Cook an Old Fashioned Christmas Dinner

Edited by Nerissa Avisado, Anonymous, Eng, Lynn and 3 others

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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.

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Traditional Christmas Meals Worldwide

Christmas dinner is a traditional meal that may keep cooks busy worldwide. Why not design your old-fashioned Christmas dinner should be based on where you, or your ancestors, come from.

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Asia

  1. 1
    India.
    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.
    CafeOfIndia Special Biryani.jpg
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  2. 2
    Lebanon.
    Roasted turkey (or duck) with Tabbouleh and pastries such as Honey cake and "Buche De Noël" can be found on tables in the evening on December 24th and again for lunch on December 25th.
    Tabbouleh.jpg
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  3. 3
    Philippines.
    Pork, queso de bola, various pasta dishes, fruit salad, and tsokolate can be found on many tables around midnight on December 24th.
    Tsokolate vigan.jpg
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Europe

  1. 1
    United 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 dressing, cranberry sauce, roasted root vegetables, brussel sprouts, and generous helpings of gravy. To finish the meal, there will be a rich plum pudding, soaked in brandy and set aflame. Although all these make up a really full feast, some cooks will make pigs in blankets and tiny sausages wrapped in bacon, as a side dish, and there is simply no refusing these tasty bits. At every place setting, you'll usually find a festively decorated cracker that you pull with the person beside you. They make a big cracking sound. Inside, the cracker, you'll find a paper hat and a prize.
    Plum Pudding.jpg
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  2. 2
    Austria.
    Fried fish, Sacher torte, and Christmas cookies might 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.
    Austrian Christmas Cookies.jpg
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  3. 3
    Czech Republic.
    Czech Republic traditionally serves fried carp and potato salad and a large variety of Christmas cookies for guests.
    Czech Christmas dinner.jpg
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  4. 4
    Denmark.
    Roasted pork with cracklings or goose or duck is usually served as the festive meat. Whatever the roast beast, it will probably be served with potatoes (boiled, caramelized, or roasted), red cabbage, and gravy. Dessert could be Risalamande - rice pudding served with cherry or strawberry sauce. Sometimes an almond will be hidden inside dessert. The person who finds it gets an extra present. Christmas drinks like Glögg and traditional Christmas beers, specifically brewed for the season are often served.
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  5. 5
    Finland.
    Christmas dinner in Finland 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.
    Perinteinen joululounas Ravintola Arthurissa - Traditional Christmas buffet in Restaurant Arthur.jpg
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  6. 6
    France.
    Long dinner parties with family known as réveillon usually include many cultural favorites of countries like the United Kingdom, Canada, and the United States.
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  7. 7
    Germany.
    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.
    German Christmas Cookies.jpg
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  8. 8
    Iceland.
    Here, the main dish varies, but Hamborgarhryggur is the most common. Roasted game is also a favorite.
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  9. 9
    Ireland.
    The Irish Christmas dinner usually includes turkey, ham, brussel sprouts, roast potatoes, dressing and many varieties of vegetables. The old-tradition would have probably included a duck or a goose.
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  10. 10
    Lithuania, Belarus and Ukraine.
    Twelve vegan dishes are usually served on the Eve of Christmas (December 24th). In the Ukraine and Belarus it's January 6th (Epiphany). This is because the 40-days preceding Christmas is a time of abstaining from meat and meat products. This fast is usually broken on Christmas Day.
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  11. 11
    Portugal.
    Boiled dried-salted codfish with boiled cabbage, boiled potatoes, boiled eggs, chickpeas, onions, parsley, etc. All this would be prepared with generous amounts of olive oil.
    Ericeira, Portugal.jpg
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  12. 12
    Romania.
    Romanians serve a variety of meat dishes for Christmas dinner. These might include the innards, fat, and muscles. Cozonac is usually baked and can be filled with nuts, raisins, chocolate, etc.
    Cozonac Trandafir.jpg
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  13. 13
    Slovenia.
    Typical dishes are potica, pečenka and grilled turkey. Mulled wines and eggnog are often served with the food, and some families make Christmas biscuits.
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  14. 14
    Spain.
    It's traditional in Spain to serve several courses which may start with some simple tapas or appetizers, followed by the first course, main course, and finally, dessert with coffee or after-dinner drinks.
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North America

  1. 1
    United States of America.
    The celebratory Christmas dinner is usually eaten on the evening of the 25th. 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 25th.
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  2. 2
    Canada.
    While USA celebrates thanksgiving about a month before Christmas, in Canada it's the first Monday in October. Unlike their neighbours to the south, they are ready for turkey on Christmas day. Their traditions are closer to the UK's than USA. Christmas dinner includes turkey, often ham as well, roast or mashed potatoes, dressing, cranberry sauce, carrots, corn, and crusty rolls. The interesting thing about Canada is there are always touches of people's ancestry on the table. Minced meat pie and trifle (UK), red cabbage salad and marzipan (Germany), etc. Wine, eggnog with brandy and mulled cider are drinks often served during their Christmas celebrations.
    Trifle may be popular in the UK, but it's also quite popular in Canada - as are crackers to pull at the table, and minced meat pie.
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  3. 3
    Mexico.
    Traditional foods may differ by region, but usually include tamales, atole, pozole, birria, menudo, romeritos, bacalao, and stuffed turkey.
    Big Baby Jesus and Sweets.jpg
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Oceania

  1. 1
    New Zealand and Australia.
    These neighbors have very similar menus as those in North America and Britain, however, since they are located in the southern hemisphere and Christmas is in the summer, they often serve dishes like chili prawns, Moroccan-style barbecued turkey, butterflied lamb with macadamia and spinish pesto and maple balsamic salmon.
    DSC 3204.jpg
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South America

  1. 1
    Brazil.
    Here you'll find large quantities and a variety of dishes that include fresh vegetables, luscious fruits and Brazil nuts. Accompanying these may be bowls of spicy, colorful rice dishes, and platters brimming with ham and fresh salad served with roasted turkey. Some parts of Brazil may prepare roast pork, roast Chicken or fish. Desserts such as lemon tart, Nuts pie, chocolate cake and also Panettone, among others, may be served.
    Natal.jpg
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  2. 2
    Peru.
    Similar to Brazil they serve Panettone with dessert usually accompanied by hot chocolate.
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An Old-fashioned Menu

Families have their own treasured Christmas dinner recipes, and these recipes will bestow their own unique touches on traditional dishes. One family may like to make their stuffing (dressing) with hot Italian sausage, and another family may like to season their turkey with a little cayenne. There are, however, some very basic items usually present at any Christmas dinner. Here are a few traditional menu items that could be found on tables worldwide.

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Roast turkey with Sage and Onion Stuffing

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Cranberry Sauce

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Pigs in a Blanket

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Roast Potatoes and Parsnips

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Buttered Brussels Sprouts with Chestnuts

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Christmas Pudding

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Trifle

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Secrets for Cooking a Turkey

Turkey is always a challenge to cook. For one thing, it is difficult to make sure that such a large bird 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.

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Tips to Help You Achieve a Perfect Turkey this Christmas

  1. 1
    Thaw your bird slowly and thoroughly.
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    1. To do this, make sure you thaw it first in the refrigerator so it defrosts gradually, without its juices oozing out.
    2. 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.
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  2. 2
    At least 24-hours before roasting the bird, season it generously to allow time for the meat to absorb the flavors.
     
    1. You can rub it thoroughly with salt, pepper, and whatever herbs you want to use.
    2. Do this inside, outside, and under the skin of the turkey.
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  3. 3
    Before you roast it, take it out of the refrigerator and let it sit on the counter until it's room temperature.
    This will help the turkey roast more evenly, and help guarantee the inside is cooked.
    Mary's Heritage Turkey.jpg
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  4. 4
    Invest 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.
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  5. 5
    Most 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. Try putting it into a 425 degree oven for the first hour, then turn it down to 375.
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  6. 6
    Do not overcook your turkey.
    As a rule, a 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.
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  7. 7
    Lift 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.
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  8. 8
    Allow 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 fill the platter.
    Carving Set by Match Pewter.jpg
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A Simple Turkey Recipe

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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 of dry white wine (good enough to drink)
  • large pot
  • large pan (needs to be large enough to accommodate the turkey and vegetables)
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Directions:

  1. 1
    Rub the turkey with the regular salt thoroughly and place in a large stockpot.
    Cover the turkey with cold water and leave in the refrigerator for 8 to 12 hours.
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  2. 2
    Preheat oven.
     
    1. Rinse the turkey thoroughly and brush with half of the melted butter.
    2. Divide the vegetables and stuff the cavity with half. Insert the thyme and a bay leaf in the cavity as well.
    3. Scatter the other vegetables around the pan and cover with the white wine.
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  3. 3
    Lay 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 and additional 1 ½ to 2 hours.
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  4. 4
    When the thermometer placed at the thickest part of the thigh registers 180 degrees F, your turkey is done.
    Remove from the oven and let it rest for half an hour before carving.
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Turkey Gravy Recipe

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Things You'll Need:

  • ½ cup butter
  • 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 4 cups pan drippings (or see options below the recipe)
  • sauce pan
  • whisk, spoon, or fork

Directions:

  1. 1
    Drain pan drippings and strain through a fine sieve after the turkey has finished cooking.
    Let sit and remove any fat from the top of the drippings.
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  2. 2
    Measure liquid until you have 4 cups.
    If you don't have enough drippings, use chicken stock.
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  3. 3
    Melt butter in a medium saucepan, and add flour.
    Whisk thoroughly over medium-low heat till well incorporated.
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  4. 4
    Slowly add the liquid and seasonings, while stirring to dissolve any lumps.
    Continue cooking till slightly thickened. This should take about 5 minutes.
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  5. 5
    When the gravy starts 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.
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Sage and Onion Stuffing to Complement the Turkey

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For A 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, finely diced
  • 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 (lots)
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Directions:

  1. 1
    Preheat 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.
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  2. 2
    Melt butter in a skillet and add onions, celery, garlic and cook until vegetables are soft (about 10 minutes).
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  3. 3
    Beat eggs with salt, pepper, and stock.
    Fold together baked bread cubes, onions, and celery. Quickly stir in the egg-broth mixture.
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  4. 4
    Spread 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.
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Always, a Sweet, Sweet Ending

A British Christmas dinner is at its most traditional when it ends with a Plum Pudding.

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This dessert is truly the heartiest, the richest, and the most intensely flavored of all desserts, and it's 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.

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Plum pudding should be made at least 2 weeks before the big day. Some people will actually prepare theirs 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 breadcrumbs
  • 1 oz/25 g whole shelled almonds, roughly chopped
  • 2 large, fresh eggs
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Directions:

  1. 1
    Lightly butter a pudding pan (2 ½ pints).
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  2. 2
    Combine all dried fruits, candied peel, apple, orange juice, and brandy in a bowl.
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  3. 3
    Let stand overnight.
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  4. 4
    In a large bowl, stir together and mix the flour and spices well.
    Add suet, zest, sugar, breadcrumbs, and nuts. Add the soaked fruits and mix well.
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  5. 5
    Beat the eggs lightly and quickly stir into the mixed batter.
    You should get a rather soft consistency.
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  6. 6
    Spoon into greased pan or basin, gently pressing down to make sure the mixture settles in.
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  7. 7
    Cover with parchment paper, then aluminum foil.
    Tie with a string, and steam for 7-8 hours.
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  8. 8
    Remove from the 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.
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  9. 9
    To serve:
    Set the plum putting on a fireproof plate, heat about 1 ½ tablespoons brandy; pour this over the pudding and light immediately.
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  10. 10
    Enjoy this Christmas pudding – and all the joy the season brings.
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Have a Very Happy Christmas!

  • Krismasi Njema
  • Eid Milad Majid (عيد ميلاد مجيد)
  • Joyeux Noël
  • Mbotama Malamu
  • Rõõmsaid Jõulupühi
  • Frohe Weihnachten
  • Kala Christouyenna
  • Gleðileg jól
  • Nollaig Shona Dhuit
  • Buon Natale
  • Alussistuakeggtaarmek
  • Nizhonigo Keshmish
  • Wesołych Świąt
  • Boas Festas
  • Geseënde Kersfees
  • Chuć Mưǹg Giańg Sinh
  • Merry Christmas!
  • If you have problems with any of these steps, ask a question for more help, or post in the comments section below.
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Categories : Holidays & Traditions | Cooking

Recent edits by: Alma, MsBarbs, Lynn

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