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Kristin Bothor

Managing Editor at Kitchen Stories

instagram.com/kristin.bothor

I won’t even try to hide the fact that I LOVE Christmas season, in all its facets—even the bustle, the busy schedule, and the hectic last minute errands.

There are 2 things I connect with Christmas: reunions and memories. The reunion with former colleagues at the Christmas market, with old friends from school in your hometown, and, of course, with your family, where many beloved memories are awakened.

I recently asked my international Kitchen Stories colleagues about their favorite memories and what they associate with Christmas celebrations. I was thrilled and deeply touched by the many beautiful stories that were disclosed to me. One thing I can already reveal is that the Christmas dinner was always in the thick of the action!

As I couldn’t withhold any of these heartwarming anecdotes, I‘m going to share the culinary Christmas traditions of my dear colleagues (and my own) with you today. In addition to that, we’ll also reveal how we prepare our beloved Christmas recipes nowadays—plus, 3 new Christmas-worthy recipes to cook at home!

German classic with a twist

« Ever since I can remember, my family spends Christmas at my aunt and uncle’s house, and every year our unchallenged highlight is Christmas Eve dinner: the traditional roast goose with potato dumplings and kale. Some people in my family (myself included) don't dare to eat a bite throughout the whole day—so we’re able to eat even more in the evening! This year, I'm organizing a pre-Christmas dinner with friends and will try a modern variation of my beloved Christmas dish. Instead of roast goose, I'm going to prepare goose legs and refine the sauce with mandarins, anise, and Pernod. »

Kristin, Food Editor

Using goose legs is much easier than preparing a whole roast goose. Ideally, go for a cast-iron Dutch oven to braise the goose legs evenly. I used a round STAUB Cocotte for my recipe—the special lid helps to preserve all the flavors and the meat will remain tender and juicy.

Afterwards, the goose legs will be roasted in the oven without the lid at high temperature until perfectly crispy. The combination with the anise-mandarin sauce is like a dream come true and tastes like nothing you’ve tasted before. Find the whole recipe with video and step-by-step instructions right here:

Braised goose legs with anise-mandarin sauce

Braised goose legs with anise-mandarin sauce

→ Go to recipe

How to create a modern classic: Christmas ribs

« My grandparents always hosted Christmas dinner at their house when I was growing up and even though we lived in Minnesota, where there's typically plenty of snow on the ground and zero degree (°F) weather, my grandpa would still grill ribs every year. I remember wrapping myself in my heaviest winter jacket, determined to stand outside with him by the grill, only to last for a few short minutes before running back to shelter and warmth inside. The recipe they used was quite standard (albeit delicious and smoked over cherry wood!), so to make my own version of festive Christmas-worthy ribs, I decided to glaze them in a sticky pomegranate-cherry glaze and freshen them up for serving with pomegranate seeds, plenty of fresh lime wedges, and lots of herbs. »

Devan, Food Editor

If you’re thinking “Ribs for Christmas? That really does not fit…,” then you should save Devan's recipe and try it out right now!

Pomegranate-cherry glazed baby back ribs

Pomegranate-cherry glazed baby back ribs

→ Go to recipe

The spices, like the ground cloves, provide a wonderful, Christmassy flavor, while the pomegranate-cherry glaze adds a fruity touch and a modern twist. For the first part of the preparation, Devan used an oval STAUB Cocotte, then glazed the ribs on a baking sheet and roasted them in the oven again.

You can serve the ribs as desired, however Devan recommends slicing them into smaller portions using a sharp chef's knife. Served with plenty of herbs, lime wedges, and pomegranate seeds, this dish promises to be a visual and flavorful highlight at your Christmas table.

Too sweet to be true: Slovenian nut bread

« Potica is a Slovenian recipe for swirled nut bread, passed down to me from my great-grandmother. My family still has the original recipe in her handwriting, worn and splattered from years of use. I have fond memories of my mom and aunts making it every Christmas to snack on or serve with coffee in the morning while opening presents. The traditional filling calls for ground walnuts and raisins, while my American family prefers it with pecans. A generation later, I’ve decided to swap in hazelnuts, an updated spice mixture, and chocolate for raisins. You’d do fine to adjust the filling to your preference as well, so long as you don’t skip the homemade honey butter for serving. »

Julie, Editor-in-Chief

While Devan and I developed our recipes from memory, Julie left nothing to chance and asked her mother for the original (handwritten!) recipe. It must have taken her a while to decipher the code—but it was definitely worth the effort!

After testing Julie’s recipe, the entire Kitchen Stories Team was overjoyed. In less than 10 minutes, the whole cake had disappeared. Some of our colleagues have even vowed to try the recipe for Christmas. Are you also convinced? Go for it! In our recipe video, Julie shows you how to make the sweet Christmas treat at home.

Slovenian-inspired yeasted nut cake (Potica)

Slovenian-inspired yeasted nut cake (Potica)

→ Go to recipe

Christmas around the world: More timeless classics

« Bubble and Squeak is traditionally served on Boxing Day (December 26th), the day after the main Christmas dinner. It is usually made from potatoes, cabbage, or whatever vegetables and herbs you have left from Christmas dinner, which are then mashed up, fried to create a crisp patty or cake, and served with other leftovers such as turkey, or even with eggs, bacon, or sausages if eaten for breakfast. The name comes from the sounds made when cooking it (possibly also the sounds made after eating it). I will probably opt for small vegetarian patties of potatoes, carrots, Brussel sprouts, and mustard, with a breadcrumb cheese crust topped with cranberries, chestnuts, and crispy sage leaves—and maybe also crispy onions. »

Steven, Working Student Content Operations

« In my family, there’s no holiday without the traditional Russian salad, much less Christmas. You can find the recipe in countless variations and each family prepares it a little differently: with chicken, fish, or, as in my family, with meat sausage. In addition to that, it also takes boiled vegetables, mayonnaise, eggs, peas, and gherkins. For me, it tastes the best the next morning, eaten while sitting on the couch with your family and watching the replay of the previous night's show. For a modern twist on this classic, I recommend preparing the salad with rice, tuna sashimi, and sesame—simply delicious! »

Ksenia, Social Media Manager

« One cannot imagine Polish Christmas without the traditional pierogi in mushroom sauce. Pierogi making is collective work: making the dough, seasoning the mushroom filling, and then coming up with the perfect shape. The classic way to make pierogi is to boil them, but, in my family, we decided to rebel: Instead of traditional pierogi dough, we use shortcut pastry (not so sure about the name, to be honest) and bake the pierogi instead. They turn out crispy and wonderful. »

Paulina, Lead Video Producer

Do you have a favorite traditional Christmas dish or do you try something new every year? Tell us in the comments!

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