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Unusual Christmas Dinner

Most years in the past, we have had the traditional turkey for Christmas, with as many family members as we could gafher.

This year, most of them are scattered, and we are in a place that does not lend itself to big dinners. So, there are just three of us here, and we are going to have Bloody Caesars with sausage rolls in the afternoon, followed by Kung-Pao Chicken (a favourite dish) and rice for dinner.

Is anyone else having an unconventional Christmas dinner?

Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukah (although a bit belated), or Eid Mubarak to all.

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  1. I'm making a leg of lamb braised in a coffee chipotle sauce that I'll serve over chive & garlic mashed potatoes. We'll follow that with a green salad and a cheese course.

    1. As a Jew, I feel compelled to be a smartass and note that 'Kung Pao Chicken is not the unconventional Christmas dinner. (Of course, never made it,, just ordered in or at the resto.)

      1. We had a somewhat traditional Quebec Xmas dinner, what with the pigs' feet stew, tourtière and meatballs (for the meat-eaters) - though it did shock the European side of the family.

        Oh, and the sides weren't typical: pita bread, French cheeses, curried rice pilaf and roasted mushrooms. For dessert, we had a mix - homemade donuts, Italian pastries and some cake my mom invented.

        2 Replies
        1. re: piccola

          piccola, the host served us lapin au vin blanc and a lot of vegetable sides.

          I've made a venison tourtière; I often make vegetarian ones (in any event, incorporating McAuslan Oatmeal Stout - that dark beer is a great ingredient even for non-beer drinkers, and I use it when making onions soup for vegetarian friends). . Non, ragoût de pattes, traditional though it may be, does not appeal.

          Often I make a paella.

          1. re: lagatta

            How do you make the veg tourtière? I used to buy one made with millet from a local baker, but they don't make it anymore.

            My mom makes ragoût de pattes once every few years, so all the omnivores were thrilled. Luckily there was so much other stuff that I didn't feel neglected (and people were gracious enough to give me first pick of the veggies).

        2. we had a traditional English Xmas in Florida - turkey, roast spuds, vegetables, Bisto gravy, stuffing, sausages, Christmas pud, mince pies, brandy butter and chocolate roulade complete with Christmas crackers, read out the jokes and wore our silly hats

          1. Up until three years ago the "traditional" Christmas dinner was a big roast beef, Yorkshire pudding and Waldorf salad at my parents house. Now it's just three of us at home at we're building our own tradtitions. Last year I did a too-simple pork tenderloin. It was so easy I found myself with almost nothing to do all afternoon. So this year we made big old batches of shrimpy eggrolls, Peking ravioli, and fried chicken wings. It all took hours to make (too busy making cookies and candy to do any prepping ahead) but it was soo good....I'ld do it again.

            1. We had traditional turkey dinner this year, but last year we were on a coral beach in Mexico eating grilled freshly-caught snapper, rice, tortillas, beans and pico de gallo washed down with icy cold limeade. One of the best Christmas dinners ever.

              1. I went to an Argentine steakhouse in Berlin and had a ribeye with boiled potatoes. I was the only one in the restaurant, although admittedly I was rather early (1 PM) since I had a two hour drive to get home afterwards.

                1. I don't think in any of the years I was growing up, Christmas dinner was ever traditional. My grandma would sometimes do cornish game hens. But every gathering at my grandparent would not be complete without egg rolls, sticky rice, stuffed crab claws, a crab meat soup, and other various things. Usually those were things at the kid's table. At the adult table, they usually have rabbit and duck. But sometimes, they would buy Popeye's the day before and reheat it for the entire family.

                  1. "Unusual Christmas Dinner" doesn't even to begin to describe our eclectic meal, though "meal" may be a mis-nomer since this moveable feast lasted all day. In "soft clothes" (read: comfortable, informal = jeans, etc) we began with tamales & eggs and drank Champagne; followed by Russian Borscht from a friend (who also brought an Italian fruit bread from Genoa); 10 # of garlic-y steamed mussels; homemade flour tortillas rolled w/ shredded pork & pinto beans topped w/ fresh salsa; assorted cheeses & fruit; sweet breads, Christmas cookies galore + fudge etc. I should mention that our multi-national group contributed things they especially love. About the only thing missing from this parade of heartburn was cotton candy! Although this would not be a "menu of choice" for a food writer, it was the perfect choice for us. We enjoyed a very merry, delicious & unique Christmas.
                    P.S. Christmas Eve was a much more traditional dinner with my son, DIL, family, friends etc. Beef Wellington and a silken Trefethan Halo wine marked this celebration.

                    1. We have a different menu every Christmas, but it's usually semitraditional -- ham, or roast whole beef tenderloin, or what have you. This year, for whatever reason possessed us, we went far afield. We had a menu from "Cooking Light" called "Key West Christmas"! Vodka-Pomegranate cocktails, Crispy shrimp with honey mustard sauce, CitrusAsian scallops with rice, "Caesar" salad with chile-cilantro dressing. It was terrific.

                      1. We had a stomach virus going rampant throught the extended family (over 20 people stricken since the weekend, all beginning with one infant who was passed around as is known to happen with infants at family gatherings). My wife, kids and I ended up with cancelled plans, spending the weekend holed up in our house (only our 1 year-old got "the bug").

                        Christmas Eve was Foreman Grilled pork chops, cheesy broccoli and Stove Top stuffing. Christmas Day was Campbells Italian Wedding Soup, corn bread from a box (Krusteaz brand maybe), some wonderful CSA pears and I threw in a Lean Pocket for good measure.

                        Needless to say, this was one of the lamest Christmas holidays I can remember (except for the part about Jesus Christ being born...that part is never lame to me personally).

                        1. Chrsitmas dinner in my household was steamed snow crab legs, red potatoes, and homemade New England clam chowder. I matched that with Cazadores tequilla, and Leinenkugels Honey Weiss beer.... I was looking forward to this meal as a cap to a great 4 day weekend.

                          Christmas eve was more traditional. baked ham.

                          1. Post divorce I was alone most of the day (did not feel social). Headed to the pier and picked out a nice local spiny lobster, had them steam it and enjoyed it at home with the dog. Accompanied by horseradishy mayo and a light veggie slaw. Did end up at my dad's late in day for turkey, but the sides were very different this year. His wife actually listened when I said I was avoiding white foods, and did several healthy cooked and raw veggie dishes. Also in deference to my son she did oven fries instead of mashed potatoes. Instead of that over-stuffed feeling we headed down to the basement and played ping pong after the meal. Here is to new traditions!

                            1. had an Xmas lunch that is trad for our fam. Nasty pre-cooked and microwaved turkey loaf, same with the "ham". The pud was nice, but the sauce.. it's my grandmothers recipe.. made up during the war, and allows for war-time rationing.. water, cornflour and nutmeg.


                              All eaten in an un-airconditioned house in the height of an Australian summer. (about 35degrees C)

                              When Mater Beige finally relinquishes her hold on Xmas, I'll be doing seafood and BBQ.

                              However, it WAS wonderful to be with family.

                              1. We've been doing untraditional Christmas dinners for the last 6 years with my side of the family. It started off with Ukrainian back in 2001. My mom's friend gave us loads of homemade Ukrainian food one year. We loved it so much we decided to do something different every year. We've had Creole, Caribbean, French, Greek and this year it was East Indian.

                                Usually we make everything homemade. This year was an exception. We didn't feel up to the task of having to make these amazing dishes. Sure they're not really that hard to make but, the amount of spices we'd have to buy was a little crazy. Besides, I didn't want to ruin the butter chicken so I knew for sure I was picking that up at my favorite Indian Restaurant in town. :)

                                It was also the first time my husband has had it. I think he's hocked now