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Making Christmas Perfect Ch.4

Making Christmas Perfect - Mains!

With National Lockdown now declared - initially for a month - and new social restrictions being applied - who knows what this Christmas may look like this year

May be there will be a vaccine - maybe not

Celebrating Christmas with all your family and friends may be not be possible this year - and so we all need to adapt to make the best off these testing circumstances

One thing is certain - and that is that this year the people in our lives have never meant more - and therefore ensuring they all enjoy the most Perfect Christmas possible - will be the most precious of all Christmas gifts we can give

Godfreys have been providing perfect Christmases since 1905 - the year in which we were founded by our Great Grandfather!

Back to the future
Over the years fashions have changed in Christmas dishes and menus - but we find that a mixture of traditional and some of the more modern dishes - is usually the best recipe to help create a Perfect Christmas

Making Christmas - Perfect!
This year’s Godfreys Celebration will be a series of Chapters on a mixture of traditional and modern recipes for each of - Christmas Breakfast and Brunch, Christmas Side Dishes, Christmas Dinner Mains - and finally some Leftovers recipes for Boxing Day - to complete making your Christmas - Perfect!
So after our Making Christmas Perfect Mains Side Dishes - we finally move on to Christmas Dinner Mains dishes

  Continue our Mission
We continue our mission to champion real Free Range Turkeys by publishing the What makes a fabulous Christmas Turkey Story Chapter Four - in our Christmas Carol Tab

Producing these special Birds
So when people gasp in astonishment at the true taste and textures of your expertly hand raised, thoroughly fabulous tasting Turkey - you can point them to the Tab to show just how much hard work, sheer commitment, husbandry expertise and pure passion goes into producing such a special Bird - rather than its pale - and usually dry and insipid tasting, industrially manufactured - and very distantly related cousins 
And so to Christmas Dinner Mains dishes 

Christmas Mains dishes - Choices, Choices!
The choice of which meat to have for the celebratory Christmas meal can be surprisingly controversial. 

Should you go down the traditional 'Turkey and Mince Pie' route? Or do you risk trying something new - but potentially upsetting to traditionalists? As with most things, a healthy balance of both is your best bet.

Something a little different.
Christmas dinner is synonymous with Roast Turkey, and although this is a firm favourite that is fabulous when it is truly Free Range and cooked properly -  sometimes it is nice to try something a little different.

The Perfect Choice
To help you make the Perfect choice we have tried to summarise below some points that you may wish to consider as Poultry or Game alternatives to the traditional Turkey - as well as then suggesting some festive recipes for Poultry, Game, Beef and Pork - which you may wish to try - or may just set you off thinking about ideas of your own!

An alternative to Turkey
As an alternative to Turkey - some people choose a grand joint of Beef such as Rib of Beef for the Christmas table - and many even cook several joints of meat to carry them over the festive period - such as whole Smoked or Unsmoked Hams or Spiced Beef

If you are set on a festive Christmas bird here are some points you may wish to consider in making your final choice

Many options
Your choice may depend on the amount of people that you have to feed, but remember that half the fun of Christmas dinner can be the Leftovers and there are many options beyond the ubiquitous Turkey.

So what are the options for the traditional Christmas roast bird?

In England Goose was the traditional choice for roasting at Christmas but over the last century it was gradually overtaken in popularity by Turkey. 

Goose is traditionally stuffed with Sage and Onion Stuffing. With the addition of Apple, it counteracts the very rich meat.

Goose meat is richer and darker than Turkey, with a much higher fat content. The flavourful fat can be collected for your Roasties and if there is plenty left you can store it in the fridge; almost everything improves by being cooked in Goose Fat. 

Like Duck, Goose is big boned with a large cavity therefore you need to go for a good weight, working on about 1kg per person if you want Leftovers

Small Geese are younger and therefore at their most tender, so if you are feeding more than 4 people consider going for two Geese rather than one large one. 

By far the most popular bird on the Christmas table, the popularity of Turkey may be attributed to its large yield of meat, pound for pound

You can also feed a lot of people from one bird. 

If you find Turkey bland it could be that you have been accustomed to cheap, factory farmed birds, as the flavour of a truly Free Range bird is incomparable - and anything but bland.

With its smaller cavity and plump flesh you need only calculate roughly 500g per person when choosing your Turkey.

The flavour of good Turkey is hard to describe; not gamey, but definitely distinctive. You can expect a 6 to 7kg bird to be in the oven for 3-4 hours. 

For an easier to carve Turkey there is also the choice of a Free Range Turkey Crown or a Turkey Roll - either Stuffed - or Unstuffed - and now our new Demi Bronze Turkey - half a Turkey boned and rolled for easy carving - with the perfect balance of brown and white meat - just the right size for a table of up to six - with possibly some Leftovers - but highly unlikely!

Godfreys Three Bird Roasts
The luxurious Christmas Roast that’s perfect for the larger - and the smaller gathering
There are two sizes of these - each an indulgent treat that will be talked about long after its been enjoyed 

No short cuts here - three whole Free Range Game birds - each sumptuous in their own right - but brought together for a real Wow factor - with bags of taste - and no waste

Godfreys Three Bird Roast
A whole plump Free Range Goose, stuffed with a whole juicy Capon, which in turn is stuffed with two whole rich game Pheasants - and all layered with a rich, luscious, fruity Apricot and Sage, Pine Nut and Premium Quality Pork Sausage Meat Stuffing - and at 5kg of pure pleasure - it is perfect for the larger gathering.

Wonderful crispy skin on top and with no bones - makes the Three Bird Roast very easy to carve at the table.
An absolutely luxurious celebratory indulgence, whose magnificent flavours merge and mingle, to provide an exceptional fabulous tasting roast - which is both sensational hot or cold.

Godfreys Mini Three Bird Roast
However, for some customers having smaller gatherings, the original Godfreys 5kg luxurious and indulgent Three Bird Roast may be a little too much of a good thing.

So, we have listened and have crafted our Free Range Mini Three Bird Roast - although weighing in at 3kg and serving between eight to ten people - it’s hardly what you would call small! - but if you are limited to six - then you get to savour some of the Leftovers - excellent both hot or cold.

A plump whole Free Range Duck, stuffed with a whole juicy Guinea Fowl, which in turn is stuffed with two whole, rich game Partridges - and all layered with a luscious, fruity Orange, Sultana, Prune, Cranberry and Premium Quality Pork Sausage Meat Stuffing - which is to die for.
Wonderful crispy skin on top and with no bones - makes this Mini Three Bird Roast very easy to carve at the table.

Our whole Otter Valley Free Range Ducks are richly flavoured - dark, plump and seriously succulent - with a flavour second to none.

Unlike their bland Supermarket distant relatives - our Otter Valley truly Free Range Ducks are a meat bursting with flavour - with the added indulgence of their fabulous tasting golden, crispy, crunchy skin

Unfortunately Duck tends to yield relatively little of its excellent meat, due to its large cavity and high proportion of fat. However the rich, intensely flavoured meat can stand up to strong flavours so is a good choice for a Christmas lunch with its variety of vegetable accompaniments, especially if you have only two to feed. 

An average 2kg bird will feed 2 people; 3 at a stretch with definitely no Leftovers. 

An average Duck will only need about 45 - 60 minutes in the oven.

Guinea Fowl
An unusual choice but an interesting one - especially if you do not have many at the table. A Guinea Fowl is roughly the size of a medium Chicken and with a similar yet gamey flavour. 

Weighing roughly 1.5kg, the bird will feed two to three people and certainly make an interesting diversion from Chicken. Mainly for roasting - but Guinea Fowl does make an excellent pot roast; the flesh can dry easily so it is best to bard with Bacon when roasting.

Most Chicken Recipes can be used to cook Guinea Fowl

The rest of the birds that may be chosen for Christmas lunch come under the heading of feathered Game and include most species, with the exception of Grouse whose season is over by Christmas time. 

Young birds should be chosen for roasting. Older birds are tougher and more suitable for long, slow moist methods of cooking but the upside is that they can take bags of flavour in the form of Red Wine, Herbs and select Spices - but do take care to keep the character of the Game - and not overpower its distinctive flavour. 

Most Game birds run the risk of drying out during roasting so care must be taken to keep them as moist as possible. 

Quick to cook, most will take around 30 minutes in the oven with the exception of the larger Pheasant that will need about an hour. Portion size depends on the bird but roughly speaking you would serve, per person, one Partridge or Wood Pigeon, and two Quail. One Pheasant should serve 2 people.

So those are some of the points you may need to consider if you are set on enjoying a Christmas bird - but just as easily you may plump for an equally traditional Carvery Rib of Beef , Venison Roast - or even a Pork option

The Christmas Main Event recipes 
So on to the Christmas Main Event recipes - that we hope will provide you with some thought provoking suggestions of just how to make your Christmas an enjoyable, memorable, successful and Perfect celebration

Here are some Christmas Mains dishes suggestions to help get your taste buds in the festive mood and your guests begging for your recipes.

•   The Perfect Christmas Turkey - by Raymond Blanc
Raymond Blanc shows you an easy way to cook a show-stopping roast Turkey for your all-important Christmas dinner.
Preparation time 30 mins to 1 hr : Cooking time 1 to 2 hrs.
 Click here for Free Range Small Bronze Turkey
(Click here for recipe)

Turkey Crown with Orange - by Mary Berry
Mary Berry shows you how to cook a Turkey Crown - deliciously flavoured with Orange and Thyme - in 10 easy steps.
Preparation time less than 30 mins : Cooking time over 2 hrs.
 Click here for Free Range Bronze Turkey Crown, Fresh Chicken Stock
(Click here for recipe)

Roast Goose with Apples and Cider Gravy - by The Hairy Bikers
Try roast Goose this Christmas, served with delicious Stuffing and lashings of flavoursome Gravy.
Preparation time less than 30 mins : Cooking time over 2 hrs.
 Click here for Free Range Goose, Directors Sausage Meat
(Click here for recipe)

Glazed Roast Goose, Citrus, Swede & Friends - by Pascal Aussignac
A stunning Roast Goose recipe, with a selection of bright, zesty 'friends' and a Swiss Chard stuffing. This recipe is a must for those seeking something a little different to the traditional Christmas Goose - Mango, Kumquats and Pickled Onion Petals all add to the bright flavour of this dish 
Preparation/Cooking time 2 hrs 30 mins.
 Click here for Free Range Goose, Toulouse Sausages
(Click here for recipe)

• Roast Goose with Chickpea & Lemon Stuffing - by Nigel Slater
Goose really ought to rival Turkey more as the Christmas bird of choice, if only for the quality of the resulting Roast Potatoes. A Chickpea and Sausage Stuffing makes a perfect side dish 
Preparation time less than 30 mins : Cooking time over 2 hrs.

 Click here for Free Range Goose, Directors Sausage Meat, Goose Fat
(Click here for recipe)

• Roast Capon with Pork Stuffing and Mostarda di Frutta
This stuffed roast Capon recipe takes the magnificent bird and embellishes it with an Italian Pork Stuffing full of Parmesan, Mortadella, Herbs and Orange zest. Serve the bird with Mostarda di Frutta - a type of spicy fruit preserve from Lombardy - for a perfect example of how sweet and savoury flavours can work in perfect harmony.
Preparation/Cooking time : 3 hrs 30 mins. 
Click here for Label Anglais Apple fed Christmas Cockerel
(Click here for recipe)

• Perfect Roast Duck with Bread Sauce - by John Torode
A roast Duck requires a little attention, but tastes sensational. Cold Leftovers can be used in the finest of sandwiches or a warm Salad.
Preparation time over 2 hrs : Cooking time over 2 hrs.
Click here for Whole Duck, Smoked Streaky Bacon
(Click here for recipe)

•   Roast Beef with Yorkshire Puddings, Roast Potatoes and Gravy - by Mike Robinson
This most traditional of dishes uses Duck Fat to add extra meatiness to the Roasties. The red wine-soaked Gravy will also have you going back for more! Preparation time 25 mins - plus resting time for the Batter : Cooking time 1½ - 2 hrs - plus resting time for the Beef.
Click here for Carvery Rib of Beef, Duck Fat
(Click here for recipe)

•   Roast Pork Belly with Apple Bread Sauce and Rib Gravy - by Nigel Slater
This Pork feast makes a wonderful alternative to a traditional Christmas, New Year or Easter roast dinners.
Preparation time less than 30 mins : Cooking time over 2 hrs. 
Click here for 
Belly of Pork, Rack of Pork Ribs, Fresh Chicken Stock
(Click here for recipe)

•   Roasted Pheasant with Boulangère Potatoes & Red Cabbage - by Galvin Brothers
This roasted Pheasant recipe is served with some stunning side dishes for a real feast. The Pheasant Legs are confit before flaking the meat and serving in layers throughout the beautifully tender Boulangère Potatoes, while the Breast is simple roasted. Braised red cabbage brings an aromatic sweetness to proceedings.
Preparation/Cooking time 4 hrs. 
Click here for 
Whole Pheasant - and ask us to take of the Legs if you prefer.

(Click here for recipe)

Loin of Venison, Broccoli, Stilton Purée & Red Wine Sauce - by Josh Eggleton
With earthy flavours of the forest  Venison Loin and Girolles Mushrooms are served with the strong flavours of a Broccoli and Stilton purée, and a rich Red Wine Sauce. 
Preparation/Cooking time 1hr 30 mins. 
Click here for 
Venison Saddle
(Click here for recipe)

Loin of Venison in a Sloe Gin and Blackberry glaze - by The Hairy Bikers
This winter dish by The Hairy Bikers cooked with the finest, most tender cut of Venison, is a real treat.
Preparation time less than 30 mins : Cooking time 10 to 30 mins. 
Click here for 
Venison Roast, Fresh Beef Stock
(Click here for recipe)

Make-ahead Christmas Gravy
- by Deborah Reddihough
Reduce stress on Christmas Day by making your gravy in advance.
Preparation time less than 30 mins : Cooking time1 to 2 hrs.
Click here for Chicken Wings, Fresh Chicken Stock, Fresh Turkey Stock
(Click here for recipe)

Christmas Apricot and Chestnut Stuffing
- by Mary Berry
It’s definitely worth the effort of making your own stuffing for Christmas dinner, and Mary Berry’s version is a winner. This recipe is easily doubled 
If that’s a bit too much to do - and for those who like their stuffing meatier - then we can recommend our own hand made Luxury Pork Stuffing
Preparation time 30 mins to 1 hr : Cooking time 10 to 30 mins. Click here for 
Luxury Pork Stuffing
(Click here for recipe)

So, whether you choose one of the recipes above - or are just inspired to explore further recipes we hope we have given you much food for thought - and helped to add that extra special something - that will make your Christmas as Perfect as is possible this year

We hope you enjoyed this Chapter on Christmas Dinner Mains dishes recipes and ideas for Christmas - and trust you look forward to the last Chapter - when we show more Recipes and Ideas for your Perfect Christmas - last up are - Christmas Boxing Day Leftovers

Merry Christmas

Ps Please do have a look at Chapter One, Two, Three and Four of our Christmas Carol now Live on which explains in detail what ensures your Christmas Turkey is going to be fabulous

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