Tinker with tradition: tempting turkey alternatives


When many of us think of Christmas Day, roast turkey is one of the first things to spring to mind. But maybe you're not enamoured by the idea of another turkey dinner, or you fancy being brave and branching out to try something original this year.

And there are plenty of alternatives to turkey that might just tempt you away from tradition.

Birds such as poussin and cockerel make for a fantastically flavoursome meal with a difference, and may well make the crowning ingredient of your festive feast.


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A smaller bird or cut of meat means less time spent in the kitchen and less leftovers – no turkey curry party required! 

And by sticking to conventional roasting methods, you can try something different while keeping in touch with tradition.

They still make for impressive centrepieces – and give you more time to enjoy the festivities. These recipes – including poussin, cockerel and a three bird roast – will not require an early start or provoke any basting-related panic.

And what would Christmas lunch be without the little extras? Alternative meats still work well with quintessential trimmings such as pigs in blankets, crunchy roast potatoes and honey roasted parsnips.


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If there are only a couple of you on Christmas day, poussin could be just the ticket. Also known as spring chickens, they are 4-6 weeks old and weigh between 400-500g, equating to the perfect single serving. They have a mild flavour which makes them perfect for rich stuffing or sauce to add flavour.

Better known for unwelcome early morning wake-up calls than their place on the Christmas lunch table, cockerel can make a tasty option. Larger than a chicken but smaller than a turkey, they do not often feature on menus and tend to be produced on a small scale. Their meat is similar to a hen's and more succulent than that of a turkey.

A three bird roast makes for a stunning centrepiece and caters to lots of different tastes and so have become increasingly popular in recent years. They can range from modest three bird crowns to impressive creations combining five meats as well as stuffing.

If you are feeling experimental this Christmas, why not consider jazzing up your standard stuffing and vegetable dishes too. Try a splash of red wine in your gravy, venison chipolatas or steaming your sprouts in sage and chestnut butter.

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Tinker with tradition and try these Christmas recipes:

Roast Poussin with Cumberland Blackberry Sauce

Three Bird Yorkshire Roast with Creamed Mash, Cranberry Jus, Apricot Stuffing and Chipolatas

Pistachio, Sage and Cream Cheese Roast Cockerel

Parma Ham and Olive Stuffing Meatballs