Christmas Foods - Christmas eve Supper
In the Russian Orthodox tradition, following 40 days of Nativity Lent, the birth of Christ is commemorated with a final Lenten feast. The placing of hay under the tablecloth is in memory of the manger in which the Holy Child was placed by His Mother at His birth.
Completely Lenten, the supper consists of 7, 9 or 12 courses. A candle is lit and the head of the family leads in prayer. An extra place is always set -- for Jesus, either in Spirit, or in the form of a traveler or stranger, for none are turned away on this day without a warm invitation to partake of this Holy Supper.
The supper begins with a spoonful of the traditional Kutya, a cooked wheat or barley kasha, sweetened with honey, poppy seeds and chopped nuts -- for good fortune!
After supper, it is traditional for all to attend a Vesper Service, following which the choir may begin visiting homes to sing Christmas Carols.
To view the text for the Christmas Holy Supper, Please Click
Traditional Foods Served
Two may be chosen from each category -- except soup.
APPETIZERS: lkra (caviar), Kutya, Pick-led Mushrooms, Piroshki (with mushroom or sauerkraut filling), Herring (with beet and onion slices), Baklazhan (eggplant caviar).
SOUPS: Mushroom, Barley, Fish (with dumplings), Borscht, Cabbage, Vegetable.
FISH DISHES: Baked Pike, Trout or other, Fried Filet of Sole or Bluefish, Fish in Aspic, Stuffed Carp, Fishcakes, Fried Smelts, Boiled Lobster.
VEGETABLE DISHES: Potato Pancakes, Boiled Potato (with dill), Baked Sauer-kraut, Baked Sliced Beets, Potato Salad (with beets), Cauliflower (with bread crumbs and margarine topping), Lenten Cabbage Rolls, Pickled Baked Cabbage, "Malosolniyeh" Pickles (freshly dilled).
FRUIT & CAKE: Dried-fruit Compote, Cherry or Blueberry Vareniki, Poppy seed Cake or Roll. Nut Pudding, Apple Strudel, Kissel, Fruit Rolls.
BEVERAGES: Wine, Kvass, Russian Tea (served with preserves and lemon slices)
Soak wheat in 2, cups of water for 4 hours. Cook until desired tenderness. Meanwhile, cook honey with water and add poppy seeds; add nuts. Serve cold with the wheat.
Bake eggplant at 450° until soft to the touch. Remove skin, chop pulp almost to a puree. Fry onions in oil until soft; stir in chopped green peppers and fry 6 min. longer. Skin tomatoes and chop coarsely; add to onions. Add eggplant and all seasoning. Cook uncovered until mixture is thick enough to spread. Chill until ready to serve on black pumpernickel or sesame crackers.
Cook rice until thick. Fry garlic, peppers, 1 onion (minced), 1 celery stalk (chopped finely) and sliced mushrooms in oil. Add to rice and mix well; add seasoning and tomatoes -- but save the liquid. Boil cabbage until leaves can be separated without breaking. Cut raised center vein of each leaf so it will be no thicker than most of leaf. Place about 2 Tbsp of filling in stem end of leaf; roll once, then fold in sides of leaf and con-tinue to roll rest of way. Use all the larger leaves and save the too-small ones to line bottom of roaster. Place Golubtzi in layers, then add the can of tomato soup, the liquid from the canned tomatoes and the other onion, minced, as well as the other 2 stalks of celery, chopped finely; salt and pepper to taste. Bake for 2 hours in a covered roaster in a moderate oven, about 350°.
Fish Fillet With Peppers
Season fish with salt and pepper, and dip in flour. Fry in oil until golden. Add chopped onion and thin strips of pepper and fry until soft. Add skinned and chopped tomatoes, cover and simmer for 10 min. Thicken sauce with remaining flour and serve.
Dilled Fried Potatoes
Boil unpeeled potatoes in salted water. Add a clove of garlic to water. Cool, peel and cut potatoes into large cubes. Slice 2 onions and fry in oil until lightly browned -- then add potatoes, salt and pepper and fry until warmed through and browned. Sprinkle with finely minced dill and serve.
Noodles and Cabbage
Mix cabbage and salt together and let stand 30 minutes. Squeeze out all the liquid. Heat butter or margarine in deep skillet; add cabbage, sugar and pepper. Cook over low heat until cabbage is done, stirring very frequently. Add noodles and toss to blend.
Dried Fruit Compote
Simmer any combination of dried fruit, such as apples, pears, raisins, peaches and apricots in enough water to cover. Add water as needed during cooking, until all fruit is soft and tender. Add sugar to taste and about a one-inch stick of cinnamon; add a strip of lemon rind. If cinnamon is unavailable, a pinch of ground cinnamon may be used. May be served hot or cold, as preferred.