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

In case you want to take a different culinary route for this very different Christmas, CBC News solicited some ideas for an alternative Christmas meal from two P.E.I. chefs.

Two P.E.I. chefs provide 2 mouthwatering non-turkey options for Christmas

Chef John Pritchard and his coq au vin. (Submitted by John Pritchard)

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."

Coq au vin is hearty and fills the house with a mouthwatering aroma, says chef 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.

Chef Jamie Power from Slaymaker & Nichols restaurant in Charlottetown suggests a stuffed pork tenderloin is an appropriately decadent and hearty substitute for turkey. (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.

More from CBC P.E.I.

About the Author

Sara Fraser

Web Journalist

Sara is a P.E.I. native who graduated from the University of King's College in Halifax. N.S., with a bachelor of journalism (honours) degree. She's worked with CBC Radio and Television since 1988, moving to the CBC P.E.I. web team in 2015, focusing on weekend features. email


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