10 Alternatives to Christmas Turkey
The holiday season is here, and with it the revered turkey. Fried, roasted, stuffed or spatchcocked, the turkey appears on 86 million Americans’ plates at Thanksgiving, and 22 million Americans’ plates on Christmas.
But what if you don’t like turkey? Or are simply tired of the bird after your Thanksgiving feast? Do you have to have turkey? Lucky for you, the answer is no. There are many alternatives to the Christmas turkey, and we have 10 ideas for you to consider this year.
With a whopping 318 million pounds consumed on Christmas, ham is just about as popular as turkey when it comes to a festive holiday meal.
And with good reason. It is easy to glaze, feeds a crowd, and many hams just need to be heated through so you don’t have to worry about undercooked meat (But check your ham’s packaging to be sure). Look for a high-quality ham and a simple glaze for an easy and delicious Thanksgiving alternative.
When it comes to easy and familiar, roast chicken is an appealing choice as well. Roasting the whole chicken in herbs and butter creates a golden-brown delight that will look wonderful on your Christmas table.
Add in a few vegetables, like carrots and potatoes, and you have an easy, complete, and festive holiday dinner. Of course, you can dress it up with extra sides, or even bake it in a crust, but a delicious Christmas alternative to turkey is available with just a little salt, pepper, and butter. You can’t go wrong!
Meatloaf may seem like a humble meal, but a little bit of creativity can turn it into an appropriate holiday feast. A Christmas meatloaf, for example, may include raisins, holiday spices, and rich touches, like onions. Other recipes call for bacon and cheese for a mouth-watering meal.
The best part about meatloaf is that it is easy to make, relatively quick to cook, and is versatile enough that you can find a version to please almost anyone. If you don’t want it to star on Christmas Day, you can always make it for Christmas Eve or another holiday gathering. Don’t shy away from turning this familiar dish into a unique way to celebrate the holidays.
Another familiar meal, pot roast is almost always a crowd pleaser, while also being a relatively simple, one-pan meal. You can even make it in the slow cooker to free up more time to complete your holiday preparations.
The key to delicious pot roast is making sure it is tender and rich. Cooking it longer at a lower temperature can help it to reach that stage. Don’t forget to make a rich gravy to go with it, and add in potatoes, carrots, and other vegetables, which you can also cook with the roast for tender, flavorful, sides.
Ham isn’t the only version of pork that can successfully serve as a holiday meal. A pork loin can also be a delicious addition to your Christmas table. Consider giving the pork a holiday flavor with maple, cranberry and/or apple additions. Longer, lower cooks work well for pork, just like for roast beef, while almost any side complements this versatile and tasty cut of meat.
If you want something a little more decadent for your holiday table, consider roasting a goose. While not a contemporary Christmas centerpiece, the goose has a long history as a Christmas meal and will be right at home on your table.
The goose is particularly delightful because of the fat it contains, which creates a rich, tender meat that is difficult to overcook. You can turn that fat into delicious gravy, too.
Lamb is a little trickier to prepare than many other holiday meat choices. However, if you get it right, the reward is a succulent, delicious centerpiece for your holiday meal. The key to rich and tender lamb is to cook it to just 130-135 degrees Fahrenheit for medium, and to cook the lamb low and slow for maximum tenderness and flavor.
If you are serving lamb, you also have the chance to serve some unique side dishes that you may not have the opportunity to put with other Christmas dinners. Potatoes, asparagus, beets, a green salad, and more, with tangy added flavors, such as lemon, can give your side dishes a zippiness that will complement your lamb well.
While not many people roast duck regularly, the bird can make a delightful Christmas dinner. Poking the duck before cooking to release excess fat, and ensuring a crispy skin, can create the texture and look you need in your bird. Add a mix of sweet and sour sides for the perfect flavor combinations.
The Feast of the Seven Fishes is a classic Italian Christmas dinner that features seven seafood dishes. That might be a little more than you want to take on in the midst of other holiday activities, but you can still include fish in your Christmas meal.
You can even include other forms of seafood, such as oysters or clams. Make them the main dish, or serve them as appetizers. Either way, fish, or other seafood, makes a delicious way to celebrate the holiday, and can serve as an acceptable meat substitute for some vegetarians.
Lasagna is a great choice for a holiday meal because it is a guaranteed crowd pleaser. Just make sure you have enough time to prepare the meal, since the sauce may need to simmer for a couple of hours, and the lasagna itself will take time to bake as well.
Pair your lasagna with a side salad (You can get creative here!) and garlic bread for a delicious and popular turkey alternative.
If Christmas turkey just doesn’t appeal to you, don’t despair. You have many other options. From a simple meatloaf to a roast goose or a rich lasagna, you can enjoy a Christmas feast that suits you and your guests.
And, if you don’t want to cook at all, you can always order your meal from Almost Home. We have a creative and flavorful Christmas takeout menu available, and we have our online ordering available every day. Take advantage and spoil yourself with delicious food (and desserts!) that you don’t have to prepare this holiday season!