AS Christmas fast approaches we all tend to get caught in thought process of “we’ve always had turkey and ham so we better have it this year again”.
But why do we have to have turkey on Christmas Day…many people admit it’s the only day of the year they eat the bird…maybe that tells us something about the meat.
Why not try something new this year and branch out from the usual offering?
Whether you’re looking for a simple and easy dish or just a change, you could surprise your guests with one of a number of alternative Christmas dishes from the Livestock and Meat Commission (LMC) for Northern Ireland.
Enjoy an intimate Christmas dinner for two or impress your friends and family with some quick and simple party food recipes using Northern Ireland Farm Quality Assured (NIFQA) beef and lamb.
To find out more about Farm Quality Assurance and to read more delicious recipes log onto www.beefandlambni.com
Lamb Wellington with spinach and mushrooms
Oven temperature 220oC/425oF/gas mark 7
2 Northern Ireland Farm Quality Assured leg of lamb steaks,
50g of good mushroom pate
2 shallots, finely chopped
1 tablespoons of olive oil
1 clove garlic, crushed
100g button mushrooms, sliced
50g shitake mushrooms, sliced
¼ bag spinach
Salt and pepper
250g all butter puff pastry
Flour for dusting
1 egg yolk
Baby potatoes and vegetables
Fry a few extra sliced mushrooms and onions and add to gravy
- Wilt the spinach in a hot saucepan with a little of the olive oil and garlic, season with salt and pepper. This will only take a minute or two. Cool and set to one side.
- Heat the remaining oil in a frying pan and fry the shallots and mushrooms, until golden, then add the remaining garlic and fry for another minute.
- Remove from the pan to cool. Next seal the lamb steaks in a very hot pan for 1 minute on each side, remove to a plate and cool.
- Roll out the pastry to about 3mm thick and cut in two pieces, one half slightly larger than the other, reserve the larger half for the lid.
- Place the lamb steaks onto the remaining pastry in a rectangular shape, lightly season with salt and pepper, smear with the mushroom pate, then place the spinach along with the shallot and mushroom mix.
- Brush the edges with the egg yolk and place the pastry lid on top. Pinch together and trim off any excess pastry.
- Make a design on top if you wish and then brush with egg yolk. Rest for 5 minutes. Then bake in a really hot oven, for 16 minutes, or until golden brown.
- Remove and rest for a minute, then cut in half and serve with potatoes, vegetables and mushroom gravy.
The perfect fillet steak with cognac cream
2 thick Northern Ireland Farm Quality Assured fillet steaks
1 tsp of olive oil
1 clove of garlic peeled and cut in half (optional)
3 tbsp Cognac
150ml meat glaze or beef stock
150ml double cream
1 tsp of chives finely snipped
200g baby potatoes
1 tsp of olive oil
1 red onion, sliced
50g sun blush tomatoes
100g chestnut mushrooms, cleaned and halved
A few chives, chopped
- Cook the baby potatoes in lightly salted boiling water until tender, drain and cut in half. Heat olive oil in a large frying pan and fry the red onion until soft then add the mushrooms and brown. Add the sun blush tomatoes, cooked potatoes, salt, pepper and chives. Remove from the frying pan but keep warm while you cook the steaks.
- Heat a non-stick frying pan until it is very hot. Rub each half of garlic clove over each steak, then brush with a little oil.
- Place steaks in the frying pan and do not turn until they are sealed, which usually takes about 2 minutes. Turn steaks and cook for another 2 minutes, the steak is now rare. Cook for a further 1 minute more for medium rare or for 2 minutes for medium and three for medium to well done.
- Test to see if steaks are ready by pressing them with the tongs. The less movement, the more cooked they are. Avoid cutting the steaks to see if they are cooked, as this only releases the juices and dries them out.
- Remove the steaks. Cover with tinfoil to keep warm to rest while you make the sauce. Add the meat glaze to the pan and stir to release all of the flavours from the bottom of the pan and reduce a little. Add the cognac, then add the cream and bring to the boil. Add the chives. Place the warm steaks on to warm serving plates, and pour the excess juices left on the resting plate into the sauce. Serve with the potatoes, mushroom and tomato medley.
Christmas Party Ideas
Crunchy Meaty Skewers
225g Northern Ireland Farm Quality Assured lean rump steak
1 x 15ml spoon (1 tbsp) coriander seeds
½ x 5ml spoon (½ tsp) black peppercorns
1 x 15ml spoon (1 tbsp) fresh thyme
1 x 15ml spoon (1 tbsp) olive oil
Pinch of chilli powder
- Place the coriander seeds, peppercorns and thyme in the pestle and mortar and crush together.
- Zest and juice the lime.
- Place the lime juice and zest, olive oil and chilli powder in a bowl. Add the crushed coriander seeds, peppercorns and thyme. Mix together to make the marinade.
- Cut the beef into small cubes and add to the marinade. Mix well. Remember to wash your hands thoroughly after handling raw meat.
- Cover the bowl with cling film and refrigerate, leave to marinate for 30 minutes to 4 hours.
- Pre-heat a medium grill.
- Remove the meat from the fridge and carefully thread onto skewers. Remember to wash your hands thoroughly after handling raw meat.
- Place the skewers onto a grill pan and grill for 12-15 minutes, turning half way through cooking.
- Serve the skewers with noodles and a little yoghurt mixed with spring onion and cucumber.
Mini Lamb burgers with tomato relish and mint yoghurt
3 small crusty rolls, cut in half and lightly toasted
6 teaspoons of good quality tomato chutney
6 teaspoons natural yoghurt
2 teaspoons mint sauce
500g lean minced lamb
½ small onion finely chopped
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 small pinch of chilli flakes
1 level teaspoon of cinnamon
1 teaspoon tomato puree
A small handful of fresh mint leaves, finely chopped
A small handful of fresh parsley leaves, finely chopped
1 egg, lightly beaten
Combine all of the ingredients together and form into 6 meatballs, flatten out slightly to make burgers. Fry over a medium heat in a little oil, for 6 minutes on each side until golden brown and thoroughly cooked. Set aside to rest and keep warm. Meanwhile mix the yogurt and mint sauce together.
To serve, lay some rocket leaves on top of each half toasted roll, set a warm burger on top, and then add a spoonful of tomato chutney and a little yogurt and mint sauce.
Sticky apricot lamb kebabs with passionfruit, rocket and pomegranate
Apricots are a perfect accompaniment for lamb and this recipe is packed full of fruity fresh flavours.
Preheat a grill or barbecue
2 large lamb leg steaks
12 wooden skewers (pre-soaked in cold water)
A little olive oil
For the apricot glaze
120g apricot jam
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
2 teaspoons light soy sauce
1 teaspoon of grated fresh ginger
1 teaspoon of tomato puree
1 clove garlic (optional)
For the salad
2 passion fruit
1 small bag of wild rocket
100g pomegranate seeds
1 red onion, finely sliced
1 teaspoon of honey
- Cut each lamb steak into 6 long slices and rub with a little olive oil. Thread onto the wooden skewers.
- Place the apricot jam, water, Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, ginger, tomato puree and garlic in a small saucepan and bring to the boil, reduce the temperature and simmer for a few minutes until the glaze has thickened.
- Barbecue or grill the lamb kebabs for 2 minutes on either side, then brush with the glaze and return to the grill or barbecue for a minute on each side until the lamb is cooked and the glaze has caramelised.
- Cut the passion fruit in half and remove the seeds with a spoon, place into a bowl and mix with the remaining salad ingredients. Serve with the sticky apricot kebabs.