Belfast Telegraph

Break the rules this Christmas


When the roast turkey and all the trimmings lose their appeal, what’s next on the menu?

In association with Lidl, we trade the main players in for some succulent substitutions...

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Beef Wellington

What: Turkey

Swap: Beef Wellington

The perfect alternative to poultry, beef is always a crowd pleaser and when encased in melt-in-the-mouth pastry the result is a combination of textures that leave you wondering why you’ve never brought this player to the table before now...

Total cooking time: 75mins

Prep: 30mins

Cook: 45

Serves: 6

You’ll need:

  • 1 ounce/25 grams butter
  • 1 onion (peeled and finely chopped)
  • 150 grams chestnut mushrooms (finely chopped)
  • 2 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 3 tablespoon flat leaf parsley (finely chopped)
  • 100 grams smooth liver pate
  • 750 grams beef fillet
  • Salt (to taste)
  • Freshly ground black pepper (to taste)
  • 500 grams ready-made puff pastry
  • 1 egg (beaten, for glazing)


  1. Heat the oven to 400 F/200 C/Gas 6.
  2. Melt the butter in a large frying pan and cook the onion for around 5 minutes until beginning to soften.
  3. Add the mushrooms and cook for a further 5 minutes until soft and creamy.
  4. Stir in the garlic and parsley and season with a little salt and pepper. Set aside to cool.
  5. Beat the pate into the mushroom mixture and set aside
  6. Roll out the puff pastry on a lightly floured surface to a sheet large enough to enclose the beef, reserving the offcuts for decoration.
  7. Spread the pate mixture down the middle of the pastry and lay the beef on top of the mixture.
  8. Brush the edges of the pastry with beaten egg.
  9. Fold the pastry over the meat to enclose it in a neat parcel, sealing the edges well.
  10. Place the meat parcel on to a baking sheet, seam side down, cut decorative leaves from the reserved pastry. Brush the parcel with beaten egg, decorate with the leaves and chill for about 10 minutes.
  11. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes until the pastry is golden and puffed up.
  12. Transfer to a serving board and leave to stand for 10 minutes.
  13. Serve cut into thick slices.
  14. Serve the Wellington with a little gravy on the side, along with fresh vegetables and the admiration of your fellow diners when you serve it.

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Roast Parsnips, Potatoes and Shallots with Pancetta and Bay Leaves

What: Roast potatoes

Swap: Roast Parsnips, Potatoes and Shallots with Pancetta and Bay Leaves

A twist on the humble roastie, this mixed bag brings more than the potato to the Christmas dinner plate.

Total cooking time: 100mins

Prep: 10mins

Cook: 90mins

Serves: 6

You’ll need:

  • 1.5kg Potatoes, medium sized, peeled
  • 900g parsnips, medium sized, peeled
  • 2 tbsp plain flour
  • 1 tbsp fresh thyme, chopped, plus a few sprigs
  • 6-8 tbsp rapeseed oil
  • 12 shallots, peeled
  • 200g pancetta, roughly chopped
  • 6 whole bay leaves
  • Sea salt and black pepper


  1. Preheat oven to 200°C/Gas 6
  2. Cut any large potatoes in half and all of the parsnips in half lengthways, cook the potatoes in boiling salted water for 8 minutes or until par-boiled. Meanwhile cook the parsnips in the same way in another pan for 4 minutes. Drain the potatoes well then return to the pan and cover, shake the pan to roughen the edges of the potatoes.
  3. Drain the parsnips and toss them in the flour, chopped thyme and seasoning.
  4. Pour the rapeseed oil into a large roasting tin and heat in the oven; you need around 1cm of oil in the tin. Add the potatoes and turn them over in the oil using a slotted spoon. Roast uncovered for 15-20 minutes, remove the tin from the oven and turn the potatoes, add the parsnips and shallots and turn them in the oil too. Roast for a further 35-40 minutes then turn all of the vegetables again, add the pancetta.
  5. Increase the heat to 220°C/Gas 7 for a further 15-20 minutes, adding the thyme sprigs and bay leaves for the final 10 minutes. Sprinkle with a little sea salt and black pepper and serve immediately

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Griddled Asparagus with Gremolata

What: Brussel Sprouts

Swap: Griddled Asparagus with Gremolata

Give your Belgian favourite a miss and opt for flavoursome asparagus with an Italian twist that can be whipped up in a snap.

Total cooking time: 12-13mins

Preparation time: 5 minutes

Cooking time: 7-8mins

Serves: 4

You’ll need:

  • 2 bundles asparagus, trimmed
  • Zest of 1 unwaxed lemon
  • Juice ½ lemon
  • 2 tbsp flat leaf parsley very finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic crushed
  • Salt and pepper for seasoning
  • 50g freshly grated breadcrumbs
  • Rapeseed Oil


  1. Coat the asparagus with a little oil and cook on a pre-heated griddle pan for 4-5 minutes turning until cooked through but still retaining some bite.
  2. For the gremolata mix the lemon juice and zest with the flat leaf parsley and crushed garlic and season with salt and pepper.
  3. Heat some oil in a frying pan. Add the breadcrumbs and cook until golden. Place breadcrumbs on some kitchen paper to remove excess oil and season with salt and pepper.
  4. Toss the asparagus through the gremolata and sprinkle over the bread crumbs before serving

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Maple Pigs in Blankets

What: Cocktail sausages

Swap: Maple Pigs in Blankets

A Christmas classic and a party essential, sweeten up the humble sausage using delicate-tasting maple syrup.

Total cooking time:  45mins

Serves: 12

You’ll need:

  • 12 rashers of smoked streaky bacon
  • A few sprigs of fresh woody herbs, such as sage, thyme and rosemary
  • 12 chipolata sausages
  • 1 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup


  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas 4
  2. Working one at a time, lay the bacon out on a board and run a sharp side of your knife along the length of the rasher to stretch it out.
  3. Dot with a few herb leaves, then place a sausage at one end and roll the bacon around it until its totally wrapped up. Place in a roasting tray and repeat till they’re all done.
  4. Cook for 20 mins, or until golden and cooked through.
  5. Scrape the pigs in blankets from the bottom of the tray, leaving them in there, add Worcestershire sauce and maple syrup and give it a good shake to mix.
  6. Heat on the hob and bring to the boil until caramelised. Serve immediately.

Add a little luxury to your Christmas with Lidl's Deluxe range. From tasty light bites to after dinner treats and everything in between!

Visit for more inspiration for your holiday season.



From Belfast Telegraph

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