Christmas Dinner   4 comments

Not your traditional holiday dishes, but here are a few ideas for something a little different on your Christmas table….




This sweet-tart conserve is a luscious accompaniment to ice cream. It also adds a fruity dimension when stirred into champagne.  This is not intended for consumption by anyone who can’t spell Rumtopf properly (or small children) !



12 oz. pitted sour cherries
12 oz. peeled, cored, quartered, and sliced tart apples, such as Fuji, Gala, or Granny Smith
6 oz. blackberries
6 oz. fresh red currants
2 cups sugar
2 cups brandy, plus more
Vanilla ice cream, for serving
Pumpkin seed oil (optional)  and mint sprigs, to garnish


1. Place cherries, apples, blackberries, currants, sugar and brandy in a sterilized 2-qt. glass jar and shake to combine; seal jar with a lid. Let sit at room temperature until fruit is soft and the liquid around fruit is stained red, at least 48 hours. Refrigerate for up to a month.

2. To serve, ladle a spoonful of fruit into a serving dish, and top with a scoop of ice cream; drizzle with oil, garnish with mint and serve immediately.  (oil is optional).




Pommes Duchesse (French Piped Potatoes)

These elegant potatoes,  are brushed with an egg wash before baking for color and crunch.


2½ lb. russet potatoes (about 4)

4 tbsp. unsalted butter, softened

2 egg yolks, plus 1 egg mixed with 1 tsp. heavy cream, lightly beaten

⅛ tsp. freshly grated nutmeg

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste


1. Heat oven to 400°. Using a fork, prick potatoes all over; place on a baking sheet. Bake until tender, 1½ hours; let cool, then peel and pass through a food mill or ricer.

2. Mix potatoes, butter, yolks, nutmeg, salt, and pepper in a bowl; transfer to a piping bag fitted with a ¾” star tip. On a parchment paper-lined baking sheet, and working in a tight circular motion, pipe twelve 2½” cones about 2″ high. Brush with egg mixture; bake until golden brown, 40–45 minutes.




Rösti (Swiss Hash Browns)

Rösti: good potatoes coarsely grated, pressed, and fried. In the dish’s native Switzerland, recipes include bacon, rosemary, caraway seeds, eggs, pasta, cheese (variations)


2¼ lb. russet potatoes (about 3 large)
2 tbsp. lard or unsalted butter
2 tbsp. canola oil
1 tbsp. kosher salt, plus more to taste

1. Place potatoes in a large saucepan, cover with cold water, and bring to a boil over medium-high heat; cook until tender, about 30 minutes. Drain potatoes, and set aside to cool for about 10 minutes. Peel potatoes, then refrigerate until chilled, at least 1 hour. Grate potatoes using the large holes on a cheese grater; set aside.
2. Heat lard and oil in an 8″ nonstick skillet over medium-low heat. When lard has melted, add potatoes, sprinkle with salt, and mix well, coating potatoes with fat. Using a metal spatula, gently press potatoes, molding them to fit the skillet. Cook, shaking skillet occasionally, until edges are golden brown, about 20 minutes.
3. Cover skillet with a large inverted plate, invert the rösti over onto plate, then slide it back into the skillet, cooked side up; cook until golden brown on the bottom, about 20 minutes. Transfer to a cutting board, sprinkle with salt, and cut into wedges to serve.




Irish Soda Bread

Ireland is famous for delicious soda bread made with simple ingredients. It gets its name from the bicarbonate of soda or baking soda used as the leavening agent.


• 5 cups all-purpose flour (plus extra for dusting kneading surface)
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 1 teaspoon baking soda
• 2 teaspoons baking powder
• 4 oz butter (1 stick)
• 3 tablespoons white sugar
• 1 cup raisins (or substitute other dried fruits)
• 1 egg
• 1 and 1/2 cups buttermilk
• 1/2 cup plain yogurt

(I also add walnuts as an optional addition).


1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Sift the flour, salt, baking soda and baking powder into a large mixing bowl.
2. Using a pastry cutter or clean fingers rub the butter into the flour until the mixture looks like coarse meal.
3. Add the sugar and raisins and stir to distribute throughout the flour mixture.
4. Stir the beaten egg, yogurt and buttermilk together in another bowl or pitcher.
5. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture, and add the liquid ingredients. Mix together with a wooden spoon to form a dough.
6. Using your hand, lightly dusted with flour, gently knead the dough into a ball.
7. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and knead gently into a round form about 9 inches in diameter. Do not over knead. This creates a tough bread.
8. Transfer to a lightly greased 9 inch baking pan. Score the top of the loaf with a cross shape to create four distinct quarters or farls.
9. Bake in a 400 degree F oven for 20 minutes, then reduce the heat to 350 degrees F and bake for 30 to 40 minutes more. The loaf is baked when the bottom sounds hollow when tapped or an inserted knife comes out clean.
10. If the bread starts to brown too much early in the cooking process, cover it with a tent of aluminium foil.
11. Remove the bread from the oven and the baking pan. Wrap the bread in a clean dish towel and allow to cool on a wire rack.
12. Serve hot sliced bread with butter.

Love this hot out of the oven with plenty of butter on it.  Yum !




Maiale in Agrodolce  (Sweet and Sour Glazed Pork Chops)

Honey and balsamic vinegar are the sweet and sour agents in this recipe.  These grilled pork chops pair well with stewed sweet peppers



4 10-oz. bone-in pork chops, frenched 3 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper ⅓ cup balsamic vinegar 2 tbsp. honey 4 tbsp. unsalted butter 1 sprig fresh rosemary, torn into 1″ pieces


1. Put pork chops on a plate; drizzle with oil; season generously with salt and pepper; let sit for 30 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, build a medium-hot fire in a charcoal grill or heat a gas grill to medium-high heat. (Can be done in a broiler oven).  Combine vinegar and honey in a 1-qt. saucepan and cook over medium heat until reduced to ¼ cup. Stir in butter and rosemary and set aside.
3. Put pork chops on grill and cook, occasionally turning and basting with balsamic mixture, until browned and cooked through, 12–14 minutes. Transfer to a platter and let sit for 5 minutes before serving.

These are delicious !





Posted December 16, 2013 by PapaBear in Uncategorized

4 responses to “Christmas Dinner

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  1. Yum yum, think I’m going to try the Irish bread, looked so delicious, will see if it works )) Happy holidays, dear Paul! And thanks for not forgetting me 🙂

  2. Hmmm… very tempting, I have to learn from you Paul.
    Have a wonderful holiday season.

    Warm regards,

  3. I want to have Christmas dinner at your house!!

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