Friday, 20 December 2013

Christmas dinner for one - 2013

Christmas dinner for one - time for a revisit. I offered some suggestions exactly two years ago, but it never hurts to look at some more options. (This topic is one of the main searches that brings you readers to my blog, all year round!)

Apart from the alternatives to turkey I suggested last time, a spatchcocked poussin will feed one very hungry person, or give you a meal and a bit for leftovers (using the carcass to make stock afterwards, for soup or risotto). You can spatchcock the bird yourself if you have a pair of poultry shears or very sharp kitchen scissors - it's very easy. If not, ask the butcher to do it for you. The supermarkets have them at this time of year, already prepared. All you need to do is oil the skin, add a rub if you like and roast for about 40 minutes at 180C. (I cooked the one above with a rub made of sweet smoked paprika and ate it with a plate of oven chips.)

I wrote about breast of lamb in October - it's cheapish, very tasty and very versatile. I stuffed the one in the photo a couple of weeks ago, with a homemade stuffing of breadcrumbs, a handful of chopped chestnuts, a few dried apricots and a little rosemary - very seasonal. If you opt for this, the October post has cooking instructions.

I can also recommend (again) looking in the freezers in Lidl and Aldi. I've already picked up a cooked, frozen lobster for £6 from Lidl, as I do every year, and both shops have a good selection of small three-bird roasts that will give you 2-3 portions - enough for Christmas Day, plus leftovers for sandwiches, curry, a casserole of some sort, a pie (swap the veg for leftover roast parsnips, carrots or sprouts) or soup.

Fresh ducks should also be appearing now. One duck feeds two people quite well, so you'll have some nice leftovers from that - it makes a good stir-fry if you cheat, like I do, with some bought stir-fry sauce.

What am I having? I don't know yet, is the short answer. I have a nice slab of Cheshire belly pork in my freezer but I'm also tempted to buy either a duck or a rack of lamb next week. A rack of lamb is quick and easy to cook, and cobbling together a quick crust of breadcrumbs and herbs adds extra flavour (I had this last year). These should be in the supermarkets from about now but you should also be able to order one from a butcher - a rack of 3-4 chops should be enough and you can make a pilaf (watch this space) if you can't finish it in one go.

If you have any questions, do post in the comments below and I'll do my best to answer.

Merry Xmas!