Lovely Asda sent me a very festive hamper this weekend: not chocolates, or chutney, no, the best kind: MEAT!
Of course, not everyone wants to eat a traditional roast turkey at Christmas, and Asda’s Extra Special range has some stunning alternatives, including an Extra Special rack of venison, and a unique six bird roast, with British turkey, skinless duck fillet, chicken breast, wild pheasant, partridge and pigeon. The thought of these ‘bird within a bird’ roasts sometimes puts me off (how do you cut off the skin and inedible bits of each bird?) but Asda’s chefs have worked hard to create a dish with all the nice edible bits. It’s covered in a lattice of oak smoked streaky bacon and all you need to do is shove it in the oven. It serves 10 and costs £40 – in store now.
We were tempted, though, by the fabulous looking Extra Special 21 day bone-in horseradish beef. It’s a beautiful hand-trimmed cut, properly matured, and is a real attention grabber. Here’s how it looked before going in the oven:
The boys weren’t sure about the horseradish cheese crust (it’s also got loads of herbs, and a hint of brown sugar which all give it a delicious flavour), but we all really enjoyed it, and it was incredibly tender. We cooked it as per the instructions for medium and it was perfect. Again, it’s in store now, serves about 4-6 people (we had TONS leftover) and costs £19.80 per kg.
Asda’s head of meat quality, Jim Viggars, suggests resting the meat for at least 15-20 minutes, loosely wrapped in foil (you can use this time to make the gravy), and carving with a long bladed knife in diagonal strokes across the beef, holding it steady with a large fork. Jim also suggests only carving as much as you need, then wrapping the remaining chunk of meat whole in the fridge to keep it moist, which is a great tip.
Our verdict? Fantastic. Would it tempt us away from turkey? Well, there’s always next year!