Smaller guest list for Christmas dinner? Try these options for an exquisite alternative

·2 min read

With perhaps a smaller guest list due to COVID-19, will you still be serving a turkey or will you try something different for this very different Christmas?

On Thursday, P.E.I. Premier Dennis King and Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Heather Morrison announced the province will ease the "circuit-breaker" restrictions, allowing households to add up to 10 more visitors as long as they are consistently the same 10. But some Islanders traditionally have large Christmas gatherings for 20, 30, even 40 people.

Dear readers, we heard from you about your plans for Christmas dinner.

And we've solicited some ideas from two P.E.I. chefs for non-turkey options.

Coq au vin

"When you think about Christmas dinner or your holiday meal from a sensory standpoint, it really is the blend of savoury roasted aromas and soft and silky textures, bathed in a blanket of traditional pan gravy," said John Pritchard of Pure Kitchen Catering in Charlottetown.

"If we're cutting back on our numbers around the table this year due to COVID-19 or any other reason and still want to enjoy those elements, we can look at a few alternatives that will give us those roast toasty flavours."

Submitted by John Pritchard
Submitted by John Pritchard

Coq au vin is chicken braised in red wine with pearl onions, mushrooms and lardons (bits of bacon or pork belly) and is one of Pritchard's favourites.

He suggest serving it with "obscenely buttered" mashed potatoes and any other vegetable side you like. Carrots are a great choice, simply buttered with a little sea salt and parsley.

The pros are:

  • Great aroma through the house.

  • It's super delicious and comforting.

  • It takes just one hour of cooking time plus one hour prep the day before.

  • You can make as little or as much as you like.

The cons? "You forgot the other bottle of pinot noir to pair with it!" he said.

Read Pritchard's complete recipe for coq au vin and silky mashed potatoes.

Apple, cranberry and almond stuffed pork tenderloin

Chef Jamie Power at Slaymaker & Nichols restaurant in Charlottetown suggests cranberry-apple stuffed pork tenderloin.

Alex Bruce Photography
Alex Bruce Photography

"This is a nice Christmas meal with festive colours and flavours," Power said. "The aroma of all of these ingredients cooking together will surely bring the kids to the table! This is a great inexpensive alternative to a large turkey or ham with less waste [leftovers] as you can control portion sizes and numbers."

Read his complete recipe for stuffed pork tenderloin.

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