There is no holiday rule that says you have to have a ham for Christmas dinner. Our holiday tradition had always been a ham...which is slightly peculiar because none of us really enjoy ham all that much. So a few years ago we started changing up our holiday dinners. There are so many delicious options for having an amazing and memorable Christmas dinner. I have talked to lots of families that share our opinion and do not care for ham, and what is a vegetarian to do? Are they to feel like they are not "Christmassy" if they do not have the tradition?
Talk as a family and ask some questions; What is everyone's favourite food? What is something they have wanted to try out? Is there perhaps something everyone would like to splurge on, something you don't normally buy (ie...seafood)?? In my opinion taking a little bit of money out of buying something material and putting it toward a lovely feast is by far money well spent and much more meaningful!
Some suggestions to consider:
A Christmas Duck (free range and organic of course). A duck is not an everyday delicacy at our house and with an orange or plum sauce...absolutely wonderful! This recipe is from one of my absolute favourite Jamie Oliver cookbooks and with the plums, star anise and cinnamon spices makes for an unforgettable dinner!
Make it cajun, a huge pot of jambalaya and homemade creole sauce, (the kind that simmers all day making your house smell intoxicating)! I assure you, it is Christmas dinner like no other! The jambalaya recipe in Chef Paul Prudhomme's Louisiana Kitchen is perfect (seriously...perfect!).
Pizza anyone? Don't laugh...pizza, the homemade kind, can be extravagant. Make your own; buy gourmet cheese, organic pepperoni or porchetta, lots of fresh veggies. Vegetarian pizza is so amazing...you'll never miss the meat! Pair it with a lovely wine and Perrier for the kids. If your family loves pizza, then that is what makes it special!
To me there is nothing more extravagant than a meal of seafood! It is such a treat...one to be slowed and savoured. If you do not normally cook seafood and are a tad nervous with such things, try out a Coastal Living recipe...buy the cookbook while you are at it, it is a lovely visual treat! If not Coastal Living, Jamie Oliver (of course) has fantastic seafood recipe...as really, I find all of his recipes fascinating!
The most important ingredient here is creating, cooking and enjoying your family togetherness.
Happy Christmas and Happy Cooking to you and your family!