml wine
– 100 ml chicken stock
– 2 tbsp. honey, ginger, thyme
– 2 tbsp. butter

Method:

1. Skin side down, lay duck breasts in a cold pan; turn to medium and fry until skin is golden brown – 8-10 minutes.
2. Turn the duck breast over, squeeze juice of half orange and keep frying for another 5 minutes.
3. Move to the ovenproof skillet with asparagus and slices of oranges, cook for 5 minutes (I like it medium rare) so if you wish, cook it longer for medium well ~10 minutes. Leave to rest while you make the sauce.
4. For the red wine and blackberry sauce, take a frying pan and combine wine, chicken stock, juice from ½ orange, honey, ¼ tsp ginger, ¼ tsp orange zest.
5. Bring to a boil and simmer until reduced by half, season with salt and pepper. Add 1 tbsp. butter and 5 blackberries swirl until fully incorporated in the sauce, turn off the heat and add few fresh blackberries.
6. Slice the duck and serve in same skillet with asparagus and orange slices with a side of red wine blackberry sauce.

Sides (I specifically don’t add quantities as this will highly depend on your taste).

Broccolini with Chilli, Garlic Butter and Almonds (optional – add 1 tsp. of miso in garlic butter mix)

1. Blanch brocollini and brussel sprouts for 5 minutes in lightly salted water, then move to the bowl filled with iced water.
2. In a sauce pan add 1 tbsp butter, garlic and chilli (1tsp of miso paste – optional).
3. Fry on medium heat just for couple minutes until garlic softens, add crushed almonds, broccolini, season to taste, serve.

Brussel Sprouts with Pancetta, Honeyed Walnuts and Cranberries

1. Blanch sprouts for 5 minutes in lightly salted water, move to the bowl filled with iced water.
2. In a saucepan fry pancetta for 5 minutes on medium heat until becomes golden and crispy, add cranberries, crushed walnuts and honey, keep stirring until cranberries are starting to pop.
3. Place the mix in a bowl and fry sprouts in the same pan,

Sweet Potato Mash with Orange, Ginger and Pecans

1. Boil 2-3 pealed sweet potatoes until soft (if you have chicken stock – use it instead of salted water).
2. Once potatoes are soft, pour out the liquid, leaving 2/3 in a separate cup (use this to ensure your mash is the consistency you want).
3. Add 2 tbsp. orange juice, ½-1 tsp ginger, pinch of nutmeg and 1 tbsp butter.
4. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve with freshly grated orange zest and crushed pecans.

Desserts:

Guinness cake with Pecans (I suggest making the cake evening before/or during the morning as it needs cooling)

Ingredients:

– 250ml Guinness
– 250g salted butter
– 300g muscovado sugar
– 270g plain flour
– 150 ml Greek yoghurt
– 3 medium eggs
– 65g organic cocoa powder
– 1 tsp vanilla paste
– 2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
– 180g pecan nuts

Method:

1. Preheat oven to 170 degrees, butter 20cm spring form tin. In a large pot/sauce pan mix Guinness, butter, sugar, vanilla and cocoa powder – heat until butter is melted and mix has a smooth glossy syrupy consistency.
2. In a separate bowl, beat eggs with yoghurt; Pour into the beer mix, add flour and bicarbonate of soda.
3. Mix until smooth. Pour batter in a greased tin, bake for 45 minutes. Leave in the tin to cool completely.

Christmas Dinner Guide

Baileys Cream Cheese Frosting

Ingredients:

– 4 tbsp. Baileys
– 100 ml double cream
– 280g cream cheese
– 100g icing sugar
– 3 tsp. corn flour

Method:

1. Beat cream cheese with sugar and baileys until smooth, add double cream, corn flour, and beat further until soft peaks form.
2. Spread 2/3 on top of Guinness cake (only once cooled). Use the rest for the poached pear dessert.
3. Poached pears in red wine with spices and berries: 2-3 pears (peeled), 1 cup red wine, ½ cup water, 2-3 cinnamon sticks, 15-20 cloves, 1-2 tsp ginger, juice of 1 orange + orange zest, 4-5 tbsp honey, 2/3 cup of frozen berries.
4. Combine all ingredients in large pot, place oranges pierced with cloves. Poach pears for 15-20 minutes or just until soft. Serve pears with baileys cream cheese or spicy red wine mix.

Ingredients

I tried using a lot of ingredients throughout the menu to avoid food waste. However you will have plenty of delicious food left for Christmas day – which can be easily incorporated in new recipes for whole family.

Key Ingredients (Pallas Foods)

– Duck breast x 4 ~18,00
– Gambretti Red Prawns ~25,00
– Soft Goats cheese Tub ~9,00
– Cashel Blue Cheese ~3.50
– Fresh Thyme, Rosemary, Parsley ~5,00

Other ingredients. Most likely you will have these at home or can get in your local store.

Walnuts, Pecan nuts, Almonds, Honey, Chilli, Garlic, Red wine vinegar, Spices (ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon), Bicarbonate of soda, Butter, Yoghurt, Eggs, Pancetta, Chestnut mushrooms, Asparagus, Brussel sprouts, Sweet potato, Broccolini, Cranberries, Pomegranate, Figs, Blackberries, Pears, Oranges, Cocoa powder, Flour, Frozen berries, Cream cheese, Double cream.

Full menu with Prosecco, red wine, Guinness and Baileys came around 100 euros and will feed at least 4 people.

FEATURE BY THE FOOD DNA

Jelena Bio With background in clinical nutrition and pharmaceutical sciences Jelena is a self-proclaimed foodie. She combines love and passion for cooking with unique skill of being able to create dishes that taste great and are of a high nutritional value, making sure you eat the best when you do.

Her kitchen is the food lab full of soul and passion where she happily spends hours experimenting. Her recipe collection is like a treasure chest that has something for each and every one.

The Food DNA The Food DNA

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