Gordon has been cooking and experimenting with food since childhood. He loves coming up with new and tasty culinary creations.
If you happen to be spending Christmas alone this year, you will likely be seeking some dinner ideas for one. Remember, spending Christmas alone does not mean that you have to forego a festive meal, merely that it may have to take a slightly different form.
7 Christmas Dinners for One Person
The dishes in this article are all excellent Christmas dinners for one—mixtures of the conventional and the practical that are sure to spice up solo holiday dinners.
- Braised Venison Haunch in Red Wine and Chocolate Sauce
- Turkey Breast Steak With Fried Egg, Sage and Garlic Roast Potatoes and Brussels Sprouts
- Turkey Fried Rice
- Grilled Leg of Lamb Steak on Sweet Potato and Parsnip Mash
- Sweet Potato and Apple Soup for One
- Stewing Steak Braised in Red Wine With Roast Potato and Onion Swirl
- Pan-Fried Fillet of Scottish Salmon With Dill-Buttered New Potatoes and Broccoli
Continue scrolling to learn how to make and plate the delicious meals above.
1. Braised Venison Haunch in Red Wine and Chocolate Sauce
Venison is a meat which may turn some people off at Christmas, given its association with Rudolph, et al. I promise, however, that this delicious recipe includes not one ounce of reindeer meat and is therefore entirely Christmas safe.
There are two principal ways in which I prepare this recipe, both very similar. In the bulk of the recipe below, I will describe it as it is pictured above. I will then give details of the slight variation on the theme at the end. No matter what you choose, this slow-cooked venison in a delicious, seasonal sauce is a winner.
- 1/2 pound diced venison haunch
- 3/4 pint fresh beef stock
- 3/4 pint cheap red wine
- 1 medium onion (quartered)
- 1 medium carrot (roughly chopped)
- 1 ounce chocolate
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 ounces basmati rice
- 1 garlic clove (crushed)
- 1 teaspoon freshly chopped parsley plus small sprig for garnish
Note: I always use good-quality, plain chocolate with a high cocoa content, but milk chocolate may be substituted if desired.
- Put the olive oil into a large pot and bring up to a medium heat.
- Add the venison, carrot and onion and cook for a couple of minutes, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until the venison is browned.
- Add the beef stock and the red wine and bring up to the boil.
- Reduce the heat and simmer for two and a half hours, or until the venison is tender, stirring occasionally and adding more stock if required.
- When the venison is almost ready, wash the rice in a fine sieve and add it to a pan of salted, boiling water, to simmer for around 12 minutes.
- Drain rice well and stir in the chopped parsley and the garlic.
- Line a small ramekin with clingfilm and pack the rice tightly inside before turning the ramekin upside down onto the centre of the plate. Hold the edges of the clingfilm down firmly and gently lift off the ramekin before peeling away and discarding the clingfilm.
- Garnish with the small sprig of parsley.
- Add the chocolate to the venison and cook for another couple of minutes only until it is fully melted, stirring frequently.
- Carefully spoon the venison and sauce around the plated rice.
When the venison is cooked, remove around half a cup of the stock only and add to a small saucepan. Place on a low heat and add the chocolate, stirring until melted. Arrange the venison and veg only around the rice by using a slotted spoon before drizzling over the much more highly concentrated chocolate sauce.
2.Turkey Breast Steak With Fried Egg, Sage and Garlic Roast Potatoes and Brussels Sprouts
The traditional Christmas turkey is, of course, likely to be far too much for one person. Fortunately, turkey is available to buy in a wide variety of cuts; this recipe details how to cook a turkey breast steak, accompanied by roasted potatoes, Brussels sprouts, and a fried egg for good measure!
- 1 turkey breast steak
- 2 medium potatoes
- 6 Brussels sprouts
- 1 large egg
- 1 garlic clove
- Pinch of dried sage
- Corn or sunflower oil
- Little bit of butter
- Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg (optional)
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- Peel and chop your potatoes into bite-sized pieces and put them on to parboil in some lightly salted water.
- As soon as the potatoes are simmering away, add a thin layer of corn or sunflower oil to a deep baking tray and place it into the oven.
- Put the oven on to preheat to 400˚F/200˚C/Gas Mark 6.
- After around 15 minutes, drain the potatoes well and return them to the empty pot.
- Gently but firmly, shake the pot to "fluff up" the outside of the potatoes before adding them to the baking tray and swirling them in the hot oil. Return the baking tray to the oven.
- Prepare the sprouts by cutting off the remnants of the stalk—not too close to the sprout—and removing any loose or damaged leaves. Do not put a "+" in the base of the sprouts. This essentially serves only to cause the leaves to fall off during cooking.
- Place the sprouts into a pot, add enough boiling water to cover them, and sprinkle with salt.
- Simmer for 12–15 minutes, depending upon the size of the Brussels sprouts. Remember, sprouts should not be cooked until soggy, but should remain firm and even crunchy to be eaten at their best. Over-cooking Brussels sprouts is the principal reason why children—big and small!—don't like them!
- Add a little oil to a non-stick frying pan and bring it up to a medium heat. Add the turkey steak and cook for 4–5 minutes on each side, until done.
- Around 3 minutes before the turkey is due to be ready, add the egg to the pan to begin frying.
- Peel the garlic clove and grate it into a large bowl. Add the pinch of sage.
- When the other ingredients are almost ready, remove the potatoes from the oven, add them to the bowl and gently swirl them around.
- Return the potatoes to the baking tray and the oven for a couple of minutes only.
- Drain the sprouts and return them to the empty pot.
- Add a little bit of butter and—if required—a pinch of freshly grated nutmeg. This gives them a little extra bit of flavour. Swirl them slowly around to ensure even coating.
- Plate up your meal as shown, and enjoy it!
3. Turkey Fried Rice Recipe
Stir-fries are not often thought of as typical Christmas recipes, but they are an excellent way of preparing a meal for one at any time of the year—including the holidays.
This turkey fried rice recipe is not only incredibly easy to make, but also fairly quick to prepare and to cook, which is ideal if you have to work on Christmas Day (perhaps this is the reason that you are eating Christmas dinner alone in the first place).
- 4 ounces diced turkey breast or thigh
- 3 ounces basmati or long grained rice
- 1/2 small onion (very finely chopped)
- 1 tablespoon roughly chopped coriander/cilantro
- Approximately 2 teaspoons dark soy sauce
- Corn oil for frying
- Place the rice into a fine sieve and run it under cold water to remove the excess starch. Then boil it in lightly salted water for 10–12 minutes or depending upon the instructions on the pack.
- Drain it well through the sieve and allow to cool. This is very important, because if the rice is fried while warm, it will stick together and produce a most unappetising result.
- When the rice is cold, bring your wok up to a high heat, then add around a tablespoon of corn oil. I have tried various types of oil for frying rice and have found corn oil to produce the best effect.
- Add the diced turkey to the hot oil and stir-fry for a minute or two until almost cooked, before adding the onion.
- It will not take long for the onion to glisten and begin to cook, at which point the rice should be added. Remember always to keep the heat turned up very high when stir frying or you risk your food sticking to the wok.
- After another couple of minutes, add the soy sauce, stirring only until it is well mixed through the rice.
- Remove the wok from the heat, stir in the coriander/cilantro and serve immediately.
4. Grilled Leg of Lamb on Sweet Potato and Parsnip Mash
Lamb is, of course, a delicious meat that can be served at any time of year, but there's something special about eating it around the holidays.
This recipe—featuring sweet potatoes, a classic accompaniment to lamb—provides not only a delicious alternative to turkey for Christmas but is prepared and cooked from start to finish in less than half an hour.
- 1 leg of lamb steak (or two small ones!)
- 1 large sweet potato
- 1 large parsnip
- 1 clove of garlic (crushed)
- 2 tablespoons frozen garden peas
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Peel sweet potato and parsnip and chop into approximately 1" cubes. They should then be added to a large pot of salted, boiling water and allowed to simmer for around 20 minutes until soft.
- When the sweet potato and parsnip have been simmering for about 5 minutes, the leg of lamb steak should be placed under a medium to hot grill and cooked for around 6 or 7 minutes on each side until done.
- When the lamb is cooked, set it aside to rest while the finishing touches are put to its accompaniments.
- The peas should be added to a pot of boiling water and simmered for 2 to 3 minutes (check the packet for instructions) while the sweet potato and parsnip mix is drained and mashed thoroughly.
- Add black pepper to taste and then stir crushed garlic through the mixture.
- The mash should then be arranged on the plate in a circle as shown in the photograph, the lamb placed carefully on top and the peas drained and arranged around the edges.
5. Sweet Potato and Apple Soup for One
Why is it that almost every soup recipe known to man is for four, six, eight, or more people? Do recipe writers not think single people like soup? Or maybe they don't think single people are prepared to go to what is very often the bother of making soup for one?
The good news with this soup recipe is that it is provided in the quantities required for one person (albeit a hungry one), and it can be made from start to finish in less than half an hour, including preparation time.
This makes for a delicious appetizer, or even an early lunch before you start to prepare your Christmas dinner!
- 1 large sweet potato (peeled and chopped)
- 1 Granny Smith apple (cored, peeled and chopped)
- 1 clove of garlic (crushed or grated)
- 1 pint of fresh vegetable stock (prepared in advance)
- 1 teaspoon freshly chopped coriander leaf/cilantro
- Put the sweet potato, apple and garlic in to a medium-sized soup pot and add the vegetable stock.
- Bring to a boil and then reduce the heat to allow the mixture to simmer gently for 20–25 minutes, until the sweet potato is soft.
- Remove the pot from the heat and sit it on a wooden chopping board.
- Simply mash the soup with a potato masher before stirring in the chopped coriander/cilantro.
- Season if required and serve immediately.
6. Stewing Steak Braised in Red Wine With Roast Potato and Onion Swirl
This is a recipe which, although fairly simple to prepare, does take a lengthy cooking time of up to three hours, due to the long, slow cooking time required for the steak in order that it be tender. It may well be, though, that you can start it off, settle down in front of the TV and allow it to cook away as you otherwise amuse and enjoy yourself.
- 1/2 pound stewing steak (chopped)
- 3/4 pint fresh beef stock
- 3/4 pint cheap red wine
- 1 red bell pepper (de-seeded)
- 1 clove of garlic (finely chopped)
- 3 slices of potato (1/4" thick)
- 3 slices of onion (1/4" thick)
- 1 tablespoon roughly chopped, fresh parsley (plus small sprig for garnish)
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Sunflower oil
- Brown the steak in a large pot over a medium heat.
- Add the garlic and stir for another 30 seconds or so in the juices which should have been released by the steak.
- Add the red wine and the stock and bring to a boil.
- Reduce the heat to keep the mixture at a gentle simmer and cook for 2 hours, stirring occasionally.
- After this time, add half the red pepper (sliced) and more hot water if required. Simmer for another 20 minutes.
- When the stew has been simmering for around 2 hours and 20 minutes, pour a thin layer of sunflower oil onto a baking sheet and place the baking sheet into the oven.
- Turn the oven on to preheat to 400˚F/200˚C/Gas Mark 6.
- When the oven is heated, put the potato slices and the remaining half of the red bell pepper (sliced lengthways into four) on to the baking sheet.
- Cook for 10 minutes. Turn the potato slices and the peppers and add the onions.
- After another 5 minutes, turn the onions and cook for 5 more minutes.
- Stir the chopped parsley into the stew and season only at this stage with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
- Remove the baking sheet from the oven and arrange the potato and onion slices alternately in a swirl in the centre of the plate, adding the red peppers at right angles as shown.
- Spoon the stew carefully around the swirl and garnish with the sprig of parsley.
7. Pan-Fried Fillet of Scottish Salmon With Dill-Buttered New Potatoes and Broccoli
It is probably not particularly often that fish is considered the main part of any Christmas dinner. But apart from being an extremely delicious fish to eat, salmon is also an extremely healthy option at a time of year when many alternatives are anything but.
This salmon recipe is one that I prepare frequently all year round, and I simply had to include it on this page.
- 1 fillet of Scottish salmon (skin on)
- 7 or 8 small new potatoes (skins on)
- 1 small head of broccoli
- Pinch of dried dill
- Sunflower oil
- Plain or all-purpose flour for dusting
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- The potatoes will take by far the longest time to cook and should, therefore, be cooked first. Add them whole to a large pot of boiling, salted water, to simmer for 25–30 minutes.
- Break broccoli into florets and cook them the same way in a separate pot for no more than 8–10 minutes.
- When the broccoli is on to cook, a little flour should be spread out on a plate and seasoned with salt and pepper. A little oil should then be added to a non-stick frying pan and brought up to a moderate heat before a little butter is added to melt.
- The salmon fillet may then be dusted in the flour (skin side only) and the excess flour shaken off before it is placed skin side down into the pan.
- The salmon should be cooked on a moderate heat until it appears from the side to have cooked halfway through.
- The heat should then be turned off and the fillet turned only at this stage on to its flesh side to complete cooking in the residual heat while the potatoes and broccoli are drained.
- A little butter and the dill should be added to the potatoes at this stage.
- The meal should then be plated up (the crisped skin should peel easily away from the salmon fillet with the aid of a knife).
Please note that salmon should always retain that little bit of pinkness and moisture in the centre to be enjoyed at its very best.
A Brief Word About Spending Christmas Alone
There are a great many reasons why someone could be spending Christmas alone. Perhaps their special someone is absent for some reason beyond their control. Maybe they are working or living away from home, or perhaps they have no family in their immediate vicinity or friends good enough to invite them over to share in their own family's celebrations.
Whatever the reason may be for spending Christmas alone, it is important not to become despondent and wallow in a mire of self-pity or alcohol-fuelled misery. Remember what Christmas is all about and celebrate the birth of Christ and the holiday's seasonal values to the very best of your ability.
Tip: Get the Christmas Tree Assembled and Decorated
It is a fact that very often our mood is determined by our immediate surroundings, especially when we find ourselves alone. If you are spending Christmas alone this year, do not use it as an excuse not to assemble a Christmas tree and decorate your home for the occasion.
A Christmas tree and decorations, together with the right type of holiday music, will go a long way to lightening and brightening your mood as you prepare your Christmas dinner and help you to enjoy the occasion as much as it is possible to do so, whatever your circumstances.
As we have already touched upon, there are a great many potential reasons why people spend Christmas alone. Personally, I spent Christmas 2012 and New Year 2012/13 alone by choice. I worked right through the holiday period. I am in a minority in that I wanted to be alone on Christmas.
If, therefore, you know someone seemingly destined to spend Christmas alone and you are having a party on Christmas Day, why not invite them to come along? The likelihood is that they will be alone only through circumstances and would much rather not be.
Please remember what Christmas is all about and do your bit for the true spirit of the holiday every year. The act alone should be all the reward that you need . . .
Merry Christmas, Everybody!
Are you spending Christmas alone? Would you simply like to leave a message for someone specific or anyone in general who is spending Christmas alone? Below is the place to do it.
© 2009 Gordon N Hamilton