Christmas dinner: to turkey or not to turkey?

  • The List
  • 16 November 2017
Christmas Dinner: To Turkey or not to Turkey?

Rib roasts, haggis and 'tofurkey' are great alternatives to Christmas Turkey, say these Scottish chefs

For some of us, Turkey will always be the centrepiece to our Christmas table. But, if tradition's never really been your thing then these tips from chefs across Edinburgh and Glasgow should help you find a tasty alternative to try out this year.

Fred Berkmiller, l'escargot bleu and l'escargot blanc, Edinburgh
Turkey is very traditional and is a great meal. What matters is to get the best ingredients around – goose, duck, whatever. It is also a good idea to have a mix of great roasts: have few different poultries, stick in a rack of pork, pick the best farm to buy from and avoid supermarkets at any cost.

Andrew Thompson, Clark & Lake, Edinburgh
I'm definitely a turkey man, but when we were living in Barcelona, we had a traditional Catalan Christmas one year which included making 'Galet Soup' for Christmas day lunch – a broth of meat and pasta. I'd like to recreate that one year in Scotland.

Dale Mailley, Quay Commons, Edinburgh
Turkey, carefully sourced and reared properly, is always a joy. We love looking beyond the norm, though, so would suggest something like beautifully roasted partridge as a centrepiece, or even a slice of pheasant pie to change things up.

Scott Smith, Norn, Edinburgh
I prefer to not have Turkey. The past few years my wife and I have enjoyed an amazing rib roast as our centrepiece. We have a great butcher that ages one for us for about 70 days for our Christmas dinner.

Shahab Ali, Tuk Tuk, Edinburgh
I'm a traditionalist at heart so it's always turkey with all the trimmings! However, depending on your preference and size of the gathering, you could substitute turkey for chicken, lamb or even fish.

Paul Kitching, 21212, Edinburgh
You know what, I just adore your jocky haggis. I love it with cottage cheese, pineapple, onion and – oh hell – why not, turkey too!

Andrew McConnell, Chez Mal Brasserie, Malmaison Hotel, Glasgow
After serving a lot of turkey to Christmas parties at Malmaison, by the time it gets to the actual day I am turkeyed out, and so a goose roast is always on my table – you can't beat it.

Claudio Celino, Celino's, Glasgow
Rib roast, dry aged for 60 days.

Vic Henderson, Harmonium, Edinburgh
There's tons of vegan goodies that would set centre stage. We even do a thing called a tofurkey which, believe it or not, actually comes with all the vegan meat trimmings like pigs in blankets and stuffing. You also can't beat mushrooms, in any form; they take on so much flavour and are so versatile. I like to use a mix of portobello and brown chestnut mushrooms, and also pop some jackfruit in there, and do a really lovely rich and unbelievably tasty bourguignon with puff pastry and all the trimmings, or use a similar idea and do a Mushroom Wellington.

A Chez Mal
Malmaison, 278 West George Street, Glasgow, G2 4LL
Smart-casual dining adds pan-Asian flavours to Mediterranean classics.
B Celino's
620–624 Alexandra Parade, Glasgow, G31 3BT
Traditional trattoria bringing beautifully cooked Italian favourites to Dennistoun, with the option to take home treats from the deli counter.
C L'Escargot Blanc Restaurant & Wine Bar
17 Queensferry Street, Edinburgh, EH2 4QW
The Auld Alliance is strong at this classic Edinburgh French restaurant marrying fine Scottish sourcing and French culinary philosophy.
D Tuk Tuk
1 Leven Street, Edinburgh, EH3 9LH
Modern, casual and lively restaurant, serving tapas-style Bombay street food with a top-notch BYOB policy.
E L'Escargot Bleu
56 Broughton Street, Edinburgh, EH1 3SA
Delightful Broughton Street bistro with good sourcing and a skilful kitchen fine-tuning familiar classics.
F 21212
3 Royal Terrace, Edinburgh, EH7 5AB
Captivating fine dining in a luxurious Georgian townhouse setting.
G Quay Commons
92 Commercial Quay, Leith, Edinburgh, EH6 6LX
An intriguing development from the people behind the Gardener's cottage: part prep space, part wine shop, part café, part butchery, part bistro.
H Harmonium
60 Henderson Street, Leith, Edinburgh, EH6 6DE
Ground-breaking vegan bar and restaurant from the team behind Glasgow's cult bars Mono and Stereo.