Christmas recipes: Festive main courses

Whether you want to keep things traditional with turkey or goose, or fancy veggie-friendly fare, why not make room for a little extra magic at the Christmas table? Discover our delicious recipes for a fantastic Christmas dinner.


Traditions are a huge part of the festive season, but there’s nothing wrong with mixing things up a bit. Whether you want to try something completely different for Christmas dinner, or just want to add a little pizazz to your favourite roast, look no further than these fantastic recipes.


Click through each one for the full recipe and whip up some of our fantastic festive side dishes to go with them too. Some recipes courtesy of our friends at BBC Good Food magazine.

Beef fillet is a luxurious cut that’s perfect for special occasions. Image/BBC Good Food

Beef fillet with horseradish and prosciutto
Wrapping this alternative Christmas roast or Sunday dinner in ham adds flavour and protects the meat, resulting in a really tender cut of beef.

Treacle makes a fantastic glaze for ham, but you could also try honey and mustard for a spicy kick. Image/BBC Good Food

Sticky treacle-glazed ham 
A fantastic alternative to turkey. Eat as the main meal, then use it for Boxing Day brunch or cook one as a back up for unexpected guests. The stock makes delicious gravy.

Baked apples make a wonderful accompaniment to roast goose. Image/Getty

Roast goose with potato stuffing
As a Christmas turkey alternative, roast goose – free-range and oozing with flavour – is hard to resist.

Duck might be a smaller bird, but its rich flavour packs a big punch. Image/BBC Countryfile magazine

Duck with apples, beetroot, sausages and bread sauce
This exciting combination from Valentine Warner will make a memorable feast. Set aside an afternoon to make it.

With a bacon butter baste you might need to go up a notch on your belt buckle after this special roast turkey. Image/Sam Stowell/ BBC Good Food

Crispy bacon-basted turkey
Make Christmas dinner even more special with our top tips for the juiciest meat ever, infused with smoky goodness from an indulgent bacon butter baste.

Gulasch, Holztisch, Studio
For a casual Christmas supper with no fuss, braised venison is an easy but delicious option. Image/Getty

Succulent braised venison
Venison benefits from long, slow cooking, and this Scottish dish develops a beautifully earthy sweetness – try it as an alternative to turkey, or for Hogmanay.

cured gammon
A mouthwatering dish fit for any festive table ©Jason Ingram

Cider-cured gammon

There are few better partnerships than pork and apple. This dish employs the technique of brining, which might seem daunting to the uninitiated but is really simple and effective. In essence, a brine is a way of adding flavour and moistness into a joint of meat. The quantities here are for a small gammon leg joint, bone in or boned-out.

Look beyond the nut roast for a spectacular centrepiece Image/Philip Webb/BBC Good Food 

Layered squash, barley and spinach pie
A spectacular veggie Christmas centrepiece – when sliced, it looks stunning, and the flavours go brilliantly with all your favourite trimmings.

Another squash recipe, but this time paired with piquant blue cheese. Image/BBC Good Food

Squash and blue cheese Wellington
Having one of these vegetarian pastry rolls in the freezer is ideal for entertaining at the last minute, or as a vegetarian Christmas main.

Click here for our recipes for perfect roast potatoes and stuffing.


Some images and recipes courtesy of BBC Good Food.