When thinking about eco-friendly Christmas dinner recipes, you'd be forgiven if you think they'd all be vegetarian. However there are lots of environmentally minded people out there who aren't vegetarian or vegan, but who want to enjoy a delicious Christmas meal with the knowledge that the meat has been ethically and sustainably sourced.
Buying locally or free range is a great way to ensure that the meat on your plate has been reared with animal welfare in mind and that is environmentally sound. A great alternative to your traditional Christmas turkey is a free range cockerel roast, and here's a recipe courtesy of Packington Free Range to get your started.
Pistachio, sage & cream cheese free range cockerel Christmas roast recipe
Preparation time: 25 minutes plus resting
Cooking time: 2hours 30 mins or as calculated
1 x 150g packet garlic and herb Boursin cheese
1 clove garlic, crushed
25g unsalted and shelled pistachio nuts, chopped
grated rind and juice of 1/2 lemon
1 tbsp fresh chopped sage
1 x 4kg Packington Free Range Cockerel
8 rashers smoked streaky bacon
4 tbsp sherry
400 ml good chicken stock or vegetable juices
Preheat the oven to 180 C/Gas Mark 4. Mix together the cheese, garlic, pistachios, lemon rind and juice, sage and seasoning until well combined.
Place the cockerel on a board and carefully ease your fingers then your hand under the skin of the cockerel at the neck end freeing it from the breast meat. Smear the cheese mixture over the breast meat under the skin. Then tuck the flap of skin underneath.
Arrange the bacon over the breast and drizzle over oil and season. Place in a large roasting tin and cover with foil. Calculate cooking time allowing 16 minutes per 450g/1lb plus 16 minutes or until juices run clear from the thigh when pierced with a knife or skewer. Remove the foil for the last 45 minutes to allow the cockerel to brown.
Remove the cockerel from the oven and transfer to a warm serving plate. Cover with foil and allow to rest for 20-30 minutes. Meanwhile skim most of the fat from the roasting pan and discard. Scrape the meat juices in the pan together. Place over a low heat and blend in sherry and stock. Bring to the boil, stirring and season to taste. Serve the gravy with the cockerel.
Packington is a farm with a traditional family heritage which spans four generations that also has an award-winning animal welfare ethos supported and accredited by the RSPCA.
Packington Free Range is sold through butchers, farm shops and restaurants across the UK, including The Ginger Pig at Borough Market and Chatsworth Estate Farm Shop in Derbyshire.