Right after Thanksgiving, you may be feeling all “turkeyed” out, and nobody would blame you. But Christmas is coming as quick as you can say “holiday sales,” and no one regrets planning early for holiday entertaining. Turkey and ham both make great centerpieces for December dinner parties, and they’re great on buffet tables, too.
The bonus of making a turkey again so soon after Thanksgiving is that this time, you can feel free to experiment without your sister-in-law making a fuss about the cranberry sauce.
Plus, now you have practice, right? And if you plan ahead, you can pick up one of those excess birds (so inexpensive in late November!) and pop a 12-lb. turkey in the freezer for later.
For a dinner party, try this Chinese American turkey from Saveur, brushed with sesame oil and stuffed with sticky rice, scallions, ginger and pork sausage, all seasoned with soy sauce and Chinese cooking wine.
For something quite different, try a smoked turkey. Alton Brown’s honey-brined smoked turkey involves making a “smoke bomb” using aluminum foil and hickory wood chips.
Via Epicurious, try a salted roast turkey with orange, fall spices and sherry gravy.
Want to wrap the turkey in bacon? Go for it! No traditions are at stake, and it’s super low-maintenance; as the Food52 cooks point out, “the bacon does the basting for you.”
Ham fits beautifully on any holiday buffet table, served with hard rolls, slices of cheese, a plate of lettuce, tomato and onions, and condiments (good spicy mustard is a must).
Get some ideas for which cheeses are best to serve with ham on the Food52 forum (ideas include havarti, gouda, fontina and cheddar).
Better Homes & Gardens recommends this Baked Fresh Ham with a Cherry Glaze for its New Year’s buffet, made with cinnamon, cardamom and dried tart cherries or cranberries.
Try a roasted fresh ham with citrus and rye, spiked with star anise, bourbon and red pepper flakes, or a tropical glazed ham with curried pineapple chutney, both from Bon Appetit magazine. Cooks rave that the latter is “bursting with tropical flavor” and smells wonderful while cooking.
For more creative ideas for your holiday meals, download our FREE Guides (click thes link below).
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