Magical mains ideas for Christmas Day - that don't involve turkey!

Who says you need to cook Turkey on Christmas Day? Here some Cork chefs and restaurant owners share their recipes for Venion, Lamb and Beef
Magical mains ideas for Christmas Day - that don't involve turkey!
Venison from Jacques restaurant.

Venison from Jacques restaurant.
Venison from Jacques restaurant.

VENISON by Jacques

JACQUES restaurant, at 23 Oliver Plunkett Street, is the longest established restaurant in Cork.

Ingredients (Serves 4)

4 medallions cut from haunch, 180 grms each

Maldon salt

Black Petter

3 parsnips


To make the parsnip puree, roast two parsnips in olive oil with winter herbs for 30 minutes.

Blitz in food processor with 3oz butter, grated 1/4 nutmeg, pinch of salt and papper.

Sauce Ingredients

1 pint of good venison stock

2 tbs red wine

2 tbs red wine vinegar

12 large black berries


  • Reduce by boiling stock by half.
  • Add wine and vinegar.
  • Reduce again to sauce consistency.
  • Add blackberries just at the end

Parsnip chips


I parsnip


  • Peel into long strips and deep fry.
  • Dust with salt

To cook the Venison

Season Venison with salt and pepper and put onto hot pan with olive oil.

Baste with butter, cook for one minute each side.

Remove and rest for three minutes.

How to plate up

Put the hot parsnip puree on the plate, slice meat, place on puree and add juice from the meat to the sauce, glaze and spoon a little over and around. Pile parsnip chips on top.

Lamb Rack by Aoife Sugrue
Lamb Rack by Aoife Sugrue

LAMB Rack by Aoife Sugrue

LAMB Rack served with goat’s cheese Mash, sautéed chestnut mushrooms, tender stem broccoli and pea and mint puree.

Ingredients (serves 4)

2 Lamb Rack (ask your butcher to French trim the lamb rack)

5 Rooster Potatoes (pealed)

100g of Cream

150g Butter

50g Goats cheese

100g Frozen peas

10g Fresh mint

100g of Chestnut mushrooms

150g of tender stem broccoli

1 sweet potato

Salt and pepper


  • For the lamb Rack (this can be done a day in advance)
  • Begin by cutting the lamb rack into four even potions, remove excess fat being carful not to cut into the meat.
  • Score the lamb, this will help when rendering down the fat during cooking. Set aside until you are ready to cook.
  • For the goat’s cheese mash (for best results make on the day)
  • Place potatoes in a steamer, allow to cook until soft. Reduce cream and butter in a pot.
  • Once potatoes are cooked through, place in a bowl and mash with a potato masher.
  • Add the cream, butter and goats’ cheese, whisk through until smooth. Season to taste.
  • For the tender stem broccoli (this can be done a day in advance)
  • Trim the ends of the broccoli.
  • Bring a pot of seasoned water to boil.
  • Blanch broccoli for two to three minutes, until al dente.
  • Place in a bath of ice water to prevent overcooking and cool down.
  • For the Pea and Mint Puree (this can be done a day in advance)
  • Place frozen peas into a pot of boiling water (just enough water to cover the peas), add butter and cook for two to three minutes. Be careful not to overcook as the peas will lose their colour. Season and add mint.
  • Blend the peas and pass through a fine sieve until a smooth texture is achieved.
  • For the sautéed chestnut mushrooms (for best results make just before serving)
  • Preheat a pan, add a little oil, once pan is hot add mushrooms. Season and finish with a little bit of butter.
  • For the sweet potato crisps (optional as a garnish, for best results make on the day)
  • Peal the sweet potato, once the outside skin is removed continue pealing to create ribbons of sweet potato.
  • Blanch in a pot of boiling water for 1 to 2 minutes, chill in ice water.
  • Strain water off, dry sweet potato as much as possible.
  • Deep fry at 140˚c until the sweet potato begin crisping.
  • Place on a tea towel to allow any excess fat to dry off.

To finish:

  • Preheat a frying pan, season the lamb.
  • Add oil to pan and seal the lamb, starting with the fat side down, the whole way around.
  • Place in a preheated oven at 180˚c. Cook in the oven for about five minutes, remove and allow to rest.
  • While the lamb is in the oven, heat up puree in a pan.
  • Heat up goats cheese mash in a pan, stirring constantly ensuring not to burn.
  • Sauté mushrooms.
  • Blanch broccoli in boiling water.
  • Once lamb has rested for about 5 minutes, begin to plate.
  • Garnish with sweet potato crisps.

ABOUT AOIFE: Aoife is a Senior Chef De Partier, at Hayfield Manor, Cork City. She has a demonstrated history of working in the hospitality industry. Skilled in Catering, Food & Beverage, Menu Development, Hospitality Industry, and Fine Dining. Strong operations professional.

Rib Roast.
Rib Roast.


KATHERINE O’Mahony opened a butcher’s stall in Cork’s English Market in 1974 and her son Eoin and daughter Eimear are now at the helm.

Eimear said: “Roast beef is a wonderful centrepiece for any table, particularly at Christmas time.

“Dry aged beef has a more pronounced beefy flavour and is very tender and succulent.

“The dry ageing process — where whole ribs are hung in a controlled environment for up to six weeks — allows the beef to mature and develop delicious flavour compounds, without drying out the beef itself.”


300g of rib on the bone per person



  • Take the beef out of the fridge at least an hour before roasting to bring it to room temperature.
  • Pre heat your oven to 190 degrees. Season the beef with salt and freshly ground black pepper and place the beef on top of a couple of large onions in a roasting tin.
  • The fat from the beef will make amazing roast potatoes, make sure to par boil them for 10 minutes before roasting.
  • Peel some carrots and parsnips. drizzle with oil and festoon with a couple of whole cloves of garlic and plenty of thyme and black pepper. Cover with foil and roast for about 45 minutes.
  • Once your beef is done (time it well or use a meat thermometer to test doneness), cover it and place it on a large board to catch the juices.
  • Allow to rest for at least 30 minutes.
  • To make your gravy, add a little flour to the roasting pan with the onions and allow it to bubble on a high heat for two minutes. add in the meat juices and 500mls beef or chicken stock to make a rich gravy. Strain the gravy if you wish and serve with the beef and veg.

Sprouts with crème fraiche and nutmeg


Half a packet of sprouts per person/ approx. 250 g

Tablespoon of olive oil

Tub of crème fraiche

Fresh ginger


Freshly ground nutmeg

Black pepper


  • Trim and tail the brussel sprouts. Shred in a food processer.
  • Stir fry the sprouts until beginning to brown.
  • Grate a thumbnail size of fresh ginger and garlic, add to the sprouts and fry for another minute.
  • Reduce to a low heat, coat the sprouts with a couple of spoons of crème fraiche and season with freshly ground nutmeg and black pepper.

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