Waiting for the last few dishes to finish was always the hardest part, naturally. A side or two, maybe a dessert; it was hard to contain yourself with so much delicious food right in front of you. With the passage of time, it’s easy to think that these memories might just remain memories.
They don’t have to be, though. It’s both possible and rewarding to make Christmas dinner just like Grandma used to, almost as good as in your memories. Aside from family and present shopping, there’s just a few things you need to figure out to get started.
With Christmas Dinner Comes The Main Course
While every family is different, there are a few traditional staples as far as a main course dish served around Christmas time. Generally when you think of Christmas dinner, at least one of three foods come to mind: Turkey, ham, or prime rib.
Each of these meals can set a very different tone for the table, and you’ll need to adapt the meal according to fit around that. With turkey, it’s almost like the sides take center stage, as turkey’s naturally subtle flavors help to accentuate the other foods eaten with it and vice versa. For ham, the type you cook can change what you’ll need to serve with it, with saltier or sweeter hams needing appropriate sides to counterbalance them. As far as prime rib goes, though, it stands on its own quite well, meaning no one will fault you for being a bit more low-key with the sides.
Picking the Sides
As mentioned before, sides are key to making the perfect Christmas dinner, matching the right dishes to go with your main course. Turkey, for example, can use some extra flair on the plate to counteract its own lack of distinctive, hearty flavor. For this, stuffing is almost a requirement, especially savory/sweet combinations with lots of color. Sweet potatoes and other juicy foods are a good choice, too, as they can soak into the turkey meat and help to make ti taste even better.
With ham, it’s more a mixed bag. Sweet hams, such as those of the honey glazed variety, have the sugars covered. In this case, it’s better to offset with more savory side dishes, potatoes being a major player. Saltier hams, then, could benefit from a touch of sweetness with vegetables like carrots, or even sweet potatoes, too. Rice is a good side no matter what kind of ham you have, as it can be adapted to suit whatever your tastes may be.
Prime rib, on the other hand, is robust enough to be eaten entirely by itself, not to mention filling. With this in mind, subtler sides are the way to go. Potatoes, root vegetables, and a touch of sweetness are great compliments. Horseradish, too, is a natural friend to beef, as well.
These are just a few ideas for how you can recreate the perfect traditional Christmas dinner in your current life. If you’re looking to make anything mentioned here, why not check out The Butcher Shop, one of Southern Oregon’s premier providers of high quality, locally-sourced foods. For the most delicious feast to bring you back to your childhood, it’s definitely the place to shop this season.