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International Christmas

It's Christmas time.  We prepare our hearts for the season and prepare to share our love with family and friends.  One way to show that love is through the food you prepare.  The big holiday is only a few days away so if you are still looking for interesting recipes, you've come to the right place.  Today we'll look at recipes from all over the world.  


Start off your meal with this light salad.  

1 pound cauliflower 2 pounds prepared baccalà (salted cod - see below) 1 can large black olives 1 (24-ounce) jar sweet red peppers slices 4 cloves garlic, sliced 1/4 cup Italian, flat-leaf parsley 1 cup extra virgin olive oil 4 tablespoons lemon juice Salt and pepper 

Prepare and soak your baccala at least 3 days prior. Follow this link to learn How to Prepare your Christmas Baccala, Step by Step. Blanch cauliflower by placing florets in lightly salted, boiling water for 2 to 3 minutes, draining and rinsing immediately with ice water. Keep the same water boiling for the baccalà. Cut the baccalà into 1-inch pieces. Drop the baccala into the boiling water and cook until fish breaks off easily. Strain and cool. After it cools, remove skin and bones, if there are any. In a mixing bowl, combine the blanched cauliflower, baccalà, olives, peppers, garlic, parsley, oil and lemon juice. Toss gently. Season with salt and pepper if needed. Cover and chill overnight, mixing occasionally.

HERRING AND BEET SALAD - SWEDEN We'll keep the fish theme going with this Christmas Eve traditional salad from Sweden.

8 oz. beets 1⁄2 cup kosher salt 3 cups water 1 cup sugar 3⁄4 cup white wine vinegar 1 tbsp. allspice berries 5 bay leaves 1 stick cinnamon 1⁄2 tbsp. whole white peppercorns 1 tbsp. whole cloves 1 red onion, diced 1 Granny Smith apple, diced 4 oz. potatoes 4 oz. pickled herring, shredded 1⁄3 cup ounces sour cream 1⁄4 cup chopped chives 1⁄4 cup chopped dill 1⁄3 cup Salt and pepper unsweetened whipped cream to taste

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Scrub the beets clean and place them on a bed of kosher salt in a baking dish. Seal the dish with a piece of aluminum foil. Roast the beets until they are tender, about 1 hour. In the meantime, boil potatoes until tender. Let the beets cool and then dice; strain potatoes, let cool and then dice. Mix water, vinegar, sugar, allspice berries, bay leaves, cinnamon stick, white peppercorns and whole cloves in a large bowl. Submerge beets, onion and apple in the solution for 2 hours, then strain. Add the potatoes, herring, sour cream and herbs. Season with salt and pepper.  Before serving, fold in the whipped cream. Garnish with herbs. Flæskesteg (DANISH ROAST PORK) - DANISH This is especially good for Christmas, but you'll love it any time.

Boneless pork roast with rind (about 2.2-2.6 lb) salt, coarse 3-6 dried Bay leaves (can be omitted)

Use a sharp knife to cut long deep grooves in the rind of the pork roast. The grooves should be about 1/5 inch apart. Make sure to make deep grooves in the rind but do not cut into the actually meat. Rub the entire roast thoroughly with coarse salt. Make sure that you get salt well in the grooves in the rind. Place 3-6 dried Bay leaves in the grooves – this can be omitted if you do not have any.  Place the roast on a rack with a roasting pan underneath. In the roasting pan; add 1/2 l (2 cups) of water and some cut carrots and onions. This water with vegetables can later be used to make a nice gravy. Make sure that the roast is lying in a horizontal position. You can use a ball of aluminum foil under the roast to level it out. If you do not do this you risk that the rind gets an uneven color or get burned. Preheat the oven to 440 F and cook the roast for 15 minutes. Turn down the heat to 400 F and continue cooking. When the core temperature is 135 F,  turn on the grill function in the oven. This is to make sure that the rind gets nice and crisp. Keep an eye on the roast so that you don’t burn it. The roast is done when the core temperature is 150 F. It takes about 1.5 hours to reach this temperature. If the water evaporates during the cooking, you should add some extra. When the roast is done; take it out of the oven. Let it rest for about 15 minutes or eat it right away. Cut the roast in slices at each groove.If you want to make a nice gravy; drain the vegetables form the water and pour it in a sauce pan. Add some heavy cream and some brown gravy coloring. Add salt to taste.


This is very different from corned beef, but just as delicious.

6 lbs sirloin tip roast or 6 lbs beef eye round 3 bay leaves, finely chopped 1 teaspoon ground mace 6 ground cloves 1 clove garlic, crushed and made into a paste with salt 1 teaspoon allspice 1 teaspoon crushed black peppercorns 2 teaspoons molasses 2 1⁄2 teaspoons honey or maple syrup 1⁄2 cup salt 2 teaspoons saltpeter 1 bottle Guinness stout Mix all the flavorings and spices together. Place the beef in a large bowl and rub all over with the spice and flavoring mixture. Cover and refrigerate. Rub in the mixture once or twice a day for a week; turn the beef as you repeat the rubbing in process. The spices and flavorings will now be mixed with the juices drawn from the beef. Tie up the meat firmly and place in a large pot. Rub in a last teaspoon of ground cloves. Cover with cold water to which a bottle of Guinness has been added. Simmer gently for 6 hours. Allow to cool in the cooking liquid. When cool, remove from the cooking liquid, place on a serving dish and cover with a weighted plate. Refrigerate until serving time. Serve cold, thinly sliced.

WINTER KISSEL - HUNGARY This can be made as a drink, soup, or pudding.

2 cups dried fruit we used 1/2 cup dried apples, 1/2 cup prunes, 1/2 cup apricots, 1/4 cup dried cranberries 6 cups boiling hot water 1/2 cup cold water 2 Tbsp potato starch 3 Tbsp honey  1 small cinnamon stick

1. Rinse and drain the dry fruit then transfer it to a large soup pot along with the cinnamon stick.

2. Cover fruit with 6 cups boiling water. Cover with lid and let the pot sit off the heat for 30 minutes.

3. After the 30 minutes, add 2-3 Tbsp of honey to taste, and place the pot on the stove. Bring it to a boil over med/high heat then reduce heat and simmer on low for 5 - 7 minutes.

4. Mix 2 Tbsp of potato starch with 1/2 cup of cold water and slowly pour it into the soup pot while continuously stirring the soup.

5. Bring the pot back to a boil and immediately remove it from the heat. Serve warm or cold. You can strain the fruit through a sieve if you just want the juice, but we enjoy the fruit way too much to do that. Learn more about these dishes at: I want to wish you all a very blessed Christmas season.  The best present is being present, so don't get too caught in the frenzy to forget about the greatest gift the world has ever known.  Count your blessings and have a wonderful time with those you love.

Merry Christmas!  Here's to your health!  Happy Cooking!


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