December brings a multitude of holidays with it. Along with that comes traditional cultural recipes by the thousands. There are foods associated with everything from the lesser known celebrations to the largest of all. As I was researching for this blog, I decided that I want to try some from all of them! Many of these dishes have been brought by our ancestors and kept alive through generation after generation. Some changed over time, some stayed exactly the same.
Because many people celebrate multiple holidays I have chosen a few recipes from different cultures that I think you might enjoy.
This first recipe is a favorite for Hanukkah celebrations, also known as the Jewish Festival of Lights.
Latkes with Chives
In a food processor grate onion and potatoes (alternate between the two for a better blend). Sprinkle with salt and transfer to a colander set over another bowl. Set aside. Reserve the liquid that drains. Once the starch settles to the bottom of the liquid, pour off clear liquid and add milky starch into a bowl with the potato and onion mixture.
Add chives, cracker crumbs, eggs and salt and pepper to the potato mixture. Gently stir.
Pour oil into skillet, approx 1/4 inch depth, and heat over medium high heat.
Form potato mixture into balls (1/4 cup) and place into hot oil. Flatten gently to form a patty about 3 1/2 -4 inches across. Fry for about 8 minutes turning once. Transfer to a plate lined with paper towels to drain.
Serve with sour cream our applesauce.
Kwanzaa is a celebration of African heritage and culture. This recipe has so many variations that I had a hard time choosing one!
Salt and pepper the meat. In a large frying pan heat oil and brown meat on all sides and cook until tender. Place meat in a large pot and set aside.
Add the onions and ham to the oil in frying pan. Saute until onion is translucent. Add this mixture to meat in the large pot. DO NOT discard oil.
Add the bouillon, thyme, ginger, 1 1/2 cup water and tomato paste to large pot with the meat and stir well. Simmer for about 10 minutes.
Add rice to the frying pan with the oil and stir to coat.
Add the rice and vegetables to the pot with meat mixture. Stir well and cover. Cook over low heat for 40-50 minutes until rice is tender.
You can add hot pepper to this to give it some 'heat' if you like.
This is a lesser known holiday (to me anyway). Boxing Day. It is celebrated on December 26th in the United Kingdom and countries that previously formed the British Empire.
A very versatile recipe. Add different vegetables to this to customize it to your personal taste.
Preheat oven to 320 degrees. Heat oil in a large oven proof skillet. Brown beef and transfer to a plate. Add bacon, onion and garlic to skillet and cook til it starts to brown.
In a saucepan, simmer wine until reduced by half.
Pour flour over onion mixture then add the wine and 1/2 of the beef broth. Stir and heat to a boil. Add the rest of the broth and return the meat to the pan. Add the thyme and bring to a boil.
Cover and place in the oven for 2 hrs.
Fry the mushrooms with the butter and add to the casserole. Bake an additional 40 minutes until meat is tender.
Sprinkle with parsley just before serving.
Lastly, Christmas. Christmas is the most widely celebrated holiday in the world by Christians and not Christians alike. There is no one traditional meal for Christmas like turkey is for Thanksgiving. It seems to be more of a family tradition for many rather than a cultural norm.
Herb Crusted Roasted Ham
25 minutes per lb
Mix the thyme, rosemary, and tarragon in a small bowl.
Season the ham with salt and pepper. Rub the herb mixture all over the ham and set aside to marinate for about 30 minutes at room temperature.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place the ham in a roasting pan and bake approximately 25 minutes per pound. The internal temperature near the bone needs to reach 150 degrees. Remove from oven and cover loosely with foil and let stand for 30 minutes. Center of ham should be 165 degrees. Slice and serve.
Food, especially certain dishes, is such a big part of holiday celebrations. By making Great Grandmother’s sugar cookies or Uncle John’s favorite salad, we keep memories alive and, in a way, honor that person and their legacy. I hope you have a special recipe or two. If not, there is no better time than now to create that signature dish that will be talked about and prepared for years to come.
HAPPY HOLIDAYS from MARIPOSA FARMS!