Christmas Main ideas

Following on from last week’s post of Christmas Party ideas, we are moving on the the main course! Here are some of my favourite recipes from the past few years.

If you’re looking to do something different than the same old Christmas turkey, why not try a goose? You’ll need to find a butcher to pre-order one from  – I usually get mine from the Camberwell Fresh Food Market. Always go larger. A 2.5kg bird might sound huge, but you probably won’t get much change for 4-6 people if that’s all you’re having.

If, like me, you prefer pork at Christmas time, this is one of my all time favourite recipes. It’s sweet and juicy and literally falls apart. Pork belly is also a great economical cut, so would be a great way to keep the costs down for the big meal.

A whole roast fillet of beef with truffle mayonnaise is extravagant and perfect for the Christmas table. Watch out: it’s a pricy cut of meat. But if you don’t splash out at Christmas time, when will you?

And for those who like a traditional glazed ham, I’ve included one of my very early recipes for an orange-mustard glaze. Never glazed a ham before? You are really missing out. Give this one a try – it’s very simple and will make a world of difference. Cook it the day before if you are short on oven space.



Begin this recipe the day before.

1 x 2.5 kg Goose, prepared by your butcher*
1 quantity stuffing (recipe below)
olive oil
salt and pepper

2 tbs canola oil
150g piece of pancetta, cut into 5mm cubes
2 brown onions, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, crushed
2 tbs shredded sage leaves
3 tbs toasted pine nuts
finely grated rind of 1 lemon
1/2 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
2 cups fresh sourdough breadcrumbs
2 eggs, lightly beaten

Goose neck, gizzards and wing tips
1 1/2 tbsp cornflour
chicken stock
1/2 cup port, or to taste

  1. Ensure the cavity of the goose is empty.
  2. Grab the wings and bend them backwards at the 2nd joint, dislocating them. Cut through the tendons to remove the wing tips. Reserve these for gravy.
  3. For the gravy, in a large saute pan, fry the goose off cuts in a little oil until golden. Add water to cover and bring to the boil. Simmer for 1-2 hours until reduced. Strain and add enough chicken stock until you have 500ml. Leave in the fridge overnight.
  4. Prick the fatty areas of the goose to help the fat render out, making sure you don’t pierce the meat. Pay attention to the wings and thighs.
  5. Place goose in the sink and pour over boiling water straight from the kettle once or twice to tighten the skin (this will make it crispy).
  6. Pat dry with paper towel inside and out and place on a wire rack in a deep baking tray.
  7. Leave, uncovered, in the fridge while you make the stuffing.
  8. For the stuffing, heat the oil in a large frypan over medium-high heat. Add the pancetta and cook, stirring, for 5-10 minutes or until the fat has rendered out and the pancetta is crisp. Turn the heat to low, then add onion and garlic and stir for 5 minutes or until the onion is soft. Stir in the sage, then remove from the heat and allow to cool for 15 minutes. Combine the cooled onion mixture in a large bowl with the pine nuts, rind, parsley, breadcrumbs and eggs. Season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, then use your hands or a wooden spoon to mix well. Stuff the goose with the stuffing and leave uncovered in the fridge overnight.
  9. Remove goose from fridge 3-4 hours before cooking.
  10. Pre-heat oven to 200°C. Rub the goose with a little olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
  11. Cook in a hot oven for 30 minutes. Reduce heat to 170°C and cook for a further 1 1/2 hours (or 50 minutes per kilo), basting the goose occasionally.
  12. While the goose cooks, make your gravy. Scoop the fat layer off the stock and use to cook your potatoes in. Heat the stock in a saucepan. Take 1/2 cup of the juices and stir together with the cornflour until smooth. Pour back into the saucepan with the port and whisk together until it thickens and begins to bubble rapidly. Season to taste and serve hot with the turkey.
  13. To check if goose is cooked, insert a skewer into the thigh meat. If the juices are clear, it’s ready. If pink, cook a little longer. Allow to rest for 15 minutes before carving.

Serves 4-6

*Ask your butcher to remove the neck and gizzards but keep them for gravy.



2.5kg pork belly
1 cup (250ml) bourbon whisky
1 1/2 cups (375ml) malt vinegar
2 cups (500ml) water
3 cups (525g) brown sugar
10 cloves of garlic, bruised and peeled
1 cup (350g) golden syrup
2 sticks of cinnamon
4 bay leaves

  1. Preheat oven to 180C.
  2. In a large saucepan, combine all ingredients except the pork. Stir until the sugar had dissolved.
  3. Place pork, skin side down, in a large, deep baking tray and cover with the marinade. Cover with tin foil, and place in a moderate oven for 3 hours until the pork is cooked and the liquid has thickened.
  4. When cooked, remove pork from tray and slice thickly. Spoon over the cooking liquid before serving.

Serves 8



1.5kg beef eye fillet
2 brown onions, sliced thickly
salt and pepper
olive oil
1 egg + 1 egg yolk
2 tsp Dijon mustard
2 tbsp lemon juice
300ml canola oil
50ml truffle oil
micro herbs to serve

  1. Preheat oven to 200C.
  2. Generously rub beef fillets with salt and pepper. Heat a little olive oil in a large pan and cook beef fillets on all sides until sealed, about 5-10 minutes.
  3. Place onions on a roasting tray and place beef on top. Roast in a hot oven for 20 minutes for medium rare, or until cooked to your liking. Allow to rest for 10-15 minutes before slicing thickly. Place on a sercing tray with onions, scatter with micro herbs and serve with truffle mayonnaise.
  4. FOR THE MAYONNAISE: Place the egg and egg yolk, mustard, lemon juice and some salt and pepper in a blender and whiz to combine. Combine the oils in a jug, then, with the motor running, slowly pour oil through the feed tube until you have a thick emulsion.

Serves 6-8



Juice of 1 orange
2 tbsp dijon mustard
1/4 cup sugar
cloves to stud ham

1 x 3-4kg half leg of ham, bone in

  1. Preheat oven to 200°C.
  2. In a small saucepan, combine orange juice, mustard and sugar. Bring to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes until thick.
  3. Place ham on a lined baking tray and carefully remove skin from the fatty part (this area will be slightly lighter than the rest and will be softer to the touch.) Score lightly around the area with a sharp knife and using your fingers, remove skin, keeping the fat intact.
  4. Score fat into a diamond pattern and brush ham with 1/3 of the glaze. Stud with cloves at the corner of each diamond.
  5. Place in a hot oven and cook for 1 hour, basting every 20 minutes.
  6. Allow to rest for 15 minutes before carving.

Serves 12

This entry was posted in Dinner/Main Meal, Recipes, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Christmas Main ideas

  1. Andy Williams says:

    It’s the most wonderful time of the yearrrrr!

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