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Christmas vittles

Turkey day is over. What's on the dinner menu for Christmas?

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    1. re: Harters

      Heh heh.

      Verily, Christmas food is typically a reprise of Thankgiving food. At least to my experience.

      1. re: Perilagu Khan

        PK - bear in mind that I am not an American, therefore do not have a November turkey day. Once a year is entirely enough turkey for me.


        1. re: Harters

          Once a year is quite enough for me as well, so we rely on a chicken galantine to get us through Christmas together.

          I am curious, are English turkeys of the same variety as the overly breasted, white-feathered, infertile mutations we've bred this side of the Atlantic?

          1. re: JungMann

            I'm not sure whether they are the same variety, JM - but they are as uninteresting as you imply yours are. That said, supermarkets stock premium quality free range or organic birds and that's what we buy. It makes for an expensive meal - our bird for the nine of us will cost around £60 - but we work to the baiss that we wouldnt buy factory raised poultry in the rest of the year, so why would we when it's a feast day. Even so, I find turkey a meat that I don't really enjoy.

            1. re: Harters

              My sister in Glasgow just had a belated "Friendsgiving" Turkey, and she said the turkey was way tastier than ones she was used to here. I asked her what kind it was, but she'd already tossed the packaging.

          2. re: Harters

            I would take turkey over chicken any day- but that's just how I roll. More flavor.

            1. re: Harters

              Harters, I made the third turkey that I have ever made this past Thanksgiving, for variety as well as to please others. Terrible, tasteless stuff - explains the love for gravy.

            2. re: Perilagu Khan

              Not at my house, we generally don't have any of the same dishes. Maybe pecan pie for both some years, or possible a potato gratin but usually we don't duplicate any of the dishes.

            3. re: Harters

              My future in-laws do turkey and ham at each holiday. Always dried out for both. I go for the sides which are also the same. Granted Sunday dinner is much of the same food. They are not very adventurous eaters unless you count scrapple, ponhaus and hog maw etc.

            4. Prime Rib roast, with all the indicated goodies.

              14 Replies
              1. re: mamachef

                I usually do a roast "beast" too. Used to always be Prime Rib too, but for the last couple of years, I've done a low and slow roasted whole sirloin. (From Fourunder's instructions from these boards!) We have found it more flavorful (not to mention much more frugal!)
                What are your indicated goodies? I usually do shrimp cocktail, French onion soup gratin, roasted garlic mashed potatoes, gravy and horseradish cream sauce, baby carrots, sometimes green salad, sometimes not, homemade bread, and cheesecake for dessert. I will often look for new ideas for cheesecake to try out, but actually my family prefers a plain Lindy's New York style cheesecake over any fancy ones I have tried. The other desserts some years (and probably this yeat) are platters of different kinds of Christmas cookies. My cookie baking starts next Sunday:)

                1. re: sunflwrsdh

                  What a good reminder about the Sirloin!! I think I just may do that one this year!! Usually I don't squawk the expense, 'cause it is our once-yearly blowout meal, but this year it would do to save a little cash so I can retire by age 90. :) Oh, also last year, someone made a comment about "velvet meat," re the Prime ribs, and it wasn't entirely complimentary, I don't think. :)
                  I start them with cuke/salmon rolls; just mandoline'd cukes, salted and drained, rolled around really thinly-sliced salmon w/ a dabbie of herbed chevre; then usually a clear soup of some kind. Then we head into meat territory, w/ a port or brandy pan juice, served alongside roasted baby potatoes and mini-Yorkshire puddings which we could as easily call garlic herb popovers. (Either name, they hold a TON of gravy, which is all that matters.) I do a sweet kugel to honor my son, who isn't with us anymore - oh, how he loved that stuff, and insisted on calling it "Kubal," even when he knew better, just to annoy me. :) Creamed spinach w/ bacon, and some plain veg or another - Brussels sprouts, string beans w/ roasted garlic, and a salad, usually w/ a cranberry or pomegranate vinaigrette. Yeast rolls that darlin' dotter makes, since for some reason I'm a total failure at those; and her b/f chooses the wines and one or two mixed drinks, but always decent Champagne w/ the salmon rolls. By dessert, we're all stuffed and have a major bzzzzzz on anyhoo, so I toss on a bowl of nuts and the fruit centerpiece, and nobody touches it, ever, so a few hours later I put out a selection of individual pastries that a very talented chef I know makes around the holidays (indy. Tiramisu, ginger cheesecakes, white-chocolate Key lime pie and whatnot) along with the Chanukkah gelt bowl.
                  And then we are done for another year. :) Not to mention over it.
                  I hope everyone has a wonderful holiday season; best to you!!
                  Now, tell about those cookies? What kind, how much?

                  1. re: mamachef


                    Next time you do roast beef, you gotta try Yorkshire Salad. A traditional accompaniment from, erm, Yorkshire but also eaten in the rest of the north of England. Easy peasy - just thinly sliced cucumber and onion, marinated in malt vinegar (you could use other posher ones but it won't be quite right).

                    1. re: Harters

                      Interesting, Yorkshire Salad is very popular here in the Southern U.S. Until now I never heard it called anything other than cucumbers and onions in vinegar.

                      1. re: Harters

                        OMG. I LOVE of the malt vinegar, and have never once thought to try that!! This sounds like a marvelous foil to all the rich vittles, as well. I have had the cukes/onions/vin. combo, usually w/ some herbs and even w/ a sprinkling of sugar - make something v. similar w/ Eastern European spices. But this, your way is going on the menu - and I can knock off w/ the other plainish veg., too! Brilliant! Many thanks!

                        1. re: Harters

                          I practically live on variations of cucumber and onion salad in the summer, but have never used Malt vinegar. I can't wait to try it!

                          1. re: Terrie H.

                            Me either. I usually use balsamic. Yum!

                            1. re: Njchicaa

                              Mostly, I use rice wine vinegar for my cucumber salads. I love sherry vinegar when I add onions or tomatoes to my salads. I don't use balsamic, well, ever.

                              1. re: Terrie H.

                                I like the rice wine vineger for my cukes, too. I put serrano peppers and cilantro in mine.

                        2. re: mamachef

                          OMG, I think this is pretty much me Last Meal meal, with about everything I love. Except for the salmon rolls, just because I've never tried them-I adore cukes and salmon so I suspect I would like those too. Yorkshire puddings are God's own food. I love that you do the kugel for your son, too. We make my grandpa's martinis every time my family gets together, even though he's been gone for a couple of decades. It's amazing how food (or, I guess in our case booze) can invoke memories. They will never be anything other than Grampie's martinis.

                      2. re: mamachef

                        We've served prime rib roast several times in the past, but our families (most of whom don't cook) fall upon it like starved hyenas and decimate the thing. Nobody else makes prime rib, either, I presume for the same reason. So I'm saving the prime rib for just us from now on.

                        1. re: EWSflash

                          Haha, I sprang for a whole beef tenderloin one year and one cousin ate at least half of it, leaving not much for the rest of us. I know where you are coming from!

                          1. re: JTilCT

                            Mr. Grant.....Mary Tyler Moore show. Famous scene. He puts the entire roast on his plate at her dinner party.

                        2. re: mamachef

                          I love that concept but if I serve prime rib on Christmas Day I will have a revolt around the dinner table for breaking tradition. I did change the stuffing that was laden with sausage meat to a sweet potato one and that has not passed approval yet. We also have to have a flaming figgy pudding.
                          Prime rib is delicious and elegant and it is dignified for the occasion.

                        3. Turkey.

                          The last several years I have smoked my "free" Thanksgiving turkey at Christmas and served it with barbeque type sides. Potato salad, slaw, baked beans, etc.

                            1. If the weather cooperates, smoked pork butt, a pot of sausage and peppers, coleslaw, potato salad, sugar and fire glazed bananas for dessert Cold beer in the garage, a little red, Makers, and Chivas on the kitchen counter. With the boring and traditional full meals of Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve, I'm ready to try something different. Hafta think up a coupla of apps still

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: BiscuitBoy

                                Deep-fried chickpeas w/ Cajun spicing would fit right in.....

                              2. Country ham. Always and forever. Along with White Lily biscuits, red-eye gravy and, if I can find fresh, deep-fried okra. Ummm, ready for it right now, in fact.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: pine time

                                  You are describing my New Year's feast. Yum!

                                2. Turkey. But if I manage to corral enough eaters, porchetta will be the protein alternative in addition to the bird.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: wattacetti

                                    We have some version of pork (Mr. Pine's least-favorite meat) and saurkraut for NYD. Supposed to be good luck.

                                  2. Too early to say, give me another 2 weeks.

                                    1. I make the same basic traditional Xmas dinner that I've been making for decades & that my mother - who just recently passed away - made for decades before that.

                                      Roast Goose (specifically - Julia Child's "Steam-Roasted Goose With Port Wine Gravy" recipe from her wonderful book "The Way To Cook")
                                      Czech Bread Dumplings with Sauerkraut (also known in our Czech family as "Sinkers with Grass")
                                      A potato gratin (I pretty much try a different recipe every year just for fun)
                                      Butter-Braised Brussel Sprouts (try saying that 3 times fast. . . .)
                                      Another green veggie that changes from year to year depending on what we feel like (last year it was a great & easy Broccoli Blue Cheese casserole)
                                      Whatever Pillsbury roll (Crescents, Grandes, etc.) that hubby wants. He loves 'em.

                                      17 Replies
                                      1. re: Bacardi1

                                        Could you please share the bread dumpling technique? I'm always curious, because I know the traditional method is to form loaves and boil - but my grandmother and mom toasted the bread cubes, and then made medium-sized round dumplings. They also threw them in the oven for a while after boiling.

                                        I was so thrilled way back when when a friend invited me for dinner, and said she would serve them. And then flabbergasted at what was on my plate. [But sooo good, sinkers and all. Either method.]

                                        1. re: nikkihwood

                                          Here you go. I'm 100% Czech on both sides of the family (all the great grand folks were born there). This is my paternal grandmother's recipe for Czech bread dumplings. Quick & easy, & meant to be a plain slate for sauerkraut &/or gravy, so don't expect anything earth-shattering flavor-wise.

                                          BACARDI1 CZECH BREAD DUMPLINGS

                                          2 cups flour + extra for flouring hands
                                          1/2 tsp. baking powder
                                          1 cup whole milk
                                          4 slices of white bread - either stale or toasted, cubed
                                          1 egg

                                          Bring a large pot of water to a full boil. In large mixing bowl, lightly beat egg. Add flour & baking powder & mix again. Add milk & cubed bread & combine thoroughly. With lightly floured hands, form balls of approximate tennis ball size & drop into boiling water. Allow to cook for 10 minutes, then flip balls over & cook for another 10 minutes. (Sometimes the balls resent being flipped, so don’t get to anal over it – if this happens, just roll them over a few times in the water. They’ll be fine.) Remove to a bowl & allow to cool a bit before slicing. (Can be made a day or two ahead, sliced, & microwaved before serving.)

                                          Leftovers are easily reheated in hot gravy or in the microwave, & make a delicious addition to scrambled eggs when cubed & browned in butter.

                                          1. re: Bacardi1

                                            Thanks for posting, I'm excited to try this. We ate lots of these dumplings in the CR, with meat sauce for the main course, then with fruit sauce for dessert.

                                            1. re: Bacardi1

                                              Boy did you bring back memories,when I was a little girl in chicago we had a Department store that served food by Bohemian cooks they always had pork sauerkraut and the dumplings, my mouth is watering just thinking about it, my question to you is this on the pork roast did they braise the pork or bake it??
                                              As for the dumplings I'm going to order them from Josies Bohemian dumplings,have you ever heard of that Company??? am jus getting too old to do all that cooking so short cut's help.

                                              1. re: mutti

                                                Oh mutti - you've made me cry. I should have quantified that my saying I was 100% Czech was really that I am 100% Bohemian Czech. I just looked up "Josie's Bohemian Dumplings" & am crying. My dear mother's funeral was yesterday, & now I'm bawling just looking at the list of Knedliky (dumplings) & all the sauces/gravies that my parents & grandparents used to make - some of which I still do. (Chicken in Sour Cream Dill Gravy with Knedliky is still a favorite around here.) In addition, my great aunt's name was "Josie", & she made the best Knedliky ever. And the Kolaczky - another favorite my grandmother used to make. And my grandmother's tripe soup. Ahhh - talk about comfort food.

                                                With reference to your question about the pork normally served with the dumplings, in our household it was ALWAYS a fresh pork roast - not braised. But then dumplings were served with everything - "Beef Pot Roast with Gingersnap Gravy", "Chicken in Sour Cream Dill Sauce", always with Roast Duck &/or Roast Goose. Czech bread dumplings were (& still are) the very best thing to sop up all those delicious gravies & sauces.

                                                But re: "Josie's Bohemian Dumplings" - please do come back here & post a review as to how you liked their product(s)!!! I'd really be interested.

                                                  1. re: mamachef

                                                    Thank you. She passed the night before Thanksgiving. It's been hard here the last few days. SHE was the reason I'm not only a "foodie", but also a big-time gardener.

                                                    I'm already having to catch myself by finding things & saying - "This will be great for mom for Xmas". Sigh.

                                                    1. re: Bacardi1

                                                      Oh, Baccardi1, my sincere condolences.

                                                      1. re: Bacardi1

                                                        Bacardi1, just know that you have been VERY lucky to be close to a wonderful mother.

                                                        1. re: sandylc

                                                          Thanks. I know it, & think of it every time I cook something or plant something.

                                                        2. re: Bacardi1

                                                          It takes a while for that to stop, and it never really does. I lost my Mum 3 years ago, and I still find myself saying, "OOh, Mum would love that!". It's difficult I know.

                                                          You have my sympathies.

                                                          1. re: cosmogrrl

                                                            Thank you. It's sad to lose a loved one at any time, but during the holiday season it seems especially difficult.

                                                            1. re: cosmogrrl

                                                              It will be 10 years on December 23rd. I am baking and thinking of her especially today as I made pie. Basically I cook my Christmas sweets in memory of her and it helps. I am very sorry for your loss.

                                                              1. re: Ruthie789

                                                                It will be 12 years in January since I lost my mom. I think of her all the time, but never more than when I bake--she was an amazing baker! It gets easier with time, but it never gets easy. Sending good thoughts to all of you as you carry on, and carry on the family traditions.

                                                                1. re: MsMaryMc

                                                                  Food is love, that`s what really gets transmitted.
                                                                  Holidays always bring out the memories.

                                                    2. re: Bacardi1

                                                      Tennis ball size! yes! This is close to ours - thank you. And oh man, are they good sliced and fried and served with jelly the next morning.

                                                      Ma/Grandma always served them with roast pork.

                                                      And the current issue of Saveur has a close recipe.

                                                      And now I'm thinking something pig and bread dumplings for Christmas!

                                                      Thank you, Bacardi -

                                                      1. re: nikkihwood

                                                        You're welcome!

                                                        They start out tennis-ball size, but once they hit the water & poach for a few minutes they become softball-size.

                                                1. No question about it!! ...Smoked Ham ~~~ Smoked Duck and Andouille Gumbo with a handful of raw oysters thrown in at the very last minute ;). ~~~ Cornbread Dressing ~~ Pecan Pie, and always a few raw oysters for starters. ~~ What else the little brown-eyed girl has in mind?....I don't have a clue.

                                                  1. Ham! With plenty for leftovers/sandwiches/soup.

                                                    And on Christmas Eve, usually not seven fishes like my aunties did with a nod to Italian tradition, but three or four, depending on freshness, cost, and availability.

                                                    5 Replies
                                                    1. re: pinehurst

                                                      I can relate Pinehurst, my Seven fishes is down to four: Shrimp, as Scampi and lightly breaded and fried, fried Smelts, Baccala salad and Red Clam Gravy w/linguini. No more eel, Scungili or Calamari. Although each year I alternate between the Calamari and the smelts. Honestly, I always passed on the Scungili but I do miss the eel. No one will eat it now that my parents and aunts and uncles are gone.


                                                      1. re: Jerseygirl111

                                                        You nailed it. I generally do shrimp, smelts, clam and maaaaybe calamari. When I was growing up, everyone was Italian American at gatherings except my mom, who "converted" when she married my dad. :-). Now, I'm the only Italian American in a houseful of my Irish American inlaws, so even the smelts (as sweet and delicious as they are) don't get much of a nod. Thanks for the good memories of the baccala...haven't had that done properly since 1989 maybe?

                                                        1. re: pinehurst

                                                          No problem. Whenever I meet new people, I am always looking for someone that shares my love of the Seven fishes!


                                                          1. re: Jerseygirl111

                                                            We're not italian or even christian but we have embraced the feast of the seven fishes. We add smoked salmon in some appetizer form along with shrimp and often make a stew or chowder with a few more fishes! Linguini with clams for sure...

                                                            1. re: LilyB

                                                              Mmmm. Smoked Salmon. Good.

                                                              I would love to add a Bouillabaisse but alas I fear no one would eat it but me.


                                                    2. Anything but turkey. I already have leftover parts in the freezer and would be happy to see them disappear.

                                                      1. And I was just pondering this before I came upon this post. Christmas will be a bit different this year as my boy will be away for the day. So I'm thinking a family picnic at our local dog park (huge park along the river with everything you could want for everyone) with similar foods to what I made last year (I am trying to get away from the traditional roast turkey thing: it's too hot at Christmas and I don't actually care for turkey that much):

                                                        White Rocks Veal Rack ( http://www.abc.net.au/landline/conten... For anyone who is interested in this award winning veal, produced in collaboration with my local butcher, Vince Garreffa).

                                                        Scotch Fillet Roast on the rotisserie.

                                                        Multiple salads such as roast pear and parsnip, watermelon and black olive, green salad, etc.

                                                        Aioli garmi to nibble on throughout the day.

                                                        Dessert...hmmm, so many options :) I'll have to come back with that one. But I'm sure my mother will bring a batch of her amazing mince pies.

                                                        5 Replies
                                                        1. re: TheHuntress

                                                          Oh and I forgot! Of course plenty of cold seafood for nibbling.

                                                          1. re: TheHuntress

                                                            Are you sure you want to take that fabulous-sounding meal to a dog park?

                                                            1. re: EWSflash

                                                              LOL Our lovely dogs are just as poorly behaved, whether we're at home or the dog park.

                                                              But in all seriousness when I say dog park it really just doesn't do the place justice. It's a gorgeous park on the banks of our beautiful river that just happens to be dog friendly. We've had barbecues and picnics there before and always had a great time with minimal problems (our friends took their young kelpie to play with our young lappie - the kelpie, as kelpies often are, was very, um, energetic and wore our poor lovely lappie out). It's my boys wish to have everyone together for a gathering, including all the dogs in the family :D Should be fun!

                                                              1. re: TheHuntress

                                                                I agree! Nothing better than fabulous food in a natural setting. Dogs make everything better. Or at least more interesting!!

                                                          2. We normally do a turkey or a sugar-glazed ham (ugh). Once I talked them into a country ham, but I was the only one who liked it.

                                                            I'm hoping to try out a rib roast. It would be my first time, but I did my first turkey this Thanksgiving and it turned out awesome. Hopefully I can keep up a winning streak.

                                                            2 Replies
                                                            1. re: Kontxesi

                                                              Do it! I was terrified of my first Prime Rib (so expensive!) but it really is very easy. Once you do it, you'll be hooked.


                                                              1. re: Kontxesi

                                                                The first time I did a rib roast I was so nervous! What if I ruined the $80 piece of meat?? I followed Anne Burrell's recipe for Standing Rib Roast and it was amazing! I now use it every year and we all love it.

                                                              2. The main dish will depend on who's coming. If it's just the parents and me (as it was for Thanksgiving), we'll probably have lamb. If the extended family joins us, then we'll have either pork roast or ham. The sides will be the same as our scaled down Thanksgiving - Brussels sprouts, green beans, and mashed potatoes. If the extended family attends, we will also have rolls and possibly mac and cheese.

                                                                1. Hmm, not sure. For the 24th, shrimp scampi with linguini, probably. Garlic bread. A big salad, variation on a nicoise. Stuffed mushrooms to start.

                                                                  The 25th, a big breakfast and cake for spouse's birthday. Then vietnamese for a late lunch, early dinner.

                                                                  1. We change it up occasionally, but the go-to Christmas Eve dinner is spiral ham, Swedish meatballs, potato salad, with some kind of green vegetable or salad. Must always add spaghetti with tuna sauce for the SO. This year, we are doing only appetizers, not sure what yet but will make at least one request from each family member.

                                                                    1. Seafood stew (cioppino or moqueca http://leitesculinaria.com/32717/reci... ) and possibly fried oysters on Xmas Eve.

                                                                      Roast goose on Xmas Day, maybe with the Epicurious scalloped potatoes with shiitake mushrooms. Haven't figured out the rest.

                                                                      1. Rib Roast and Yorkshire Pudding and other stuff yet to be determined.

                                                                        1. I do a huge Christmas eve party. Everyone is invited over for apps and drinks, then about 25 people stay for dinner. We have ham, pierogi's, sweet potato casserole, corn, and 'fancy carrots.' for dessert we have a ton of differ Christmas cookies, pie, and birthday cake. (it's my friends birthday too) Christmas day consists of Chinese food and pjs.

                                                                          1. I wish I knew :( We're going up to Wyoming to spend Christmas w/ BF's family. I'm a little scared as to what we'll be having... these are the Watergate salad makers!!!

                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                            1. re: juliejulez

                                                                              Aw...Watergate Salad isn't so bad....if you like sugary, chalky things, that is.

                                                                            2. Christmas changes every year at my parents' house. Last year I hit up Di Palo's and Murray's before leaving the city for a variety of cheeses, cured meats and antipasti, so we did an Italian appetizer feast on Christmas Eve that required almost no cooking at all! Christmas Day we had lamb chops, which were a hit with everyone and may be repeated. If not, I might lobby for duck or goose, or maybe even lobster (although that would require making something else for my mother, since she doesn't eat shellfish). And if an irresistible idea pops up on this thread, I will steal it without shame!

                                                                              1. A pork roast stuffed with fruit, shallots, and croutons, in a port wine reduction...asparagus with walnuts and feta...some kind of potatoes...and still deciding on dessert, but leaning towards a brown-sugar layer cake with caramel buttercream frosting.

                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                1. re: MsMaryMc

                                                                                  Lovely and scrumptious-sounding, MsMary. Enjoy the holiday season!!

                                                                                2. I've just about talked myself into making a Bûche de Noël for dessert (first task: learning to pronounce it). This is dangerous territory for me--my food usually tastes good, but making it look all pretty and perfect is NOT my strong suit. I'm drawing the line at meringue mushrooms, Martha Stewart be damned. But I found a recipe from Bon Appétit for a caramel-pecan-chocolate version that sounds fabulous, and do-able. Wish me luck!

                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                  1. re: MsMaryMc

                                                                                    A: Boosh d' No-el. :)
                                                                                    B. It'll be GREAT. LUCK!!

                                                                                  2. Christmas Eve is seafood gumbo to start followed by roast duck with various sides including mashed potatoes. Christmas Day is Prime Rib with Yorkshire pudding and various sides.The 26th is a lot of wonderful leftovers!

                                                                                    1. Christmas eve: Varies -- often a fish soup, like crab stew or lobster bisque.

                                                                                      Christmas day:

                                                                                      Morning: Pancakes and Turkey Gravy
                                                                                      Evening: Gravlax, Roast Beef with horseradish sauce, garlic scalloped potatoes, some sort of green vegetable (often a spinach pie with phyllo to satisfy the non beef eaters), sometimes another green vegetable, steamed persimmon pudding with hard sauce.

                                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                                      1. re: Savour

                                                                                        Ah, do you live in the UK? (Sounds reallly good, BTW)

                                                                                      2. Ham with my family and whatever difficult to make goodies they can extract from my weary hands. Everybody loves the family recipes and no one else will make them. Usually piergois on the side with a bitter escarole salad. And then everyone fights over the cookies all of which are a PITA to make and utterly delicious.

                                                                                        Roast beast with Mr. JudiAU is actually more formal.

                                                                                        1. We are always tired of the turkey/ham and sides after Thanksgiving, so we started a tradition more than ten years ago. I cook the majority of all our get together meals, so I get to choose what we eat. Yay me! ;-). This year it's Mexican food. I haven't decided on the final menu, but will have some type of enchiladas, tacos, beans, rice, apps, etc. Last year was Italian. Lasagna,, bread, salad, apps... I always look forward to this Christmas Eve meal much more than turkey day.

                                                                                          5 Replies
                                                                                          1. re: TXMandy

                                                                                            That sounds yummy. You know, my mom asked me yesterday if we should have ham for Christmas.

                                                                                            Here's the thing about ham. I just don't consider it special enough for Christmas. Ham is ham. It's O.K., but not Christmas food to me.

                                                                                            Neither is turkey. I don't get the love for turkey. I bowed to others this year and made one. Ho-hum. The traditional sides can be great if well-made, which is why MY tradition is to make them alongside duck/s.

                                                                                            My Christmas traditions are appetizers on the eve, and rib roast on the day. With a great breakfast on the day, also.

                                                                                            1. re: sandylc

                                                                                              Funny. I think ham wins over turkey. At our preschool thankgiving potluck, with a population that is at least 25% vegan, someone brought a big ham for the first time. 15 pound ham was picked clean before 1/8 of the turkey was gone.

                                                                                              1. re: JudiAU

                                                                                                I agree. Ham is at least better than turkey. I like ham well enough, but I will only eat turkey if there is nothing else offered.

                                                                                                1. re: sandylc

                                                                                                  +1. Ham and turkey are at the bottom of my list of preferred meats. I cook a turkey every year for Thanksgiving, eat some skin and pawn the leftovers off on guests. I would eat the meat if I were starving, but I would never choose it and prefer to fill up on side dishes at Thanksgiving rather than waste stomach space on turkey.

                                                                                                  Ham, on the other hand, can be tasty, especially if it's got a nice crispy layer of fat and a delicious rub or glaze - but I certainly wouldn't call it special. If I'm served ham, I'll generally eat and enjoy one serving, but I would never make it for myself.

                                                                                          2. I'm thinking filet mignon, sauteed shrimp, potato gratin, asparagus and homemade rolls.

                                                                                            Haven't decided for Christmas Eve or any desserts yet. French onion soup may hit the eve menu. I've always wanted to make it and never have.

                                                                                            1. Yep...turkey again. Basically the exact same meal as Thanksgiving. Only change is the dessert. Thanksgiving is pumpkin pie. Christmas is Christmas pudding with hard sauce.

                                                                                              Funny...no turkey for 10-11 months of the year and then twice in 30 days.

                                                                                              1. We spent a little time yesterday mapping out the festive food, so we can keep our eyes open for supermarket bargain over the coming weeks.

                                                                                                Xmas Eve - Celery soup; roast gammon, fondant potatoes, red cabbage, Cumberland sauce; dessert to be be purchased from supermarket patisserie counter

                                                                                                Xmas Day - Prawn cocktail, turkey, roast spuds, chestnut stuffing, sage * onion stuffing, cranberrt confit, bread sauce, gravy, sausages, sprouts with bacon & hazelnuts, roast parsnips; cheese & fruit; Xmas pudding, brandy sauce

                                                                                                Boxing Day - Salad; beef daube, gratin dauphinoise, veg to be determined; fruit

                                                                                                All subject to change

                                                                                                7 Replies
                                                                                                1. re: Harters

                                                                                                  I am intrigued by your "roast gammon." I have only heard of gammon in Norah Lofts novels, where some poor medieval peasant was always eating a meager plateful of gammon and peas. I had assumed it was some undesirable bit of the pig...but roasted with Cumberland sauce sounds fancy!

                                                                                                  1. re: littlemissmuffin

                                                                                                    In the UK, "gammon" is a leg of pork which has been cured in the same way as you would cure other parts of the pig to make bacon. It's sold as a joint which is soaked, simmered and then finished in the oven - say in something like this recipe (http://www.bbc.co.uk/food/recipes/hon...) - and is very traditional Xmas food. It is not cheap - the free range joint we've bought was £13 per kg.

                                                                                                    It's also sold in slices to be cooked under the grill or in a pan, much as you might with a pork chop.

                                                                                                    Leftovers of the roast make THE BEST ham sandwiches - lots of English mustard on them, of course.

                                                                                                    1. re: Harters

                                                                                                      Is gammon just the UK phrase for ham or is there a distinction between ham and gannon?

                                                                                                      1. re: kengk

                                                                                                        Distinction. Ham is ready to eat, while gammon needs cooking (as bacon does).

                                                                                                        Some more detail on this link. Go to the "gammon" section at the bottom of the page and take the link to the "Master butcher's guide to gammon"

                                                                                                        I assume that it's the same etymology as "ham", the French "jambon" and the Spanish "jamon"

                                                                                                        1. re: Harters

                                                                                                          A useful distinction it seems to me. Here in the US, it's all "ham" and you have to determine by reading the package, examining the meat, or just know common practice to know if it is a cooked or uncooked product.

                                                                                                          1. re: Harters

                                                                                                            Harters, you're an inspiration to me for learning UK terminology, foods, and techniques. Just wanted to say thanks for all of your posts!

                                                                                                            1. re: pine time

                                                                                                              Thank you so much, pine. Appreciated.

                                                                                                              We learn about each others food cultures.

                                                                                                  2. Christmas Eve dinner is here with the in-laws and another couple. Shrimp cocktail, cheese and crackers, stuffed mushrooms, and a cream cheese/wasabi/soy sauce block (sounds weird but delish) for apps. Dinner will be Anne Burrell's Standing Rib Roast, Alex Guarnaschelli's Grilled Romaine Salad, mashed potatoes, roasted vegs (cooked with roast) and creamed spinach. Dessert will be whatever my MIL brings.

                                                                                                    Christmas Day dinner is at my parents' house. We have homemade ravioli, sausage/braciole/meatballs, green salad, Italian bread, etc. I've never had a traditional meal for Christmas.

                                                                                                    Today is actually ravioli day. 8 of us get together and bang them out. Last year we made 800 which was enough for two separate Christmas dinners (family is just too big these days to do under one roof) and we each got to take a bag home to enjoy another time. The filling is spinach, ricotta, ground beef, Parmesan cheese, nutmeg, egg, and I think that's it. Cook in chicken broth and serve with your favorite red sauce. Yum!

                                                                                                    1. Stone crabs, champagne, roast duck, roasted brussels sprouts, key lime pie.

                                                                                                      1. Well, this year I am going to be with my sister's family in S. Pasedena, so we do it a little differently in sunny So Cal that what traditions are when we are in SEA....
                                                                                                        My birthday is the 23rd, and still not sure what we are doing for that - possibly out to a GREAT thai resto in Pasedena I love; followed by a custom concert of music from her talented 3 children, who all write music, perform and have also done alot of musical theatre in the area. Pretty awesome!
                                                                                                        Christmas eve is a great casual SoCal tradition; we order tamales from 'the tamale lady' and have a feast of several kinds, then go to a candlelight church service with lots of music.

                                                                                                        Christmas morning is gifts and cinammon rolls, with scrambled eggs and bacon making an appearance later after most gifts are done.

                                                                                                        Dinner will be mid-afternoon and will be butterflied grilled leg of lamb, big spinach salad, potato gratin (ala moi, from the Frenchman's recipe), and the rest TBD..... including desert. My brother-in-law is lobbying for the tiramisu I did from last years gathering on the OR coast just following Christmas. He may win that one, as can be done ahead and easy.

                                                                                                        A walk in the park or some informal soccer will most likely follow the meal, as the weather is usually so fine - looking forward to good company, good food, and some sun!