For many people, traditions centered around food are some of the most important ones at this time of year. In December, we pull out our favorite recipes for traditional holiday meals, passed down to us through the generations. Many of these recipes only grace our plates once or twice a year, which makes them all the more special. In the spirit of the season, this week I asked my team to share their favorite traditional holiday meals with you.
In addition, I am sharing the traditional Christmas Eve German meal that my mother in law’s family has been enjoying for many years. My husband grew up with this tradition, and I’m pleased that I now get to be a part of it. What are your favorite holiday traditions and foods? Please let us know in the comments below!
Christmas Eve German Feast: Sauerbraten, Potato Balls, and Red Cabbage
4 lb rump roast
½ cup red wine vinegar
½ cup water
2 large onions, sliced
6-8 whole cloves
½ cup flour
7 ginger snaps, crushed
2 tbsp sugar, or to taste
Combine first 6 ingredients in a glass bowl, cover and store in the refrigerator for 4 days. On second day: turn and add more vinegar and water, if needed. Drain meat on a rack, reserve marinade. On the stove in a dutch oven, brown meat on all sides. Add marinade and simmer for 2 hours. Once tender, transfer the meat to a cutting board. For the gravy: Brown ½ cup flour in a dry, hot pan. Add to cooking liquid, whisking out the lumps. Add the ginger snaps and sugar, stir and taste. Slice the meat and return it to the gravy. (Reserve some gravy to serve on the side.)
Kartoffel Klôsse - Potato Balls
6 medium golden potatoes
2 tsp salt
½ cup fine bread crumbs
¾ cup flour
¼ tsp nutmeg
Boil potatoes in jackets. When cooked, peel, then put through ricer. Spread on towel to dry out moisture. Place in a large bowl and season with salt. Make a hollow in the potatoes and add the eggs. Combine, then add the remaining ingredients. Slightly knead on a floured surface, then form into 2 - 2 ½ inch balls. Place on a pan and cover with towels until ready to cook.
To cook: Place balls is salted boiling water. When they come to the top, boil 3 minutes. Remove with slotted spoon and serve. Tastes wonderful with sauerbraten gravy.
Bavarian Red Cabbage
1 large head cabbage (3 lb), shredded
3 tbsp oil or bacon drippings
1 large onion, peeled and diced
2 apples, peeled and chopped small
½ cup red wine vinegar
1 tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt
1 bay leaf
½ cup red currant jelly
Heat a large, deep pot over medium-low heat and cook the cabbage and onion in the oil. Stir until soft and tender, about 10 minutes. Add next 5 ingredients, through the bay leaf, and cook over low heat for 2 hours, checking and stirring often. Then, stir in the currant jelly and bring to a boil, stirring until melted. Serve hot.
Ruby Telthorster’s Family Favorites
“These pinwheels are at every single Telthorster get together. It doesn't matter what the occasion is, someone always makes them. They're delicious, addicting, and we never change the recipe!” - Ruby
1 packet (1 ounce) Hidden Valley® Original Ranch® Salad Dressing & Seasoning Mix
2 green onions minced
2 packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese softened
2¼ ounces sliced ripe olives rinsed, drained
4 12-inch flour tortillas
4 ounces diced chilies rinsed, drained
4 ounces diced pimentos rinsed, drained
Mix cream cheese, dressing mix and onions until blended. Spread on tortillas. Blot dry pimientos, chilies and olives on paper towels. Sprinkle equal amounts of pimiento, chilies and olives over cream cheese mixture. Roll tortillas tightly in Glad® Cling Wrap. Chill at least 2 hours. Cut rolls into 1-inch pieces. Discard ends. Serve with spirals facing up.
Ruby says that one of her favorite memories and traditions growing up was watching “my mom go outside to the herb garden to pick the basil leaves” to prepare a huge batch of pesto. She’d freeze it in small portions and they’d enjoy it over and over again. They use traditional ingredients: basil, garlic, olive oil, parmesan, and pine nuts.
Another Telthorster family favorite is Baked Artichokes, which they prepare by washing and trimming the chokes, steaming them until tender, then stuffing with ingredients like bread crumbs, parsley, parmesan, and pine nuts. They top them with a pat of butter, then bake until golden and tender. “We always mix melted butter with lemon juice to dip the leaves in,” Ruby told me. Yum!!
John Adams’s Herb Roasted Chicken
I can attest, this recipe is out of this world delicious - sweet, salty, and full of flavor!
John’s Chicken Rub
Ingredients: minced garlic, minced shallot, kosher salt, black pepper, dijon mustard, fresh thyme, fresh rosemary, fresh parsley, smoked paprika, dried oregano
John combines all ingredients, to taste, in a bowl to make a rub, then coats a whole chicken with it, inside and out. Roast at 375 for the first 15 minutes, then lower the oven to 350 and continue roasting until the internal temperature reaches 165F.