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Dec 15, 2004 09:13 AM

innovative Christmas menus?

  • l

I'm literally fed up with turkey and all its trimmings and want to do something different for Christmas dinner.

Looking for ideas. We'll have a smallish group (4-6) for dinner, so pretty open to ideas.

I'm thinking of recreating a great dish I had at D'Artagnan before it closed: browned quail stuffed with prunes and chestnuts, with a port wine sauce. I basically want an elegant presentation, not too much food. Maybe a Stilton/pear salad to start.

Not sure, though. One guest is somewhat fussy, but I'm trying not to censor my choices based on that.

Is anyone doing anything different, light, slightly untraditional, or of a unique tradition?


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  1. Two ideas to get the thinking going....

    Start with oyster stew: you can buy the oysters the day before (the problem with fish on Christmas Day itself is that fishmongers are closed), and the classic recipes could not be simpler and more elegant. It is also a very traditional starter for the Christmas feast.

    Consider a souffle for dinner. The wonderful thing about souffles is that they can be prepped a few hours ahead and popped in the oven 30-40 minutes before you intend to eat them. A large souffle would make 4-6 people gloriously happy. And the nasty secrete of souffles is that, if you have a proper mise-en-place kind of setup, they are among the *easiest* and foolproof things to make.

    1. Your ideas sound like a good start to me. I like quail but find that one has such little meat that I'm compelled to make 2/person for an entree. I would use Cornish game hens instead and stuff w/ prunes, chestnuts, cippolini onions. Make a port sauce using the pan drippings. That sounds REALLY good to me. Perhaps a creamy polenta on the side.

      I might serve a soup to start and then finish w/ the salad (if your guests wouldn't find that too weird or pretentious). Consider a light cream of mushroom or cauliflower soup laced w/ truffle oil and snipped chives.

      For dessert, consider Bosc pears (maybe put something dif. in your salad then) poached in spiced red wine. To serve, slice in half, fill well w/ mascarpone cheese and chopped pistachios (very holiday looking!). If you want something more festive and WOW, then consider making a buche de noel (yule log). You should be able to find recipes for all these dishes online.