Farm Ireland

Monday 11 December 2017

Families turn to three-bird roast for Christmas

Catriona Murphy

Winston Churchill's famous quote "a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma" may have been about Russia during World War II, but it could also be used to describe a new version of the traditional Christmas turkey.

The three-bird roast is a turkey breast stuffed with a duck breast that has itself been stuffed with chicken breast. Sounds complicated, but it is growing in popularity in Ireland.

Dave Lang, of the Associated Craft Butchers of Ireland, says the three-bird roast is one of a number of Christmas alternatives being offered by its members, including rib of beef on the bone, spiced beef, duck and goose.

"Not everyone loves turkey but there is a lot of choice out there for those who don't want to eat turkey for four days in a row. Our butcher members in Co Clare tell us that goose is particularly popular in that county," he said.

However, the traditional turkey remains by far the favourite for most people and around 700,000 turkeys will be eaten in Irish homes next Tuesday. The majority (76pc) of those turkeys have been reared in Ireland, although some 24pc will be imported from Italy.

Irish turkeys are also exported out of the country. Monaghan-based Grove Turkeys is sending €3m worth of turkeys to over 300 Tesco stores in Britain this Christmas.

Over the festive period, the company will supply fresh Irish turkeys and Irish free-range bronze turkeys from its 12 farms nationwide to all major Tesco stores in Britain, as well as in Ireland. Based in Smithborough, Co Monaghan, the company employs 100 permanent staff and recruits an extra 280 extra staff in the run-up to Christmas.

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