Glorious “wreath”

Tidbits for the "wreath"

The first course of  our Christmas Eve dinner was a “wreath” made with minced meat, suggested by  Vicky  as an alternative and fun way to serve the turkey stuffing. I didn’t cook turkey as I had initially considered but the wreath-dish looked too irresistible to bypass so I made it anyway.  I got a photo of the various tidbits that decorated the “wreath”. The photo for the actual wreath is too embarrassing but I included it anyway. I can’t remember to take photos when I have a big party at home. The one you see  is from the kids’ table and some portion is already missing. We all enjoyed the intense taste of the meat combined with red pepper cubes and plenty more. Trying to keep the dish warm by reheating it multiple times until it was time to serve was not a great idea as it turned a bit dry and dark in the process, especially the tidbits. Next time I will serve it at room temperature. Definitely a keeper. Easy to make and impressive to serve. In case you’re wondering why so many tidbits in the photo, I made three “wreaths”!

The recipe

Ingredients for the “wreath”

  • 1 pound minced meat
  • 1 egg
  • 1 slice of bread, watered and crumbled
  • 1 tablespoon bread crumbs
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 onion pulped
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped parsley
  • 2 tablespoons red pepper cubes (small)
  • 1 tablespoon zest of lemon or orange
  • 5-6 sage leaves, lightly sauteed in 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons pistachios, crushed (didn’t use any because of the nut allergy we have at home)
  • 2 tablespoons raisins, softened in brandy or other liquor for about 15 minutes
  • 1 sausage, cut in small pieces
  • salt, pepper

Ingredients for the tidbits

  • sausage cut in pieces
  • cooked chestnuts
  • cooked Brussels sprouts
  • mushroom caps
  • caramelized onions (didn’t use them)
  • cherry tomatoes
  • dry prunes wrapped with bacon (I used dates)

How to make the “wreath”: Combine all the ingredients well so they are evenly distributed and well integrated. You can use your hands to shape the meat into a thick and long cylinder. You can use cling film if you want to squeeze tight so there will be no air pockets and also to shape it.  Close the cylinder to form a circle and transfer to a pan. Cooke at pre-heated oven 375F/190C for about  40 minutes. The center of the circle will become watery. Do not worry about it. When you take the meat out of the oven let it sit in the pan to absorb back in all the liquids that escaped during cooking.  Add the tidbits (see below) and serve.

How to make the tidbits

  • Sausage: remove the skin, cut in pieces, and saute in a pan
  • Prunes: wrap them with bacon and saute them in a pan
  • Mushrooms: saute them in a pan, cap side down first, then turn on the other side
  • Fresh cherry tomates
  • Cooked chestnuts
  • Cooked Brussels sprouts

Use toothpicks to stick the tidbits on the “wreath” and serve.

Turkey stuffing in a "wreath"

I used leftover minced meat to make meatballs for the kids. I cooked them in the oven. The kids showed a clear preference to the meatballs over  the fancier  “wreath” .


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