It’s OK, you’re not alone
If all those photographs of glazed, golden turkeys adorning the cover of every cookery magazine everywhere leave you cold, don’t worry, there’s loads of delicious meaty alternatives.
Whatever meat you opt for, make sure you get the best quality you can find. It’s the centrepiece of what is, for many people, the most important meal of the year.
How to make beef special and Christmassy
For a really opulent-looking roast to bring to the table, you can’t beat a fore rib of beef. It’s one of the pricier cuts, but well worth it if it won’t break the bank.
Do your research and see if you can source beef that’s been grass-fed and dry-aged. There should be some marbling of fat throughout for a really succulent roast.
Other great cuts of beef for roasting are sirloin, topside, silverside and top rump. This Classic roast beef recipe works brilliantly for all of them.
Serve up this Chilli cinnamon roast beef recipe and no one will be disappointed.
Going all Dickensian with goose
A goose is pricier than a turkey and yields about half as much meat, but its unique flavour can be a welcome change from turkey.
You need to allow about 1kg in weight per person in order to get sufficient meat for a main course (so a 6kg bird will feed six without leftovers). If you pour off and strain the fat as it renders, you’ll have the added bonus of a harvest of goose fat for special occasion roast potatoes. (You should get about 1 litre from a 6kg bird, so it’s worth decanting it into jars for keeping, too.)
Buying quality meat
It’s worth looking out for a quality mark, such as the Quality Standard label. This mark guarantees the provenance of the meat for beef and lamb, and means it’s traceable to the farm where it was reared.
If the Union flag is on the label, that means it’s from a UK farm. The flag of St George means it’s from an English farm. To find a Quality Standard butcher in your area, you can do a postcode search by visiting www.simplybeefandlamb.co.uk.
Try this delicious recipe for Roast goose with chestnut stuffing.
Gammon, it’s only a bit of ham
More traditionally served on Boxing Day, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t enjoy a richly roasted gammon on Christmas Day, then keep the cold cuts for later in the week.
For the meal itself, you need to allow 150-175g per person, so go for more if you want leftovers. Look for the Freedom Food label, or ‘outdoor-bred’ or ‘outdoor-reared’ in the description to be sure you’re buying from a well-lived animal.
When it comes to cooking it for your sumptuous Christmas table, take your pick from all our festive recipes.