The calendar has turned to November and that means one thing…Thanksgiving is right around the corner! This true kickoff to the holiday season brings families together to enjoy each other’s company, give thanks for their blessings, watch football, and of course, feast on a wonderful meal. While it’s generally a given that turkey is the traditional centerpiece for this epic occasion, now’s the time to think about different methods of preparation—as well as other festive roasts worth considering.
As unusual as this may sound, beef makes a delicious alternative to turkey, and can be ideal for feeding a large group. The magnificent standing rib roast shouts holiday meal. Well-trimmed, flavorful and juicy when the rib is expertly butchered, as we at Vrola – Center of the Plate Specialists do, this phenomenal piece of beef makes a dramatic presentation and usually satisfies everyone. Carved thick, either on or off the bone, with a simple crust of coarse sea salt and ground pepper, a rib roast may make your family not miss the bird one bit.
Also in the beef family, consider the classic chateaubriand. Think of several filet mignons strung together and tied into a roast that is elegant and meltingly tender. Extra lean, this meat can also withstand a larding with Applewood smoked bacon. Roast, rest, slice and enjoy a tender and delicious turkey alternative.
Pork and Ham
Pork is yet another strong option to consider. The regal crown roast offers filling loin chops, and the opportunity to add a flavorful and unique stuffing. Serve it with cornbread, or sausage, or oysters: the choice is yours.
From the other end of the pig comes delicious ham. Boned and rolled, like we at Vrola do (and liberally seasoned with fresh herbs and other savory delicacies), this makes for a juicy and delicious alternative to the big T-word. Also succulent and savory, the smoked ham really lends itself to holiday creativity. Glaze maple syrup and cola, stud with cloves, or use a classic fruit combo of pineapple and cherries, the possibilities for customizing this ham is limited only by your taste buds! Easy to slice and serve (and save), it holds up well for Black Friday leftovers. Without a doubt, a smoked ham is a great contender to be part of your Thanksgiving meal!
For a more exotic dish, crown roast of lamb is a great choice. Lamb rib racks are frenched, exposing the bones, and then tied together to form the crown. The inside is then stuffed with similar versions of its cousin (pork), then roasted to a golden brown. Sliced and scooped, it’s easy to see why this dish has such royal roots.
Wild Game and Venison
If a traditional off-the-land pilgrim-esque dinner is what you’re going for, Vrola can help you. Game birds like pheasant and quail, as well as venison (the rack is recommended here), were all as readily available then as they are today. Be adventurous this holiday and try some authentic Americana.
Whatever you decide to celebrate with—traditional turkey, wild game, beef, pork or venison—the most important element of this wonderful holiday is giving thanks for our blessings, enjoying time with the ones we love, and celebrating together. Enjoy and happy eating!