Sponsored By: Two Men and a Truck
Sct Thunderstorms
H 82° L 78°
  • cloudy-day
    Current Conditions
    Sct Thunderstorms. H 82° L 78°
  • partly-cloudy-tstorms-day
    Sct Thunderstorms. H 82° L 78°
  • cloudy-day
    Mostly Cloudy. H 90° L 78°

The latest top stories

00:00 | 00:00


The latest traffic report

00:00 | 00:00


The latest forecast

00:00 | 00:00

Savory dishes add international flare to holiday menu

Savory dishes add international flare to holiday menu

Savory dishes add international flare to holiday menu
Photo Credit: Alberto Martínez AMERICAN-STATESMAN

Savory dishes add international flare to holiday menu

Instead of a ham or roasted turkey at the center of your Christmas dinner, what about pork ribs or spicy beef stew?

Just as Santa Claus looks and behaves a little differently than St. Nicholas and Papa Noel, Christmas dinners around the world are as varied as the way Christians and even non-Christians celebrate the holiday.

One of the universal truths of Christmas is that it inspires a sweet tooth in all of us, but instead of focusing on all the holiday cookies, puddings and fried doughs, let's take a tour of the variety of non-desserts found during Christmas dinner around the world.

Many traditional holiday dishes, like jellied pigs' feet in Sweden, herring salad in Finland, carp in aspic in Canada or goat pepper soup in Ghana, might not be as warmly embraced on American tables, but here are a few savory dishes similar enough to American favorites that you might consider incorporating them into your Christmas feast.

Just like in the United States, most holiday meals abroad are centered around a large cut of roasted lamb, pork, beef or fowl, the main course and side dishes reflecting the kinds of meat and produce available in local markets. Seafood is popular in many places, the most well-known tradition being the Feast of Seven Fishes in Italy.

Filipinos, 83 percent of whom are Catholic, have earned the reputation of having the world's longest Christmas celebration with Christmas decorations and carols filling many homes as early as September. Because the islands are in the middle of trade routes passing through the Pacific Ocean, the Filipinos celebrate a Spanish-influenced "Noche Buena" dinner on Christmas Eve, which features ham, "bola de queso" or Edam cheese, and a hot chocolate called tsokalate. Many families prepare their own version of caldereta, a tomato-based stew featuring beef, chicken, pork or even goat that is thickened with mashed cooked liver.

Even in countries where Christianity isn't the majority religion, Christmas is often celebrated with holiday displays and great feasts. In Ghana, families gather to kill a goat and make a spicy stew using every part of the animal.

Although ham graces many Christmas tables, in Norway, clove-dotted pork belly ribs are traditionally served on Christmas with lingonberry relish, potatoes and sauerkraut. Both roasted and caramelized potatoes are served alongside roasted pork or duck in Denmark, and Sweden has a special Christmas version of a smörgåsbord called julbord that features an array of meats, fish, cheeses, sausages and cold salads.

In Spain, where almond soup is a popular Christmas dish, vendors on the sidewalks throughout the holiday season roast chestnuts and serve them in paper cones to people who are strolling through the streets to look at the impressive light displays.

Wild mushrooms and herring are at the center of Polish Christmas Eve dinners called Wigilia. Many Russians in the Eastern Orthodox Church fast through the month of December until Jan. 6, when they celebrate with a multi-course meatless dinner that features a wheatberry porridge called kutya.

In Central and South America, tamales with every imaginable combination of filling and masa are served around the holiday season, usually with mole or a chile- or tomatillo-based sauce. In places like Australia in the Southern Hemisphere, where Christmas falls during one of the hottest months of the year, families often gather outside for barbecues and picnics.

Although the dishes served might vary, the spirit of getting people together to celebrate the goodwill associated with Christmas is the same from Ghana to Guatemala.

abroyles@statesman.com; 912-2504

Christmas-Spiced Pork Ribs

In Norway, this dish is typically made with ribs that still have the pork belly attached. I used a rack of regular ribs that can be found at most grocery stores, but you could use the fragrant rub and cloves on pork chops or a pork roast as well. Don't have ground anise in your cupboard? Clean out your coffee grinder and pulverize anise, fennel or caraway seeds or star anise.


2 tsp. kosher salt

1/2 tsp. ground pepper

3/4 Tbsp. grated fresh ginger

1/2 tsp. ground anise seed

1 rack pork ribs, about 3 lb.

11/2 Tbsp. whole cloves

1 apple, cubed


Mix together salt, pepper, ginger and anise. Rub mixture all over the pork ribs. Press cloves into the meat, spacing the cloves about an inch apart. Place ribs in a 9-inch-by-13-inch baking dish, cover and refrigerate overnight or at least four hours.

Remove ribs from refrigerator and preheat oven to 500 degrees. Let meat rest at room temperature for at least 30 minutes. Add 1/2 cup water and apples to the dish, cover with aluminum foil and place in the middle of the oven. Bake for 30 minutes. After half an hour, reduce heat to 250 and bake for another 30-40 minutes.

Remove foil cover and turn on the broiler. Move the oven rack to the top third of the oven and broil ribs for 5-7 minutes until meat is starting to brown and the internal temperature reaches 160 degress. Serve with lingonberry jam and cooked apples that have been strained from the pan juices. Serves 4.

- Addie Broyles

Russian Crab Salad

1 lb. picked crab meat

1 lb. new potatoes, boiled and diced

1/2 cup fine diced dill pickles

1 medium white onion, fine dice

1/4 cup green peas

2 Tbsp. fresh dill

1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard

Juice of one lemon

1 crisp sweet apple peeled, cored and fine diced

1/2 to 3/4 cup good mayonnaise

Salt and pepper to taste


Mix all ingredients together well, but gently, until evenly distributed and mayo lightly coats everything. Serve on individual small plates or (as I prefer) on one large platter, nicely decorated with parsley leaves, dill springs, edible flowers, olives, pickle slices, etc.

- Rob Moshein


This rich Filipino stew can be made with chicken, pork or goat instead of beef, and many recipes call for carrots, red bell peppers or other vegetables, so feel free to use what you have. Liverwurst can be substituted for the pâté or omitted altogether, but either makes the stew even more flavorful and thick.


1/4 cup white vinegar

1/4 cup soy sauce

1/4 cup minced garlic

2 lb. cubed beef round or stew meat

2 Tbsp. oil, divided

1 medium onion, chopped

1 green bell pepper, chopped

11/2 cups canned tomato sauce

2 cups beef stock

2 cups peeled and cubed potatoes

1/3 cup green olives, sliced

1 cup peas

1/4 cup liver pâté (optional)

Salt and pepper to taste


Mix together vinegar, soy sauce and garlic in a large bowl. Add beef to marinade and let sit in the refrigerator for at least two hours. Remove meat from the marinade and pat dry.

In a large pot, heat 1 Tbsp. oil over medium-high heat. Brown the beef cubes in two batches. Once all the beef is browned, remove meat from pot and add the rest of the oil. Turn down heat to medium and sauté onions and peppers until the onions are translucent, about 12 minutes.

Return beef to the pan and add tomato sauce and beef stock. Bring to a boil and then cover. Reduce heat and simmer stew for 30 minutes. Add potatoes and cook until softened, about 20 minutes. Add olives, peas and pâté. Stew should be relatively thick. Season to taste and serve over rice. Serves 8.

- Addie Broyles

Caramelized Potatoes

A Danish Christmas dinner usually features both roasted and caramelized potatoes. The salted butter takes away some of the sweetness of this dish, but think of it as an alternative to sweet yam casserole.


11/2 lb. small round potatoes (or 1 large can of canned whole potatoes)

5 Tbsp. sugar

2 Tbsp. salted butter


If using raw potatoes, wash and peel them. Place potatoes in a medium saucepan, cover with water and bring to a boil. Turn down heat and simmer for about 15 minutes, until soft. Drain potatoes and pat dry. (If using canned potatoes, drain and pat dry.)

In a nonstick skillet, heat sugar over medium heat until it begins to melt. Stir sugar frequently as it liquifies and starts to caramelize. When the caramel turns a golden brown, stir in butter until well combined. Add potatoes and stir until coated and potatoes are heated through. Serves 4.

- Addie Broyles

Read More

There are no comments yet. Be the first to post your thoughts. or Register.

The Latest News Headlines

  • Television viewers in Jacksonville looking to cut the cord of traditional cable and satellite services are getting another option. YouTube TV is now available in the Jacksonville-Brunswick market, offering more than 40 live channels and unlimited online DVR storage, for $35 per month. A monthly subscription also comes with six accounts per houshould. More information on how to signup: here. 
  • Florida prisons were placed on lockdown Thursday following reports of security threats.  >> Read more trending news The Florida Department of Corrections announced that it canceled weekend visitation at all institutions for Saturday and Sunday because of a possible security threat. Correction officials said they received information that indicated small groups of inmates at several institutions would try to disrupt prison operations. The lockdown affects more than 97,000 inmates in Florida’s 151 correctional facilities, including major institutions, work camps and annex facilities. The move affects recreational and educational programs, but inmates are not confined to their cells, officials said. The cancellation does not apply to work release centers, department officials said.  
  • One person is dead after a train crashed into a truck on Thursday night in Green Cove Springs. The Florida Highway Patrol said the accident involved an Amtrak train and a truck. The truck had two people inside when it was hit by the train. The train was heading from Orlando to New York and there were passengers on board. None of those passengers were hurt.   FHP said the train was stuck for about an hour. Officials say the crossing rails were working. “As far as I know, they were, they have been, working the entire time we have been out here and the train did just go through a few minutes ago, and they were working at that time,” said Lt. Tina Hall with FHP.  Hearing reports of train vs. car accident. Heading to scene now. @ActionNewsJax — Larry Spruill Jr (@LarryANjax) August 17, 2017 Scene Video: Train vs. car. @ActionNewsJax pic.twitter.com/i5MID2YR2R — Larry Spruill Jr (@LarryANjax) August 17, 2017 Police have this part of the road blocked off. @ActionNewsJax pic.twitter.com/qR8V4GmrpZ — Larry Spruill Jr (@LarryANjax) August 17, 2017 CSX officials just arrived to train vs. car accident. @ActionNewsJax pic.twitter.com/dW3yt1uBmf — Larry Spruill Jr (@LarryANjax) August 17, 2017 Neighbors tell me this is a quiet road. Not a lot of cars travel down this road. @ActionNewsJax pic.twitter.com/AzlxG4qe2s — Larry Spruill Jr (@LarryANjax) August 17, 2017
  • A Cleveland father is upset after he says his son was left on the school bus for hours on his first day of classes. WJW reported that Trevelle Hargrove’s 6-year-old son, Trevelle Jr.,  has special needs. Hargrove said his son fell asleep on the bus. >> Read more trending news Trevelle Jr.  said he was found after he honked the horn of the bus and jumped up and down. A spokesperson for the Cleveland Metropolitan School District said Trevelle Jr. fell asleep on the bus Monday and was there for less than an hour. His father says otherwise. “After an hour and they couldn't tell me what was going on I started to get extremely worried,” Hargrove told WJW. 'I couldn't understand why no one could tell me where my son was.” Hargrove said his son was back four hours later, at 6:30 p.m. “You can’t just forget to do things,” he said. “This isn’t like a normal job where you forget to put the straw in the bag or you forget to clock in or whatever it is you do at a normal job. You can’t do that when it comes to kids.” Hargrove said his son won’t be riding the bus again any time soon. The district is is investigating. Cleveland Metropolitan Schools Chief Communications Officer Roseann Canfora issued the following statement to WJW: “Drivers are trained to follow strict protocols for inspecting every seat at the beginning and end of their routes, and CMSD has a zero tolerance for any violation of these safety guidelines.” The bus driver has resigned. WJW reported they may be terminated pending the outcome of the district’s investigation.
  • The Jacksonville Sheriff's Office is investigating after a man's body was found in the St. Johns River near the Hart Bridge. Police responded Thursday night to the 4500 block of Richard Denby Gatlin Road, near the Arlington Lions Club Park. Police said it appears that the man's body has been in the river for a few days. At this time, foul play is not suspected in the man's death. The man, who appears to be in his 30s to 50s, does not match any missing person descriptions. This is a developing story. Refresh this page, follow @ActionNewsJax on Twitter and watch FOX30 Action News Jax at 10 for updates.

The Latest News Videos