4 Christmas dinner ideas

Yorkshire Duck By Loose Birds(1)

Tired of turkey? Chef shares his favourite 4 Christmas dinner ideas

Last year, due to restrictions, we all entertained on a smaller scale, with many of us ditching the turkey and opting for smaller centrepieces. With talks of potential turkey shortages in the supermarkets, as well as the need to make up for last year’s muted celebrations, many of us will likely continue to be a little more experimental with our Christmas meats this year.

Here to offer his expertise, Michelin-starred Jeff Baker, Executive Development Chef at Farmison & Co, has revealed his top four Christmas centrepiece ideas, how to prepare them and what flavours to pair them with.

From delightful, crispy duck to heavenly beef cuts, here are some fresh ideas for a Christmas to remember. Read and tuck in!

Delicious Duck

Jeff says: “Duck should always be satisfyingly succulent and rich – flavours that shouldn’t be a stranger to your Christmas table. When glazed to perfection, these birds are wonderful for roasting whole, as the main event on Christmas day. If you opt for duck this year, I’d recommend pairing your bird with fruit and nuts flavours – ideally a plum pudding stuffing, chestnuts and crispy roast potatoes. What could be better!”

Yorkshire duck by loose birds, £45: Farmison & Co

Yorkshire Duck By Loose Birds(1)

Top tip from Jeff:

“Preparation is key, so be sure to take note of the weight of your duck the day before roasting. Once you’ve weighed your bird, prick the skin all over, before scalding the crown with a litre of boiling water and then leave it to air dry in the refrigerator overnight. Once your duck is ready to roast, gently massage the meat with a little oil and sea salt and allow it to creep up to room temperature.”

“For the best results, remember to place the duck breast side up in a large, heavy-based roasting tray, on a trivet of chopped onion, carrot and green apples. The melody of vegetables and fruit will complement the bird wonderfully.”’

Succulent Pork

Jeff says: “When paired with rich winter fruits, a succulent loin of pork has the power to make your Christmas dinner stand out. When infused with fruity flavours, the savoury taste of a good quality pork loin rack is magnified to make for a delicious combination. I’d recommend serving your rack with some seasonal brassica, roast potatoes and – of course – apple sauce.”

Rack of pork loin with winter fruits, £29.50: Farmison & Co

stuffed pork leg joint

Top tip from Jeff:

“As with most meats, you should season your pork loin with sea salt before cooking. For the best flavour and taste, place the pork fat side up on a trivet of vegetables (usually onions, celery and carrots), before placing in the centre of your oven to roast for 20 minutes at 23 degrees celsius.”

“Once that’s done, reduce the temperature to 160 degrees Celsius and roast for a further 20 minutes, so that the core temperature of the pork reaches 65 degrees celsius. To finish off your centrepiece, increase the temperature to 230 degrees celsius and continue to roast for a further 15 minutes – this is so the crackling is extra crisp. For optimum flavour, remember to rest for a minimum of 30 minutes before carving.”

Beautiful Beef

Jeff says: “A great Boxing Day option, if not for Christmas Day, is a prime roasting joint of British beef. Paired with the right flavours, a mouth-watering sirloin of beef is sure to please your guests this Christmas: to achieve a rich and sweet taste, I suggest incorporating garlic and balsamic vinegar into your roast. You could even steer away from the traditional roast potato and opt for some gratin dauphinoise, alongside some roasted shallots and a rich red wine sauce.”

Butcher tied sirloin of beef studded with black garlic, £95: Farmison & Co

whole fillet of beef2

Top tip from Jeff:

“To cater for the masses this Christmas, you’re likely to need a large, heavy-based roasting tray for your beef joint. Construct a trivet of roughly chopped vegetables, made up of onion, celeriac and carrot, as well as a bay leaf and a sprig of time. Don’t forget the peppercorns!”

Luscious Venison

Jeff says: “Extremely rich in taste and deep in colour, venison can be enjoyed with robust sauces and hard herbs: married with the right balance of flavour, venison can be a serious show-stopping seasonal centrepiece. The distinctive taste of venison sits well alongside festive fruit flavours, such as prunes, raisins, cranberries and apricots. If you like a Christmas tipple, then seeping the cognac fruits in an indulgent brandy is sure to warm up your dinner plate. Make your meal extra festive by sitting your venison alongside roast parsnips, Brussels sprouts and a rich red wine sauce.”

Easy carve wild venison saddle with cognac fruits, £56.95: Farmison & Co

wild venison saddle with cognac fruits

Top tip from Jeff:

“To cook to perfection, this cut of good quality venison takes just 20 minutes in total. Over high heat, carefully sear the venison and roast for approximately 15 minutes and be sure to turn it carefully over once or twice. If done correctly, the venison should be soft to touch, with a little spring when pressed with your thumb. If you’re keen for a deliciously rare finish, then your venison should have a core temperature of 50 degrees celsius before resting.’


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I am Emma and with my husband Mark write Foodie Explorers, which is a food and travel website.

I am a member of the Guild of Food Writers and British Guild of Travel Writers.

We have a wide range of judging experience covering products, hotels and have judged, for example, for Great Taste Awards and Scottish Baker of the Year.

Along the way Mark gained WSET Level 2 in Wine and I have WSET Level 2 in Spirits as well as picking up an award with The Scotsman Food and Drink Awards.    

Usually I can be found sleeping beside a cat.

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