So, to which team do you belong – Team Turkey or Team Roast Beef?
Everyone has different preferences for their holiday dinners and the choices for entrees usually come down to the traditional turkey feast or some sort of beef delicacy, like a rib roast. It’s often hard to decide. Many cooks opt for their favorite or sometimes choose the one that’s easier to prepare, while others take a vote amongst family members and choose the holiday entrée that gets the most positive nods.
So, let’s take a look at the two options for a moment.
Turkey has long been the Christmas favorite. Did you know that turkey is said to have first appeared as a holiday feast on English tables way back in the 16th century? That’s right. It slowly replaced the main course of boar, which was popular in medieval England. (There’s even a Christmas carol written about the boar’s head feast!) History shows that King Henry VIII (yup, the one with the six wives) was the first monarch to have turkey for Christmas dinner.
The popularity of eating turkey for the holidays continued to spread and – along with the goose – became the meal of choice in England. You might remember the scene in Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, written in 1843, where Scrooge sends Bob Cratchit out to get the largest turkey he can find so that his family – including Tiny Tim – can enjoy a delicious and plentiful meal for Christmas.
In English-speaking Canada, the tradition is very much the same. Turkey often takes center stage along with stuffing, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, gravy, and wonderful vegetables to round out the meal.
There are a number of reasons, besides tradition, for choosing turkey for your holiday feast. Firstly, it’s a very healthy meat. Turkey is low in fat and a nutritious option, though when paired with the usual trimmings, it becomes a bit less so. It’s also less costly than beef and other red meats and supermarkets often offer specials on turkey around holiday time.
But then there’s that scrumptious red meat – roast beef. If you covet a sizzling steak or a delicious rib roast, this might be the way to go for your holiday feast.
While turkey is turkey, usually roasted in an oven and lightly seasoned with herbs, beef can come in many forms. While not as traditional as turkey or even ham, beef has become a festive option for many families and takes center stage at parties small and large. Why? Because it’s often viewed as decadent, a real treat that’s a bit of a splurge. And you certainly deserve an extra treat and a bit of indulgence at Christmastime, right?
Perhaps you’ll opt for the perfect prime rib. A little costly but well worth the expense, prime rib is succulent and delicious, especially when cooked to a proper medium or medium rare. The exterior can be garnished with just salt and pepper and it’ll taste amazing, or you can add other herbs and spices according to your taste.
Beef tenderloin is also an excellent option. It can be sliced thinly or you can offer robust slices that resemble steak. It’s delicious and, again, you can season it in a variety of ways.
Another wonderful choice for Christmas dinner is Beef Wellington, a beef tenderloin roast wrapped in flaky pastry, often with a mixture of mushrooms placed between the seasoned beef and the pastry. It both looks and tastes beautiful and will be a hit with guests of all ages.
Turkey or beef for catered parties?
If you’re considering hiring a caterer for an upcoming holiday party, you’ll need to think about your menu and – no doubt – you’ll need to consider what you want to offer for the main course.
At Catering Visions, we offer a variety of options for holiday parties and both turkey and beef are definitely “on the menu” for our Christmas party offerings. The chefs at Catering Visions can work with you to come up with a party menu that will best accommodate the size of your gathering as well as the budget with which you’re working.
Whether this is a work-related party or a personal at-home affair, there are catering options that involve both beef or turkey and – in some instances – you might even choose to offer both since you may encounter guests who don’t eat red meat while others love it. Pair either with the right side dishes along with appetizers and dessert and you’ve got a holiday meal that’s fun and festive.
Need help planning your holiday party menu? Call the professionals at Catering Visions for a consultation. It’s not too late to plan the perfect holiday meal!