Cook an Old Fashioned Christmas Dinner
Edited by Nerissa Avisado, Lynn, MsBarbs
There is nothing like an old fashioned Christmas dinner to warm the hearts and whet the appetites of family and guests on Christmas Day. An old fashioned Christmas dinner may remind everyone of past holidays and times when loved ones were together. If you want to create an old fashioned Christmas dinner this year read on for some recipe ideas that will help you set the stage for a wonderful celebration.
Edit Traditional Christmas Meals Worldwide
Christmas dinner is a traditional meal that may keep cooks busy worldwide. Your old-fashioned Christmas dinner should be based on where you, or your ancestors, are from. Many times the same foods will be prepared in countries which could be closely related or settled by people from around the same areas.
- 1India.Biryani with chicken or lamb/mutton, chicken and mutton curry, followed with cakes or sweets like Kheer. Biryani is a dish with rice, meat, spices, vegetables and sometimes fruit. It has many different ways to prepare it as the ingredients can vary depending on the area in India.2Lebanon.Roasted turkey (or duck) with Tabbouleh and pastries such as Honey cake and "Buche De Noël" can be found on tables two days in a row, the night of December 24th and lunch time on December 25th.3Philippines.Pork, queso de bola, various pasta dishes, fruit salad, and tsokolate can be found on many tables around midnight on December 24th.
- 1United Kingdom.This meal is eaten at mid-day or early afternoon on the 25th, most tables will have turkey or goose or some other poultry as the centerpiece. The majestic roasted poultry will be served in all its golden glory, accompanied by a nutty stuffing, cranberry sauce, roasted root vegetables, Brussels sprouts, and generous lashings of gravy. To cap the meal, there will be a truly rich plum pudding, set aflame with brandy. Although all these make up a really full feast, some cooks will make pigs in blankets, tiny sausages wrapped in bacon, as a side dish, and there is simply no refusing these tasty bits.2Austria.Fried fish, Sacher torte, and Christmas cookies could be eaten, and many chocolate delicacies include edible Christmas ornaments. Christmas dinner's centerpiece could be goose or ham served with Gluhwein, Rumpunsch, and chocolate mousse.3Czech Republic.Czech Republic has fried carp and potato salad and a large variety of Christmas cookies for guests.4Denmark.Roasted pork with cracklings or goose or duck is usually the served as the festive meat. The meat could be served with potatoes (boiled, caramelized, or roasted), red cabbage, and gravy. Dessert could be Risalamande, rice pudding served with cherry sauce or strawberry sauce. Sometimes there will be whole almond hidden inside dessert. The person who finds it gets an extra present. Christmas drinks like Glögg and traditional Christmas beers which are usually specially brewed for the season are often served.5Finland.In Finland Christmas dinner is prepared much the same as in Denmark. They have a special name for the Christmas table, Joulupöytä, which usually hosts an array of foods. Beverages can be alcoholic or non-alcoholic.6France.Long dinner parties with family known as réveillon usually includes many contemporary favorites of countries like the United Kingdom, Canada, and the United States.7Germany.The main dishes served are usually roast goose and roast carp, but suckling pig or duck may also be served. Typical side dishes include roast potatoes and various forms of cabbage such as kale, brussel sprouts, and red cabbage.8Iceland.The main dish varies, but Hamborgarhryggur could be the most common. Other common dishes are roasted game.9Ireland.The Irish Christmas dinner usually has turkey, ham, Brussels sprouts, roast potatoes, stuffing and many different types of vegetables. The old-tradition would have probably included a duck or a goose.10Lithuania, Belarus and Ukraine.Twelve vegan dishes are usually served on the Eve of Christmas (24 December), Ukraine and Belarus (6 January). This is because the 40-days preceding Christmas is a time of fasting from meat and meat products. This fast is usually broken on Christmas Day.
11Portugal.Boiled dried-salted codfish accompanied with boiled cabbage, boiled potatoes, boiled eggs, chickpeas, onions, parsley, etc.. All accompanied with generous amounts of olive oil.12Romania.Romanians serve a variety of meat dishes for Christmas dinner. These can include the innards, fat, and muscles. Cozonac is usually baked and can be filled with nuts, raisins, chocolate, etc..13Slovenia.Typical dishes are potica, pečenka and grilled turkey. Mulled wines and eggnog can be served with the food, and some families make Christmas biscuits.14Spain.Usually has several courses which may start with some simple tapas or appetizers, first course, main course, and followed by dessert and coffee or after-dinner drinks.
- 1United States of America.The celebratory Christmas dinner is usually eaten on the evening of the 24th. Many families will sit down to a festive meal, and then send children off to bed so that Santa can come and fill their stockings. Much of the traditional American menu is adopted from the British, but possibly because Thanksgiving with its traditional turkey would have been quite recent, many families opt to have ham on December 25.2Canada.Has much the same foods as Americans and the British.3Mexico.Traditional foods may differ by region, but usually include tamales, atole, pozole, birria, menudo, romeritos, bacalao, and stuffed turkey.
- 1New Zealand and Australia.Largely have the same menu as North America and Britain. However, since they are located in the southern hemisphere and Christmas is in the summer, they may serve meat and other food cold.
- 1Brazil.Large quantities of food and variety may include fresh vegetables, luscious fruits and Brazil nuts. Accompanying these may be bowls of spicy, colorful rice, and platters filled with ham and fresh salad served with roasted turkey. Some parts of Brazil may prepare a roast pork, roast Chicken or fish. Desserts such as lemon tart, Nuts pie, chocolate cake and also Panettone, among others may be available.2
EditAn Old-fashioned Menu
All families have their own treasured Christmas dinner recipes, and these recipes will bestow their own unique touch on traditional dishes. One family may like to do their stuffing with hot Italian sausage, and another family may like to season their turkey with a little cayenne. There are, however, some very basic items that could be present in any Christmas dinner. Here are a few traditional menu items that could be found on tables worldwide.
Roast turkey with Sage and Onion Stuffing
Pigs in a Blanket
Roast Potatoes and Parsnips
Buttered Brussels Sprouts with Chestnuts
EditSecrets for Cooking Turkey
Turkey is always a challenge to cook. For one thing, it is difficult enough to make sure that such a huge piece of poultry is going to be golden brown on the outside, and moist yet cooked through on the inside. To make this task even more complex, people usually roast a whole turkey only once or twice a year.
Tips to Help You Achieve a Perfect Turkey this Christmas
- 1Thaw your bird slowly and thoroughly.
2At least 24-hours before roasting the bird, season it generously to make the meat absorb the flavors.
- To do this, make sure you thaw it first in the refrigerator so that it defrosts gradually, without oozing out its juices.
- If you have a large bird because you have a lot of people coming over for dinner, you may need as many as four days to thaw your bird properly.
3Before you roast it, take it out of the refrigerator and let it sit in the kitchen until it comes to room temperature.This will help the turkey roast more evenly, and help guarantee the inside is cooked.4Invest in the best meat thermometer you can afford.Get one that you can plunge easily into the thickest part of the turkey knowing it will do its job. There are digital thermometers on the market now, and these may allow you to monitor the internal temperature of the turkey without opening the oven door.5Most cooks will agree that roasting your turkey at 375 to 425 degrees will give you a perfectly roasted bird.If you have been cooking your turkey at a higher temperature, you might get beautiful golden skin but alarmingly pink meat. Lower than this, your bird may take too long to cook; it will be dry and a little tough.6Do not overcook your turkey.As a rule, an non-stuffed, 10-18 pound turkey will need 3 to 3 ½ hours to cook while a stuffed turkey weighing the same will take 3 ¾ to 4 ½ hours to cook. Take a good look at the instructions that come with the turkey and follow them.7Lift the turkey off the tray by putting it on a rack when you roast it.Allowing air to circulate while it cooks will improve your chances of getting evenly brown, crispy skin.8Allow your bird to rest for a few minutes before carving it.Cutting into the meat directly after the bird is removed from the oven will make the juices run off the turkey and down the platter.
- You can rub it thoroughly with salt, pepper, and whatever herbs you want to use.
- Do this inside, outside, and under the skin of the turkey.
Edit A Simple Turkey Recipe
Here is a simple, tasty turkey recipe for your old-fashioned Christmas dinner.
Things You'll Need:
- 1 whole turkey (about 18 pounds)
- 2 cups salt
- ½ cup butter melted
- 2 large onions, peeled and minced (any kind)
- 4 cloves of garlic, minced fine
- 4 carrots, peeled and chopped
- 4 stalks celery, chopped
- 1 sprig fresh thyme
- 1 cup dry white wine (good enough to drink)
- large pot
- large pan (needs to be large enough to accommodate the turkey and vegetables)
- 1Rub the turkey with the regular salt thoroughly, and place in a large stock pot.Cover the turkey with cold water and leave in the refrigerator for 8 to 12 hours.2Preheat oven.
3Lay the turkey breast side down on a rack at least 2 inches away from the bottom of the pan.After 2 hours, turn the turkey so it is breast side up, brush with the remaining butter and roast for 1 ½ to 2 hours more.4When the thermometer placed at the thickest part of the thigh registers 180 degrees F, your turkey is done.Remove from the oven and let rest for half an hour before carving.
- Rinse the turkey thoroughly, and brush with half of the melted butter.
- Divide the vegetables and stuff the cavity with half. Insert the thyme and a bay leaf in the cavity as well.
- Scatter the other half of the vegetables around the pan and cover with the white wine.
EditTurkey Gravy Recipe
Things You'll Need:
- ½ cup butter
- 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 4 cups pan drippings (or see options below the recipe)
- sauce pan
- whisk, spoon, or fork
- 1Drain pan drippings and strain through a fine sieve after the turkey is finished cooking.Let sit and remove any fat from the top of the drippings.2Measure liquid until you have 4 cups.If you don’t have enough drippings, use chicken stock.3Melt butter in a medium saucepan, and add flour.Whisk thoroughly over medium-low heat till well incorporated.4Slowly add the liquid while stirring to dissolve any lumps.Continue cooking till slightly thickened. This should take about 5 minutes.5When the gravy is starting to thicken, taste and correct seasoning.Do not let it thicken completely. Turn off the fire and keep away from heat. Reheat gravy just before serving.
Edit Sage and Onion Stuffing to Complement the Turkey
For the traditional sage and onion stuffing you will need:
- 10 cups of white bread, cut into 1 inch cubes
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 2 tablespoons melted butter
- 1 pound yellow onions, diced fine
- 4 large stalks celery, diced
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh sage leaves
- Leaves from 4 stalks thyme
- 2 large eggs, beaten
- 2 cups turkey, chicken, or vegetable stock
- 1 teaspoon garlic salt
- Fresh ground pepper to taste
- 1Preheat oven to 225 degrees F.Spread bread cubes on a large baking sheet and bake for 1 to 1 ½ hours. Stir every 20 minutes or so. Continue baking until crisp.2Melt butter in a skillet and add onions, celery, garlic and cook until vegetables are soft (about 10 minutes).3Beat eggs with salt, pepper, and stock.Fold together baked bread cubes, onions, and celery. Quickly stir in the egg-broth mixture.4Spread the mixture in a baking dish (about 3 quarts), and drizzle with the melted butter over the mixture.Bake covered in preheated oven for 25 minutes at 375 degrees F. Finish baking uncovered for 15 minutes or until top is pleasantly browned.
EditAlways, a Sweet, Sweet Ending
A British Christmas dinner is at its most traditional when it ends with a Plum Pudding.
This dessert is truly the heartiest, the richest, and the most intensely flavored of all desserts, and it is as dramatic as Cherries Jubilee. If you are determined to go the extra mile for an old fashioned dinner, here is a recipe for you.
Plum pudding should be made at least 2 weeks before the big day. Some people will actually prepare this months ahead of Christmas.
Things You'll Need:
- 1 oz/25 g chopped mixed candied peel
- 1 large cooking apple, peeled, cored and finely chopped
- Zest and juice of 1 large orange
- 1/3 cup brandy, plus a little extra for soaking at the end
- 2 oz/55 g self-raising flour, sifted
- 1 level tsp ground mixed spice
- 1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 4 oz/110 g shredded beef suet
- 4 oz/110g soft, dark brown sugar
- 4 oz/110 g white fresh bread crumbs
- 1 oz/25 g whole shelled almonds, roughly chopped
- 2 large, fresh eggs
- 1Lightly butter a pudding pan (2 ½ pints).2Mix all dried fruits, candied peel, apple, orange juice, and brandy into a bowl.Let stand overnight.3In a large bowl, stir together and mix the flour and spices well.Add suet, zest, sugar, bread crumbs, and nuts. Add the soaked fruits and mix well.4Beat the eggs lightly and quickly stir into the mixed batter.You should get a rather soft consistency.5Spoon into greased pan or basin, gently pressing down to make sure the mixture settles in.6Cover with parchment paper, then aluminum foil.Tie with a string, and steam for 7-8 hours.7Remove from steamer, remove paper and sprinkle with brandy.Repack, and store in a cool dry place till Christmas day. Steam for 15-30 minutes before serving.8To serve:Set the plum putting in a fireproof plate, heat about 1 ½ tablespoons brandy; pour this over the pudding and light immediately.
Recent edits by: Lynn, Nerissa Avisado
Thanks to all authors for creating a page that has been read 1,971 times.