Yule: Traditional Meat Recipes

by Julia O'Farrell

Yule is a time to eat, drink and be merry! There are countless numbers of recipes for this festive time of year; many having unique and interesting origins. So let's delve into some of these recipes and learn how they came about and the meaning behind them -- meanings that at one point in time held great significance to the people of yesteryear.

Meats of all kind have been used throughout the years as one of the main Yule courses. It was considered a special treat to roast a boars head, decorated with fruit, holly and an apple in the mouth! Today however the boar head has been replaced with a simple yet ever delicious, Yule ham.

Other types of meat traditionally used throughout the years have been goose, capons, pheasants, roast swan and peacocks. The turkey didn't make its arrival until the early 1650's but ever since, along side the ham, it has become one of the most popular and sought after Yule dishes!

One of the traditional meat recipes that has found its way recently into the center of our holiday feasts is the Honey baked ham -- so much so that there are now specialty stores that concentrate on this one style of ham! Honey baked ham comes with countless ways to bake it, some as unique as the family who makes it!

And now, some delicious ham & turkey recipes!

Baked Honey Glazed Ham

1/4 c. honey
1 tbsp. water or orange juice
1/2 tsp. Dijon style mustard
Dash of ground cloves

Mix all ingredients, heat slightly in microwave to enhance its ability to be poured and spread. Brush onto the baking ham during the last 15 minutes or so. You can also drizzle the mixture over baking sliced ham strips.

Yule Baked Ham

1 8 lb. ham
3 quarts sweet cider or mulled wine
2 cups maple sugar(or brown sugar)
2 teaspoons dry mustard
1 teaspoon powdered cloves
1 1/2 cup water
2 cups raisins (optional)

Simmer ham in cider or wine for 2 hours and then drain. Cover with paste made from mustard, sugar, cloves and water. Place in baking dish. Pour cider or wine over ham. If you're using raisins add them to pan bottom. Bake for 2 1/2 to 3 hours at 325, meanwhile basting frequently.

Rosemary Turkey

1/2 Bone-in Turkey breast
1/4 teaspoon salt optional
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon paprika
2 tablespoons margarine divided
1/2 pound fresh mushrooms sliced
2 tablespoons flour
1 cup chicken broth
1/4 cup sherry
1/4 teaspoon dried rosemary, crumbled

Sprinkle turkey breast with salt, pepper and paprika. Over medium heat, melt 1 tablespoon margarine in dutch oven large enough to hold breast. Brown breast on both sides. Remove from pan. Heat remaining margarine in pan and saute mushrooms 1 minute. Sprinkle flour over mushrooms, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and stir in broth, sherry and crumbled rosemary. Return to medium-high heat and cook until thickened.

Return turkey breast to pan, spoon sauce over and cover. Cook on low heat for 35 to 45 minutes or until juices run clear when pierced to the bone with a fork. Remove turkey to platter and slice. To serve, adjust seasonings in sauce to taste, and serve over turkey.

Most meat clerks will cut a fresh or frozen breast in half upon your request.

Traditional Turkey Marinade

2 cloves garlic, diced
1/2 tsp. crushed pepper
1/2 tsp. oregano
1/2 tsp. seasoned salt
1 lemon juice
1 Tbsp. salt
1/2 c. oil

Combine all the ingredients. The night before your going to want to rub the mixture over the entire defrosted turkey. Cover turkey and refrigerate, cooking the next day.

So as you can see, there are many delightful foods during this holiday season that so often shared by all, regardless of how you celebrate the winter season. There is something special and reminiscent when it comes to sitting down at an aroma filled table with family and loved ones, to share in the joy and warmth of food, drinks, sweets and eventually full tummies. The traditions and recipes are endless and the stories that go along with them are often full of rich and fascinating history.

So from my family to yours, may I wish you a very Happy Yule. May your holidays be filled with love and endless memories.

Julia O'Farrell is a licensed massage therapist and she is the mom of four magical little men, a fairy princess and wife to Jeremy.

Copyright © Julia O-Farrell. Publishing right retained by Pregnancy.org, LLC.