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Your favourite Christmas dish and wine pairing



I know it’s another 7 weeks to go, but “fail to plan, plan to fail”.
We are having Christmas at home due to the way it falls on a Tuesday making it impossible for us to go elsewhere (unless we find out how Santa does it, meantime).
We’ll have the older kids back and one agèd P to entertain, which got me thinking about doing something a bit more quality rather than just the quantity.
As well as the usual Christmas Day dinner, I’ve been looking at doing home smoked salmon, the Roux brothers Duck with claret poached pears, and good old Delia’s Mincemeat Christmas cake.
Whilst flicking through the old recipe books, I found Seafood soup with pearl barley and Saffron which I think will be my signature dish this year and I’ll serve it with a Clos des Cazeaux

Like @Herbster In another thread, I won’t worry about opening a magnum, as long as I get more than my fair share.
What will be your signature dish and wine pairing?


Pheasant and pistachio terrine as one of two starters with an Alsace Pinot Gris of some kind…

I have self caught salmon too this year - cold smoked by a local smokehouse for me. Are you hot smoking or cold smoking it yourself @DrEm?

Probably a dryish Gewurz with the smoked salmon.


I’ve got an old wardrobe with the old hangers in and a cold smoker with maple and whisky barrel oak wood dust. The last maple smoke took about 12 hours to go through which was ideal. I have my own cure mix for the salmon, 50:50 salt and Demerara sugar with mixed spices, herbs and juniper and leave them curing in the fridge for 3 days which gets the fish nicely dry. I’ve sometimes reduced a whisky to then paint on the fish for an even more smokey Scottish finish.
I have a 2010 Schlumberger Riesling set aside for mine but Gewürztraminer sounds good too.


Sounds excellent! Presumably this wardrobe is no longer in your bedroom?

Cure mix sounds quite like my gravadlax one. 3 days sounds about right for a fish of maybe 6-8lb. I thought that it might need a bit more than 12 hours smoking, but depends how intense it is - where does the heat source sit in relation to the fish? Main challenge is to stop it getting too warm I imagine.

Wine choice sounds good too.


Once the wood dust catches it just smokes so the heat source is a tea light. The cold smoker is like a metal maze which is filled with the dust.
I like my salmon quite dry so the 3 days is for a 2-3lb fish, though not fully covered, just thickly coated in mix.



I too like it quite dry, as it’s naturally oily so once you slice it the dryness is generally less pronounced. Is that a side of fish at 2-3lb? Just curious, as it’s unusual to get whole fish, wild or farmed at that size.


Yup, a side - I’ll often get two together and freeze one


3 day cure? I imagine it works for you - however I have cut it down to no more than 24h (more likely 18) - I ruined a large sea-trout with a long cure this year. Apparently the trick is to hold the side of salmon up like a balance with your hand in the middle and if it stays rigid without sagging you are good-to-go.

Incidentally - home cured bacon is even better - give it a good week cure though and add 3% (a teaspoon) of prague cure mixture to a side of pork - usual health warnings apply.

To drink? TWS brut Champagne.


Tha’ts 7 days as in one week for the bacon.


Ah, that makes sense. Two 2-3lb sides are about the same as a 6-8lb fish after allowing for gutting and head off. I reckon 8lb is a good size for cold smoking. I had a 20lb fish a few years back and it took a few days longer curing and smoking! One side of that fed us all for Xmas and New Year…


Xmas chez lapin, is a two day affair: Xmas eve we do the French Xmas thing… Seafood and a long strung out supper into the small hours (dr Em’s suggestion of smoked salmon and white vaqueras seems like a plan). Xmas day we revert to Britishness, so its the best chicken I can buy, in the oven, and nip out to the pub while it cooks! or maybe beef wellington.

Goose…Turkey… Duck… no, too complicated and stressful.

Wine… probably the best Burgundy I have left in the garage. And of course TW brut champagne. And there is that bottle of 1985 TWS vintage port that needs drinking.


Christmas Eve: chorizo stew and Gigondas! Can’t beat it.