No Turkeys This Christmas

Tempted to cook something other than turkey this Christmas but not sure what to go for? Let double Michelin star chef Tom Kerridge help with his guide to the best alternative meats.

Beef Wellington

Christmas is one of the few times of the year you can really push the boat out, so it seems a shame to always cook the same dinner. Tom Kerridge is a master at being creative with British ingredients and a man who knows which meats work wonderfully alongside the Brussels sprouts.


For a really grand Christmas spread, Kerridge recommends goose. "As chefs, we always look for something that's quite extravagant and goose is wonderful but the yield from it is much smaller than turkey," he says.

Try slow cooking the legs in goose fat for a meltingly tender meat as in this delicious roast confit of goose recipe. Alternatively, serve up some big, bold flavours with Delia Smith's roast goose with prunes in Armagnac where she stuffs the bird with two types of fruity stuffing.

Or keep things traditional with Matt Tebbutt's recipe for a succulent goose Christmas dinner with all the trimmings.


This often overlooked meat is a winter staple at Kerridge's Buckinghamshire gastropub, the Hand & Flowers. It contains very little fat, is high in protein and its gamey flavour makes it exciting to experiment with.

"We do a very nice rye bread sauce, which is a bread sauce made in the normal bread sauce kind of way but we use dried rye bread instead," says Kerridge. "It's got this nutty, kind of spicy flavour going through it. We serve that with braised ox tongue and a ragu or venison mince as well and that comes with some peppered sprouts." Wow.

For Christmas, try marinating venison overnight in oil, lemon and rosemary as in this roast venison recipe and if there's any leftover on Boxing Day, you could make Atul Kochhar's spiced venison stir-fry.


"A good piece of beef is absolutely fantastic," Kerridge says. "We do something here where we cook it really nicely with treacle. You get a real nice kind of rich, almost spiced kind of flavour. We cure it with treacle for 24 hours, and the treacle is rubbed into it so it's exactly like a glaze."

For another beef dish with a sweet side to it, try this recipe for roast beef with beetroot, apple and orange relish, or for more of a kick, spread mustard on the fat before the beef goes into the oven and serve it with homemade horseradish sauce as Sophie Grigson suggests in her festive roast beef recipe.


One of the best things about cooking stronger flavours than turkey at Christmas is that you can add more punch to your gravy, Kerridge says.

"By putting treacle or spice in the gravy, you can make a big difference because rather than having to cook the meat in a flash way you can actually just add the bits and bobs you need to the flavouring of the gravy or the bread sauce," he says. "So, things like cloves and cinnamon and treacle and that sort of stuff go very, very well and that sort of gives it much more of a Christmassy and wintry feel going through the dish anyway."

Try Michael Caines' perfect gravy recipe. For even more Christmas dinner ideas see our top 10 alternatives to turkey.