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
B Celino's
620–624 Alexandra Parade, Glasgow, G31 3BT
Friendly and versatile time-honoured deli-restaurant, with options to sit in or take away from a large deli counter of Italian delights.
C L'Escargot Blanc Restaurant & Wine Bar
17 Queensferry Street, Edinburgh, EH2 4QW
West End favourite that celebrates the Auld Alliance with Scottish produce shining in French bistro classics.
D Clark and Lake
8 Gillespie Place, Edinburgh, EH10 4HS
A European-inspired wine bar serving cheese and charcuterie platters, raclette and other small dishes, with independent small producers prominent.
E Tuk Tuk
1 Leven Street, Edinburgh, EH3 9LH
Quirky, casual and lively Indian street food restaurant, serving small plates tapas-style with a Bollywood twist to the décor.
F L'Escargot Bleu
56 Broughton Street, Edinburgh, EH1 3SA
Scotland's abundant larder combines with classic French cooking in a much-loved central bistro.
G 21212
3 Royal Terrace, Edinburgh, EH7 5AB
Michelin-starred restaurant with rooms, where chef Paul Kitching's unique creativity shines through in every bonkers dish.
H 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, this multi-functional space hopefully signals a resurgence down at Commercial Quay.
I Norn
50–54 Henderson Street, Edinburgh, EH6 6DE
Fresh, bold and committed contemporary Scottish dining using ingredients from local seas, shores, hedgerows and kitchen gardens.
J Harmonium
60 Henderson Street, Leith, Edinburgh, EH6 6DE
Vegan bar and restaurant from the team behind Glasgow's cult bars Mono and Stereo.

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