Recipe for a Very Special Christmas

Christmas is a time we spend with those we love. It’s the scent of spices coming from the kitchen and the sense of inner warmth. Now, what if instead of the carp, you had some rice noodles with shrimps this Christmas Eve? What would your family say if you served some Coquito instead of the dried fruit compote?

Christmas Taste Swap is an unusual cookbook taking you on a journey of flavours across the world, from the Philippines to Puerto Rico. Twelve traditional dish recipes prepared in cooperation with VMLY&R teams from Europe, Asia, Africa, and both Americas. Collecting recipes from all over the world was much faster than preparing the Foie Gras and the photo shoot took half the time of cooking the dish from Portugal. But it was well worth it!

Today, we’re giving you an array of culinary discoveries and wishes for this Christmastime and New Year’s to be even more magical. After all, there’s nothing better than exchanging experiences and inspirations! And who knows, maybe next year you won’t be able to imagine Christmas without Houbový Kuba?

VMLY&R Poland wishes you a tasty and happy Christmas and an equally delicious New Year!

Christmas Recipes
Serves: 24
Time: 60 min

At first, we started wondering what minced meat was doing in pastries. Then it turned out that it was all about an ordinary mix of nuts and dried fruit...

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Ingredients:

  • 100 g  mincemeat
  • 25 g  chopped dried cranberries
  • Grated zest of two  clementines
  • 20 ml  sherry or brandy
  • 250 g  puff pastry
  • 1  package of phyllo dough
  • 50 g  clarified butter
  • 1  egg
  • 50 g almond flakes
  • Flour for dusting
  • Powdered sugar for garnish

Preparation:

  1. Mix the mincemeat, clementine zest, cranberries, and sherry or brandy in a bowl.
  2. Roll out the puff pastry into a rectangle sized about 20 x 40 cm, 2-3 mm thick.
  3. Spread a thin layer of the mix from the bowl over the pastry, leaving 1 cm of space along the edge.
  4. Roll up the pastry lengthwise, place on a tray dusted with flour, and put in the fridge.
  5. Preheat the oven to 200 °C.
  6. Take two muffin trays (each able to hold 12 pies) and carefully grease with clarified butter. Cover each tray with 1 layer of phyllo dough (press the dough into each hole). Spread with butter and cover the tray with another layer of phyllo dough.
  7. Take out the puff pastry from the fridge and cut out 24 round bases. Put the bases (flat side down) into the muffin trays.
  8. Grease the bases with butter, sprinkle with almond flakes, and put in the oven for about 25 mines.
  9. Cool and dust with powdered sugar.
Serves: 6-8
Time: 60 min

It looked easy enough, but finding a special baking tin and making the perfect yeast dough turned out to be quite a challenge!

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Ingredients:

  •  4  tablespoons warm milk
  •  14 g  instant dry yeast
  •  100 g  caster (extra-fine) sugar
  •  250 g  soft butter
  •  5  medium eggs
  •  2  teaspoons vanilla extract
  • Grated zest of  1  lemon and  1  orange
  •  500 g  all-purpose flour
  •  160 g  raisins
  •  3  tablespoons dark rum
  •  100 g  candied lemon and orange peel
  •  30 g  roasted almonds, roughly chopped
  •  1  egg white
  •  1  tablespoon powdered sugar

Preparation:

  1. Grease a panettone tin or a 20 cm deep cake tin with butter.
  2. Mix the yeast with the warm milk and add 1 teaspoon of sugar.
  3. Blend the remaining sugar together with the butter, vanilla extract, and lemon and orange zest.
  4. Add the eggs a little at a time to the sugar and butter – while stirring all the time.
  5. Place the flour in a large bowl and mix with a pinch of salt.
  6. Make a well in the centre. Add the yeast mixture then the butter and egg mixture.
  7. Knead for 15 mines in the bowl until it starts to come together (the dough should be stretchy and should no longer stick to the hands).
  8. Leave in a warm place for 2 hours for the dough to rise.
  9. Place the raisins in a small saucepan with the rum and heat gently over low heat for 5-7 mines until the fruit has absorbed the liquid. Set aside to cool.
  10. When the dough is risen, tip it out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for another 5 mines. Gradually knead in the soaked raisins and chopped candied peel.
  11. Shape the dough into a ball and put into the prepared tin.
  12. Preheat the oven to 180 °C (fan 160°C). Mix together the almonds, caster sugar, and egg white, and gently brush over the top of the panettone.
  13. Place in the oven and bake for 40-50 mines. Leave to cool and when it is cool enough, take it out of the tin and dust with powdered sugar.
Serves: 4
Time: 2,5 h

We had a strong impression that this soup is missing... some stock.

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Ingredients:

  •  1  tablespoon flour
  • A pinch of freshly ground black pepper
  •  450 g  beef shank
  •  5  teaspoons vegetable oil
  •  5  tablespoons red wine vinegar
  •  1  cup red wine
  •  3 ½  cups beef broth
  •  2  bay leaves
  •  1  cup cooked chickpeas
  •  1  medium onion
  •  5  medium carrots
  •  2  large potatoes
  •  2  teaspoons salt

Preparation:

  1. Mix the flour and black pepper in a bowl. Add the beef chopped into 2.5 cm chunks and coat them thoroughly with the flour.
  2. Heat 3 teaspoons of oil in a large pan. Fry the meat in batches and flip from side to side until golden brown on each side.
  3. Take out the beef from the pan and add the vinegar and wine. Cook over medium heat, scraping off what was left after frying with a wooden spoon.
  4. Put the meat back into the pan and add the beef broth and bay leaves. Bring to the boil and decrease the heat.
  5. Cover and cook for about 90 mines until the beef is tender.
  6. Add the chopped onion and sliced carrot. Cover and cook for about 10 more mines.
  7. Add the potatoes chopped into 2 cm chunks and cook until the vegetables become tender. Finally, add the chickpeas. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Serves: 4
Time: 72,5 h

We unanimously concluded that this is the perfect alternative to the carp this year.

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Ingredients:

  •  4  salted cod fillets
  •  8  potatoes
  •  100 g  canned chickpeas
  •  240 g  cabbage, cut into large pieces
  •  4  carrots
  •  4  eggs
  •  1  chopped onion
  •  2  cloves of garlic, chopped
  • Olive oil
  • Chopped parsley
  • Salt and pepper

Preparation:

  1. Rinse the cod under water to remove any surface salt and place the fish pieces in a bowl with cold water (with the skin facing up).
  2. Put the bowl in the fridge for 3-4 days (changing the water every 24 hours).
  3. Cook all the vegetables, except for the chickpeas, in salted water.
  4. When the vegetables turn tender, add the fish and cook over low heat for 10 mines.
  5. In the meantime, hard-boil the eggs.
  6. Prepare the sauce using olive oil, vinegar, and garlic.
  7. Add the chickpeas to the fish and vegetables and cook for 2 more mines.
  8. Take the fish and vegetables out of the water.
  9. Serve with the eggs and chopped parsley. Pour the sauce over the whole dish.
Serves: 6-8
Time: 60 min

Although we’re not necessarily jealous of Russia’s sub-zero temperatures, we’re going to remember this dish with flushed cheeks.

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Ingredients:

  • 2 salted herring fillets (skinless)
  • 2 medium beetroots
  • 2 potatoes
  • 2 carrots
  • 1 onion
  • 3 eggs
  • 1.5 cups mayonnaise
  • Salt and pepper

Preparation:

  1. Hard-boil the eggs.
  2. Cook the carrots, potatoes, and beetroots until tender.
  3. Scald the onion then rinse with cold water.
  4. Leave the vegetables to cool, then grate both the vegetables and the eggs coarsely and place in separate bowls.
  5. Chop the herring into small chunks and add pepper and the onion.
  6. Layer the ingredients: herring, onion, beetroots, carrot, eggs, and potatoes in a clear glass.
  7. Turn the glass upside down, placing it on a plate, then raise carefully. Repeat the process until you run out of ingredients.
  8. Decorate the top of each salad with mayonnaise.
Serves: 4
Time: 70 min

Polish cabbage will have to forgive us, but after trying this dish, this year we’re going for barley with mushrooms.

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Ingredients:

  • 1 cup dried mushrooms
  • 1.5 cups cold water
  • 1 cup pearl barley
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup vegetable broth
  • 2 large onions, finely chopped
  • 6 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon caraway seeds
  • 1 teaspoon dried marjoram
  • Salt and pepper

Preparation:

  1. Put the mushrooms in a bowl and cover with 1.5 cup cold water. Place the barley in a separate bowl and cover with water so that there is a 1 cm layer of water above the surface of the grains. Leave both to soak overnight.
  2. Dry and clean the mushrooms – keep the water that was left after soaking. Rinse the barley under running water and dry.
  3. Melt 1 tablespoon of butter on a large frying pan and stir-fry the barley until golden brown. Remember to keep stirring so as not to burn the grains.
  4. Add the mushrooms and 1 cup of the water that was left after soaking the mushrooms.
  5. When the barley absorbs the liquid, add the rest of the water and half of the broth. Cook over low heat for about 40 minutes, stirring from time to time.
  6. On a smaller frying pan, melt the remaining butter and stir-fry the onion and garlic.
  7. Preheat the oven to 175 °C.
  8. Add the onion with garlic, as well as the caraway seeds and marjoram to the cooked barley. Season with salt and pepper.
  9. Put everything in a greased baking dish and bake in the oven for 15 minutes.
Serves: 10-12
Time: 5 h

Franz – thank you! This was definitely the sweetest part of this culinary challenge!

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Ingredients:

  • 120 g soft butter
  • 370 g sugar
  • 120 g flour
  • 320 g chocolate
  • 5 eggs
  • 1 packet of vanilla sugar
  • 125 ml water
  • 200 g apricot jam

Preparation:

  1. Melt 120 g of chocolate in a bowl set over a pan of hot water. In the meantime, blend the butter with the vanilla sugar and 60 g of regular sugar. Add the melted chocolate.
  2. Gradually add egg yolks while stirring all the time.
  3. Preheat the oven to 180 °C.
  4. Grease the baking tin with butter and dust with flour. 
  5. Beat the egg whites with a pinch of salt. Slowly add 60 g of sugar and beat to a stiff froth.
  6. Add the froth and flour to the butter with chocolate. Mix well.
  7. Pour the dough into the baking tin and bake for about 1 hour. Take out the baked cake from the tin and set aside to let it cool.
  8. Cut the dough crosswise into two round halves. Spread the lower half with 50 g of apricot jam and place the second half over it.
  9. Heat up the remaining jam and pour it onto the cake through a sieve. Spread over the top and the sides. Leave to cool.
  10. Break up the remaining chocolate into fine pieces. Cook the water with 250 g sugar over a high heat. Take it off the heat and let it cool so that the liquid does not burn hands. Add the chocolate and melt it in the water with sugar.
  11. Pour the coating glaze over the cake in one smooth motion and immediately spread with a spatula or a very wide knife. Leave to dry at room temperature.
Serves: 10-12
Time: 5

We found out that it’s better to bake them on two trays rather than try to fit them all on one. After that, our Pogácsa needed a little facelift so they didn’t look like challah.

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Ingredients:

  • 600 g flour
  • 150 g pork greaves (optional)
  • 60 g soft butter
  • 20 g yeast
  • 2 tablespoons sour cream
  • 100 ml milk
  • 2 eggs
  • Sugar
  • Salt
  • Hard cheese

Preparation:

  1. Mix the yeast with warm milk and 1 teaspoon of sugar.
  2. Sieve the flour into a bowl, add 1 egg, butter, sour cream, and a pinch of salt. Carefully mix the ingredients and slowly start adding the yeast.
  3. Knead the dough with your hands. The consistency should be similar to that of puff pastry. You can add some water if needed. After kneading, the dough needs to rest for 30 minutes.
  4. Roll out the dough into a rectangle sized about 40 × 30 cm. Sprinkle the pork greaves evenly over the surface. Carefully press the greaves into the dough with a rolling pin. . (optional)
  5. Fold the dough lengthwise, then in half. Let it rest in a warm place for another 30 minutes.
  6. Next, roll out the dough again, fold twice, and set aside for 30 minutes. Repeat the process once again.
  7. Roll out the dough, cut out circles, and place on a baking tray. Spread the beaten eggs over the tops and bake at 180 °C. Towards the end of the baking time, you can put pieces of hard cheese on the tops.
Serves 8
Time: 50 min

From now on, the American Dream will taste like the Green Bean Casserole to us.

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Ingredients:

  • 900 g green beans
  • 4 slices of bacon
  • 3 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 1 small onion
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 4 tablespoons flour
  • 2.5 cups milk
  • 0.5 cup cream (12%)
  • 1 cup grated hard cheese (Cheddar cheese)
  • 110 g chopped pimento peppers
  • 1 cup panko
  • Chicken broth

Preparation:

  1. Trim off the ends of the beans and cook in salted water for 3-4 minutes. Take the beans out of the boiling water and immediately rinse under cold water. Set aside for the beans to cool then drain.
  2. Stir-fry the bacon cut into square pieces, then add the chopped onion and garlic. Keep frying for 3-5 minutes. When golden brown, take the pan off the heat and set aside.
  3. Melt the butter on a separate frying pan. Put the flour onto the pan and mix immediately. Stir-fry for 1-2 minutes, then pour the milk and cream.
  4. Keep cooking and stirring until the sauce thickens. Add salt, pepper, and grated Cheddar cheese. Keep stirring until the cheese melts. If the sauce is too thick, add some chicken broth. Turn off the heat.
  5. Add the pimento peppers, garlic, bacon, and onion to the sauce and mix.
  6. Place the green beans in a heat-resistant baking dish, pour the sauce over the dish and mix carefully.
  7. Sprinkle panko over the entire dish and bake at 175 °C for 30 minutes.
Serves: 4
Time: 60 min

Did you know that it has fewer calories than the Polish herring? We hereby welcome the Philippine alternative to the Polish table. Cheers!

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Ingredients:

  • 900 g rice noodles (1 lb thick)
  • 450 g pre-cooked pork tenderloin
  • 1.5 cups annatto seeds diluted in 1.5 cups water (annatto water)
  • Just under a cup shrimp juice
  • 3 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 1.5 teaspoons black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon chopped garlic
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1.5 cups chicharrón (pork rinds)
  • 450 g shrimp, peeled, pre-cooked
  • A quarter of a lemon
  • 1 cup tinapa flakes
  • 3 hard-boiled eggs
  • 1 tablespoon chopped parsley
  • 2 tablespoons roasted garlic

Preparation:

  1. Cook the noodles according to package instructions.
  2. Sauté the garlic and onion. Add the sliced boiled pork and cook for 3 minutes.
  3. Add the fish sauce and ground black pepper, then pour in the shrimp juice and annatto water.
  4. Add the pounded pork rinds (chicharrón) and shrimp then stir. Simmer for 2-3 minutes.
  5. Place the cooked noodles in a large bowl then pour in the sauce from the frying pan and mix well.
  6. Serve with the lemon, eggs, parsley, tinapa flakes, and roasted garlic.
Serves: 4-6
Time: 30 min

Dried fruit compote may feel threatened – we tried it, we loved it, and we want more!

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Ingredients:

  • 1 cup evaporated milk
  • 1.5 cups sweetened condensed milk
  • 2 cups cream of coconut
  • 1.5 tablespoons cinnamon
  • A pinch of nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup white rum
  • Cinnamon sticks for garnish

Preparation:

  1. Blend all the ingredients together for 3 minutes. Pour the liquid into a bottle and put in the fridge.
  2. Serve chilled, sprinkled with cinnamon or nutmeg.
Serves: 10
Time: 30 h

We tried it and the only thing we can say now is: merci, délicieux!

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Ingredients:

  • 1.3 kg cleaned foie gras (goose livers)
  • 4 teaspoons salt
  • 0.5 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper
  • 3 tablespoons Armagnac
  • 1 mandarin
  • 1 teaspoon sugar

Additionally:

  • Oval ceramic dish 6-8 cm deep (with a cover)
  • A piece of cardboard cut in the shape of the ceramic dish, tightly wrapped in aluminium foil
  • Roasting tin able to hold the ceramic dish
  • 2.5 kg weight 

Preparation:

  1. Preheat the oven to 70 °C.
  2. Sprinkle each piece of the foie gras with salt and white pepper on both sides.
  3. Pour one tablespoon of Armagnac into the ceramic dish, place half of the large pieces of the foie gras in the bottom and press.
  4. Put smaller pieces of the foie gras on top, press, and pour one tablespoon of Armagnac over the meat.
  5. Place the remaining large pieces on top, smooth side up, and pour the remaining alcohol over the whole dish.
  6. Cover the dish and put in the roasting tin. Pour hot water into the tin so that the tin is half full.
  7. Put the roasting tin in the oven, on the central rack, and roast for about 3.5 h.
  8. Take the ceramic dish out of the oven and remove the cover. Place the cardboard over the meat and press with the weight. Leave to cool.
  9. Remove the weight and the cardboard. Cover the dish and put in the fridge for at least 24 h.
  10. It is best to cut the foie gras with a hot knife. Portions of the pâté can be served on a mandarin caramelised with brown sugar.