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Fancy something different to turkey this Christmas? Exec Chef of Feversham Arms shares some alternative recipes

Adam Jackson, Exec Chef of Feversham Arms Hotel & Verbena Spa shares his ideas for Christmas Dinner with a Yorkshire twist

We are officially the countdown to Christmas. This has been a very challenging year for us all, so it is more important than ever that we have a date in the diary and a circle on the calendar, that we can look forward to.

We love Christmas at the Feversham Arms Hotel and Verbena Spa and we are determined to make Christmas 2020 a memorable one for all of the right reasons. Our executive chef, Adam Jackson, has pulled together some of his favourite festive treats for you to try out, for your own small, but perfectly formed celebration, with some alternative flavours for you to enjoy.

So, as the weather outside is frightful, and the fire is so delightful, and since we’ve no place to go, we thought it would be great to share some of Adam’s delicious seasonal recipe ideas that highlight the very best of our local Yorkshire flavours for you to try at home.

Christmas Dinner might be a smaller fare this year, so instead of a giant turkey to take you through to new year, Adam has plumped for Guinea Fowl as a tasty alternative.

Guinea fowl is a delicious alternative to chicken or turkey. With its gamey flavour, rich fatty skin and dark flesh, I like to eat it as a roast bird for a festive meal. There’s enough for a large meal for two or serve with leftovers and trimmings to make a main meal for four. A tasty and seasonal Yorkshire guinea fowl is preferable, but the French bird is just as nice.

Guinea Fowl with ballotine

1 large guinea fowl
500g sausage meat
1 egg beaten
1 onion
2 carrots
3 sticks celery
Bunch thyme
Zest half lemon grated
2 shallots finely chopped and sweated
1 glass red wine
1.5 pints chicken stock
Malden sea salt
Pinch cayenne pepper
100g smoked streaky bacon cut in to thin lardons
100g chopped roast chestnuts (optional)

Preheat oven to 200 degrees c
1. Remove the legs and sinew from your bird (you can ask your butcher to do this for you if you prefer).
2. Remove the bottom of the carcasses and the wings so your left with the crown (again your butcher can do this for you if preferred). Retain the bones for a delicious stock.
3. Take the 500g of sausage meat, 100g of smoked, streaky bacon cut into lardons, softened shallot and thyme, one beaten egg, grated lemon zest, cayenne pepper, salt and cooked, chopped chestnuts. Knead the mixture together. Cook a small amount of this mixture in a frying pan and taste to check seasoning, correcting if necessary.

4. Roast the bones in the oven with some half carrots, chunky-cut onions and celery sticks until golden brown. 

5. Season the top and bottom of the crown Malden Sea Salt and leave for 20 minutes. Rinse, pat dry and set aside, ready for cooking.

6. Lay the legs out flat skin side down, spoon some sausage meat mix along the length, not too much, then roll over so the skin and flesh enclose the sausage meat, and roll into a sausage shape (ballotine). Roll tightly into a thick layer of cling film and tightly tie off the ends. Poach in gently simmering water for 35 minutes, then place to one side. Place the rest of the sausage meat into a small oven proof dish brush with a little butter and bake in oven. 

7. While the legs are poaching, seal off the crown so the skin is golden brown. Place the crown, skin side up, on top of the vegetables and roasted bones, then add a pint of chicken stock. (You can use water with a sprinkle of Malden salt and some thyme leaves as an alternative to chicken stock). Place in a pre-heated oven for 25-30 minutes. Then remove from the oven whilst still slightly underdone and leave to rest for 15 to 20 minutes.

8. Remove the cling film from the legs and pat dry. Season and colour up in a non-stick frying pan and keep warm. Remove breasts from the crown, keeping the skin intact, place on a plate with the legs then cover over with foil.

9. Sieve the cooking liquor into a shallow pan, add a glass of red wine and reduce until it creates a consistent sauce, add a little more stock if required. Remove from heat and whisk in 50 grams of unsalted butter, then place the flesh side of the guinea fowl breasts in the sauce to finish cooking.

10. Serve with sauté sprouts (see below), sausage meat, the potato dish of choice, or potato terrine (see below) – another level of roast potato – bread sauce and the deliciously, gamey-rich meat sauce


Potato Terrine

These take some time to cook (over 24 hours, but they are worth the time and effort as they taste like the world’s best roast potato’s but with a bit of refinement. Use the trim for the next day, fry up and serve with eggs and smoked bacon for a deliciously decadent breakfast!

3 kilos Rooster potatoes peeled
500g dripping
2 cloves of garlic
A sprig of thyme

1. You will need two of identically-sized rectangle oven proof dishes, as they will be stacked on top of one another. Line one of these with silicone paper and then butter the dish first.
2. Warm up the dripping and infuse with the garlic and thyme then put into another pan.
3. Slice the potatoes at about one or two inches thick (a mandoline is good for this and for consistency, just remember to watch those fingers!), just a few at a time so that they don’t discolour.
4. Neatly layer the potatoes, a row at a time and slightly overlapping them as you go, seasoning and spooning the dripping to each of the layers until they reach the top of the dish. When complete, add a sheet of silicone paper, cut to the same size as the oven proof dish, then place one on top of the other to act as a weight.

Sit both on another tray to catch any overflowing fat. Then cook in an oven for 1.5 to 2 hours at 160 degrees c, or until they are soft enough to push through a skewer. Take out of the oven and chill in the fridge, still weighted and with the silicone paper on.

5. Remove from the fridge the next day and take out of the oven proof dish. You may need to dip in some hot water or flash through the over to soften up for a couple of minutes. Don’t get them hot!

6. Trim the edges. (Keep the trim for an extra special breakfast treat the next day!) Cut into neat rectangles 10 cm long x 3 cm wide.

7. Ten minutes before serving, place in a non-stick frying pan on a high heat and brush with a little oil. Fry off the potato terrine rectangles on all sides until golden brown, then they are ready to serve.

Sauté sprouts 

This is the most delicious, seasonal side dish and a tasty twist on the humble sprout.

100g smoked bacon lardons
500g Brussels sprouts
Half lemon
Dessert spoon chopped parsley
2 chopped shallots
25g unsalted butter
150 ml chicken stock


1. Half the sprouts top to bottom and remove the root
2. Slice very thinly
3. Fry Off bacon lardons until crisp drain off and reserve
4. Heat a little oil in a sauté pan, add the sprouts and season with a little salt and pepper. Cook until a tiny amount of colour appears then add the butter, the shallots and cook until the shallots have softened, then turn up the heat. Add the chicken stock and bacon and rapidly cook until sprouts are glazed in the stock and butter, then add a big squeeze of lemon and the parsley. Sprouts should still have a bite then serve immediately.

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