What to Cook for Christmas!
Traditional Meals from Around the World
Christmas is an international holiday celebrated around the world, no argument about that. But Christmas dinners look differently in various countries following their traditional Christmas dishes presented at the Christmas table or else, the holidays wouldn’t be complete.
Food is an important part of the season wherever you are celebrating. Women start preparing food two weeks before Christmas eve, maybe even before. I know that from my Mom. On the last week of November, she started getting ready for Christmas eve dinner by cooking and storing in the fridge. The main dish is prepared the same day, but the ingredients are all ready and well preserved from now.
Although most of the food we cook for Christmas dinner is also cooked throughout the year – excluding the main dish as it is presented only on Christmas eve – every dish tastes differently on this special night. Maybe because we are gathered around loved ones, we enjoy the food more than ever. I will give you a brief idea about our yearly Christmas menu which is set on a buffet table as we are one big family (Thankful for that). You will notice that it’s from various cuisines – Mediterranean, French, Italian, and more:
Starters: Two kinds of salads (preferably with a light sauce to keep a place in our stomach for the main course)
– Panache Salad and Parmesan Rocca Salad.
– Stuffed Swiss Chard Leaves with olive oil.
– Hummus or mashed eggplants.
– Grilled Shrimps with cocktail sauce.
Amuse-bouche: These are small bites which we love nibbling on before taking our plates to the table.
– Four or five kinds of fried or oven baked meat, cheese and spinach pastry
– We love small Ham and Cheese Pizza bites, so this year, we asked Mom to make some on one condition that we will make it to the main course.
– You can always make some Nouilles (without chicken) for the kids; not all kids enjoy Christmas main dishes. They prefer pasta. (who doesn’t?!)
Christmas Main Dish #1:
Roasted Turkey , White spiced up Rice and Ground Beef mixed together on the side, Grilled Chestnuts and various kinds of nuts on top. This is the traditional dish for Christmas eve.
Main Dish #2:
Classic French Mashed Potatoes (Purée) with Beef Brown Gravy surrounded by a spicy brown thick sauce and cooked vegetables – peas, carrots, corn, asparagus, and raw mushroom (you can add or eliminate depending on your taste).
Main Dish #3:
One large Grilled Fish with its special lemony sauce; It can be replaced by Paella. We prefer the Grilled Fish every year.
Optional dish #4: Roast beef with spicy rice and a platter of grilled or baked vegetables.
Bûche de Noël – the French name of the traditional Christmas dessert (Yule Log, with Christmas decoration) We get two, one made of white chocolate and the other made of milk or dark chocolate. You can put any other dessert your family likes, but the traditional one is always present at the table at the end of the meal.
As you can see, lots of food to consume. We always try to keep our appetite going for dessert.
- Warm weather on Christmas, so Barbecue is the trend
- Lamb barbecued or roasted in an underground pit oven.
- Seafood is popular there, so Christmas dinner always includes Oysters or Prawns.
- Dessert: Fresh-Fruit-Topped Pavlova, with summer comes fresh seasonal fruits.
- Fried Carp with lemon slices
- Roast Turkey
- Dessert: Sachertorte (chocolate-apricot cake)
- Roast suckling pig
- Vitel toné – a slathered Veal with capers in a creamy tuna sauce (Italian origin)
- Dessert: Mince Pie
- Ghapama (pumpkin dish stuffed with rice, honey, nuts and raisins)
- Seswaa (a savoury stew with beef or goat meat)
- Pap or Mieiliepap (cornmeal)
- Morogo wa dinawa (dried leaves of the cowpea plant)
- Braai barbecues
- Chester (A big chicken)
- Pork, Turkey and Ham
- Dried fruits
- Parmesan rice pastéi (deep fried rice and cheese)
- Dessert: Tropical ice creams
“I’m dreaming of a white Christmas…. but if the white runs out, I’ll drink the red”
- Entrée: Fish soup
- Mushroom Kuba (Risotto with barley)
- Main course: Fried carp and potato salad
- Roast turkey with vegetables and potatoes
- Dessert: Pan de Pascua (Christmas fruitcake)
- Traditional Christmas drink: Cola de Mono (tail of the monkey)
- Roasted pig with fried plantains
- Black beans and rice
- Dessert: Rum cake or Rice pudding
- Roast chicken, served with carrots, onions, and baked potatoes)
- Sarma (Cabbage, kale or chard leaves stuffed with meat or rice)
- Roast goose and duck, or roast pork with red cabbage and seasoning, and boiled potatoes.
- Dessert: Risengrød (a hot rice pudding)
- Riz a L’amande (a cold rice pudding, with whipped cream, hot cherry sauce, vanilla and peeled almond)
- Tripe soup (can be served with root vegetables)
- Rooster Doro Wat (meat stew)
- Boiled eggs in sauce
- Injera (flat bread used as base for toppings)
- Duck breast with mashed potatoes
- Seafood dish with wholemeal bread, butter and shallot vinegar
- Oysters, prawns or lobster
- Fois gras
- Variety of cheese
- Chestnut-stuffed roast turkey
- Dessert: Bûche de Noël (Yule Log)
The four main food groups: Candy, candy canes, candy corn and syrup.
- Roasted duck, goose or rabbit
- Roasted pork with a crispy coating called Krustenbraten served with filled sausage and potato dumplings
- Sausage stuffing
- Red cabbage
- Traditional dessert: Weihnachtsplätzchen (cinnamon, aniseed, vanilla and other Christmas spices)
- Stollen (dried fruit bread of nuts and spices)
- Whale or Reindeer meat
- Muktuk (frozen whale skin and blubber)
- Kiviak (little auks fermented in seal skin with herbs and berries)
- Entrée: Fish soup
- Stuffed cabbage
- Main dish: Fried fish
- Dessert: Beigli (pastry filled with chestnuts or poppy seeds)
- La Vigilia, also called Festa dei Sette Pesci – Feast of the Seven Fishes (7 course-menu of fish, carp, octopus, clams, mussels, shellfish and eel) along with vegetables. Eel and shellfish are the most common ingredients of this traditional Christmas dish.
- Dessert: Panettone (Tiramisu)
- Smoked salmon or prawns
- Goose, Turkey or roast Ham (served with vegetable and potatoes)
- Dessert: Christmas pudding with brandy butter or sherry sauce
- Christmas cake
- Sherry trifle (sherry fruity jelly sponge cake with cream
- Hangikjot (smoked (or boiled) meat made of lamb or horse, sliced and served with creamy sauce)
- Ptarmigan (roasted or fried Chicken) served with bacon, mushrooms, apple and springs of rosemary
- Ham and smoked lamb with beans, potatoes and peas.
- Biryani (a spicy meat with rice dish with lamb)
- Aloo Gobi (spiced potato with cauliflower)
- Dessert is the traditional sweets of Christmas: Fried dough balls with sugar icing called Kidiyo
- Gulab Jamun (milk-solid-based sweet balls covered with syrup)
- Interesting Christmas tradition of buying a bucket of crispy fried chicken from KFC (Good for you KFC, good marketing ?
- Curry Goat
- Rice and peas
- Drink: Rum punch
- 12 meatless dishes served with apples, carrots or mushrooms.
- Sauerkraut (raw cabbage finely cut after fermentation by various lactic acid bacteria).
- Dumplings with different fillings
- Dessert: Kūčiukai (small biscuits made of poppy seeds)
- Drink: Seed milk
The fondest memories are made gathered around the table.
- Smoked meat served with potato, sauerkraut and pickled vegetables
- Beans, dates, leek pie, boiled chestnuts, and bread
Christmas is the last day of their 40-day fasting, so it must be meat and dairy free.
- Varenyky (dumplings stuffed with cabbage)
- Sauerkraut (finely cut raw cabbage that has been fermented by various lactic acid bacteria)
- Kutia (grain dish with sweet gravy)
- Smalahove (a whole sheep’s head, steamed)
- Ribbe (fatty pork ribs)
- Lutefisk (dried boiled or baked cod served with salt, pepper and butter)
- Rakfisk (fermented and salted trout or char for 3 to 4 months)
- Pinnekjøtt (ribs of mutton or lamb)
- Gourmetten (similar to the French Raclette)
- Baked omelettes or pancakes with a variety of sauces
- Garlic bread with butter
- Roast suckling pig
- Mashed potatoes (purée)
- Rice dish
- Dessert: Panetón (sweet bread loaf)
- Honey sweetened Ham
- Lechón (Crispy caramelized roasted pig)
- Rellenong Manok (baked chicken stuffed with onions and meats)
- Queso de Bola (a ball of any cheese)
- Spring rolls
- Kare-Kare (stew with peanut sauce)
- Dessert: Fruit salad
- Bacalhau (salted cod)
- Polvo (octopus with rice)
- Boiled sides: eggs, sweet potatoes, or cabbages
- Dessert: Biscoitos de Natal (Christmas cookies)
- Leite de Creme (Egg custard)
- Flick (Pork leg)
- Pork stew
- Dessert: Kozunak or Cozonac (sweet leavened bread made of eggs, milk and butter)
There are 12 courses served:
- Sochevnik (meatless meal consisting of boiled wheat sweetened with honey)
- Kutya (pudding of honey sweetened grains)
- Kulebyaka or Coulibiac (large pie filled with salmon or sturgeon, Sochevnik eggs, rice, onions and dill)
- Bobal’ki or Pagach (sweet bread stuffed with potato or cabbage and dipped in honey and garlic)
- Dessert: Pryaniki (gingerbread)
- Drink: Vzvar (boiling water with dried fruits
- Pecenica (roast pork)
- Sarma (cabbage stuffed with ground beef and rice)
- Various kinds of cakes
- Pickled herring
- Lutfisk (salted Cod)
- Janssons frestelse (jannsons temptation – meatballs and potato casserole with rice pudding and saffron buns)
- Christmas Ham and Roast Lamb, served with beet salad, potatoes and cabbage.
- Dessert: Ris à Lá Malta (rice pudding)
- Different kinds of cookies
- Roast show-stopping Turkey with roast potatoes, sometimes with a bundle of sausages
- Roast beef with Yorkshire pudding
- Mince-meat pies
- Pigs in a blanket (different sausage-based culinary dishes )
- Brussel Sprouts and cranberry sauce
- Dessert: Trifle
- Mincemeat pie
- Christmas fruit-packed pudding
There are 12 traditional dishes:
- Kutia (Sweet dish with sweet gravy)
- Varenyky (boiled/fried dumplings with cabbage and potato filling)
- Ham or Turkey stuffed, vegetables and mashed potatoes on the side
- Dessert: Christmas cookies and pies (mainly made of apple, pumpkin, pecan, mincemeat)
- Drink: Eggnog (egg milk punch)
- Hallaca (corn dough stuffed with a stew of beef, pork, or chicken)
All I want for Chritsmas is You… And Pizza, but you too.
Writing this blog made me gain a few calories by just typing the words. But who cares about this now!? After all, Christmas brings families and friends together over one table to celebrate this holiday season which we all wait for throughout the year.
It’s Christmas time yeyy.