Has traditional turkey lost its crown?

Master Chef Mick Burke
Master Chef Mick Burke

Traditional turkey has lost its crown as Christmas dinner of choice, according to Mick Burke – one of only three education-based Fellows of the Master Chefs of Great Britain.

He has been serving up a series of alternatives, including goose and beef, at Sheffield College where he is a senior chef lecturer.

“You’ve only got to go round the supermarkets and see the commodities on offer compared with 15 or 20 years ago,” he says.

For those who fancy a change, he recommends rib-eye steaks with rich gravy, or roast pork with a creamy cider and dried apricot sauce.

Starters are also a common part of Christmas dinner these days; Mick suggests something light and fishy, such as smoked salmon and dill gratin, shell-on prawn cocktail, or lobster.

But he has no intention of switching allegiance himself: “I’ll be having turkey!”

Mick’s top turkey tips are:

* Take out the wishbone before cooking your bird to make carving easier, and create longer slices of meat.

* Prepare veg the night before, blanching and refreshing sprouts in cold water before refrigerating. Fry with onions, pancetta and chestnuts on Christmas morning.