Traditional Holiday Food Recipes

Bored of your typical holiday food spread? Add one of these traditional recipes from around the world to your menu for a multicultural touch.

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Pernil Asado, Latin America

Recipe from Havana Central


Serves 5-10 people


  • 10 pounds pork butt or pork shoulder (yield 6-8pounds)
  • 4 ounces apple cider vinegar
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 14 ounces canned pimento drained
  • 16 ounces manzanilla olives
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 20 garlic cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon granulated garlic
  • 1/4 tsp cumin
  • 8 ounces orange juice
  • 8 ounces lime juice
  • 16 ounces olive oil

1. Cut 1 inch holes all over pork butt/shoulder. Fill each hole with garlic clove. In a large mixing bowl mix all other ingredients together. Place pork butt/shoulder into bowl and marinade over night.

2. In a 325°F (160°C) oven, it will take between 35 and 40 minutes per pound to reach a center temperature of 160°. Approximate cooking time is 5-6 hours.

Havana Central

Moro con Cristianos, Eastern Cuba

Recipe from Havana Central


2 strips bacon chopped
1 ¼ tablespoons Corn oil
¼ cup sofrito
½ Tablespoons Garlic, whole clove, peeled
2 tablespoons chopped onion
¾ cups Black bean Strained
2 cups Rice
½ Tablespoons Salt
1 leaf Bay leaf
Pinch Cumin
Pinch Black Pepper
¼ Cup Red wine
¼ tablespoon Cilantro chopped
¼ teaspoon Oregano


1. In a pot add the oil, garlic, onion, pepper, bay leaves, cumin, oregano, and bacon – Cook for 3 minutes.

2. Add the cooked beans and heat for 3 minutes.

3. Add the water, salt, wine, and cilantro.

4. When water begins to boil, add rice and cook – lower flame and cover.

5. Cook for 25 minutes or until done.

Havana Central

Handmade Dumplings, China

Recipe from The Macy's Culinary Council Thanksgiving & Holiday Cookbook by Ming Tsai


Makes about 70 wrappers


  • 4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for kneading and dusting
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups boiling water for shaping
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tablespoons water


To mix the dough by hand: In a large heatproof bowl, stir together the flour and salt. Add the boiling water in 1⁄4-cup increments and mix with chopsticks until a ball forms and the dough is no longer too hot to handle. You may not need all of the water. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead until smooth and elastic, 15 to 20 minutes. If the dough feels sticky as you knead, mix in more flour 1 tablespoon at a time. Shape the dough into a disk, wrap tightly with plastic wrap, and let rest at room temperature for 1 hour.


To mix the dough in a stand mixer: In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, stir together the flour and salt. On low speed, gradually add the boiling water until the flour mixture is evenly moistened and forms a ball. The dough should not be sticky. If it is sticky, mix in more flour 1 tablespoon at a time. Very lightly flour a work surface, place the dough on it, and bring the dough together into a disk. Wrap tightly with plastic wrap and let rest at room temperature for 1 hour.


To roll out the wrappers: Liberally flour the work surface and place the dough on it. Divide the dough in half and leave one-half covered. Shape the other half into a log, then roll it back and forth under your palms into a rope about 1 inch in diameter and 18 inches long. Cut the rope into about 35 1⁄2-inch pieces. Stand 1 piece on end, flatten it with your palm, and, using a lightly dusted rolling pin, roll out the dough into a circle about 3 inches in diameter and 1⁄16 thick. (You can also use a tortilla press to make the dough circles.) Roll the edges of the dough circle a little thinner than the center, so when you double them over around the filling, they will be the same thickness as the rest of the wrapper. Repeat with 4 more dough pieces, then fill the 5 wrappers as directed below. Roll out and fill the remaining dough pieces the same way, and then repeat with the remaining half of the dough.

It is important to roll out only 5 wrappers at a time and fill them right away because the wrappers dry out quickly and they cannot be stacked without sticking to one another. If possible, recruit a coworker, so that one of you can roll out the wrappers and the other can fill them.

In a small bowl, whisk together the egg and water to make a wash. Have ready 2 baking sheets very lightly dusted with flour or 2 nonstick baking or cookie sheets.


To form the dumplings: Lay 5 wrappers on a work surface. Place 11⁄2 teaspoons of the *filling in the center of each wrapper. Avoid getting any filling on the edges of a wrapper, which would prevent it from sealing properly. With a finger or pastry brush, paint the circumference of each wrapper with the egg wash. Fold each wrapper in half to form a half-moon, then press the edges together to seal. Holding the dumpling in one hand, and starting at the center of the curved edge, make 3 evenly placed pleats, working toward the bottom-right corner. Again starting at the center of the curve, make 3 more pleats, working toward the bottom-left corner. Press the bottom of the dumpling gently on the work surface to flatten it so it will stand upright. As the dumplings are formed, set them on the prepared baking sheets. Cook them in one of the following ways.


To pan sear the dumplings: Heat a large, nonstick lidded saute pan over high heat. When the pan is hot, add about 2 tablespoons canola oil and swirl to coat the pan bottom. When the oil is hot, arrange the dumplings, flattened bottoms down, in 2 or 3 rows of 5 dumplings each. Cook the dumplings without disturbing them until the bottoms are browned, 3 to 4 minutes. Add about 1⁄2 cup water and immediately cover the pan to avoid splattering. Lift the cover and make sure the water in the pan is about 1⁄8 inch deep. If it isn’t, add more water as needed. Re-cover the pan and cook the dumplings until they are puffy yet firm and the water has evaporated, 8 to 10 minutes. If the water evaporates before the dumplings are done, add more water in 1⁄4-cup increments. If the dumplings appear done but water remains in the pan, drain off as much water as possible and return the pan uncovered to high heat to evaporate any remaining liquid. Continue to cook uncovered until the bottoms of the dumplings are once again crisp, 2 to 3 minutes. Be careful they do not burn. Transfer the dumplings to a platter.


To steam the dumplings: Use two 12-inch stacking bamboo steamer baskets with a lid and a wok with its lid. Place 1 basket in the wok. Add water to the wok, filling to 1⁄2 inch below the bottom of the steamer basket (once the water is boiling, it must not touch the basket). Remove the basket from the wok, cover the wok, and bring the water to a boil over high heat. Oil the racks of both steamer baskets with canola oil. Arrange the dumplings, flattened bottoms down, in 2 or 3 rows of 5 dumplings each, making sure the dumplings do not touch. Stack the steamer baskets in the wok over the boiling water and reduce the heat to medium. Cover the top basket and steam the dumplings until the filling feels firm when a dumpling is pressed with a fingertip, about 12 minutes. Remove the baskets from the wok and transfer the dumplings to a platter.


To boil the dumplings: Bring a large pot three-fourths full of water to a boil over high heat. Working quickly, add 12 or 15 dumplings, one at a time, and then immediately stir them gently so they don’t stick together. Bring the water back to a boil, and as soon as the dumplings start to float to the top, add 1⁄2 cup cold water (the cold water slows down the cooking process, which allows the filling to cook and keeps the water from boiling so hard that the dumplings break apart). Once the dumplings start to float again, taste one to see if it is done. If not, add another 1⁄2 cup cold water and wait until the dumplings float again. When the dumplings are ready, using a slotted spoon or a skimmer, transfer them to a platter, being careful that they do not touch or they will stick together.


*Recipe for filling on next slide

The Macy's Culinary Council

Traditional Pork and Ginger Dumpling Filling, China

  • Recipe from The Macy's Culinary Council Thanksgiving & Holiday Cookbook by Ming Tsai
  • Filling makes about 60 dumplings
  • 1 cup finely shredded cabbage
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more to season
  • 1 pound ground pork
  • 1⁄4 cup minced, peeled fresh ginger
  • 11⁄2 teaspoons Asian sesame oil
  • 1⁄2 cup thinly sliced scallions (white and tender green parts)
  • Freshly ground black pepper


1. Put the cabbage in a sieve placed over a bowl. Sprinkle the cabbage with the 2 teaspoons salt and let stand for 30 minutes. Rinse the cabbage, drain well, and then chop finely.


2. Prepare a large ice bath. Set a medium bowl over the ice bath. In another medium bowl, combine the cabbage, pork, ginger, and sesame oil and mix well.


3. Fold in the scallions and season with salt and pepper. In a small saute pan or in a microwave, cook a small nugget of the filling, then taste and adjust the seasoning if needed.

The Macy's Culinary Council

Pork Belly Ssäm, Japan

Recipe from Momofuku by David Chang and Peter Meehan


Serves 4 to 6


Pork Belly
One 3-pound slab skinless pork belly
1⁄3 cup kosher salt
1⁄3 cup sugar


*Mustard Seed Sauce
2 cups Short-Grain Rice
2 to 3 heads Bibb lettuce, leaves separated, well washed, and spun dry
Maldon or other high-quality coarse sea salt

1. Nestle the belly into a roasting pan or other oven-safe vessel that holds it snugly. Mix together the salt and sugar in a small bowl, and rub the mix into the meat; discard any excess salt-and-sugar mixture. Cover the pan with plastic wrap and put it into the fridge for at least 6 hours, and as long as 24.


2. Heat the oven to 450°F.


3. Discard any liquid that has accumulated, put the belly in the oven, and cook for 1 hour, basting it with the rendered fat at the halfway point, until it’s an appetizing golden brown.


4. Reduce the oven temperature to 250°F and cook for another 30 minutes or so. The belly should be a little resistant, a little firm, shy of jiggly tenderness. Remove the pan from the oven, decant the fat and the meat juices from the pan, and reserve. Allow the belly to cool somewhat.


5. When the belly is cool enough to handle, wrap it in plastic wrap or aluminum foil and put it in the fridge until it’s thoroughly chilled and firm. (You can shortchange this step if you’re pressed for time, but the only way to get neat, nice-looking slices is to chill the belly thoroughly before slicing it.)


6. Light a good hot fire in your grill.

7. Cut the pork belly into 1⁄2-inch-thick slices that are about 2 inches long. Grill the pieces of belly until well browned on one side, about 2 minutes. (We typically turn them 45 degrees at the midway point to get a crosshatch of grill marks on the meat. Do so if your grill grate gets hot enough; if not—and most home grill grates, like those that come with kettle grills, don’t—just get a good, even char.)


8. Serve the grilled belly warm with the accompaniments.


*Recipe for Mustard Seed Sauce on next slide


Mustard Seed Sauce

  • Recipe from Momofuku by David Chang and Peter Meehan
  • Makes about 1 cup
  • 6 tablespoons Pickled Mustard Seeds
  • 3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon Chinese hot mustard
  • 3 tablespoons mayonnaise, preferably Kewpie
  • 3 tablespoons thinly sliced scallions (greens and whites)
  • 3 tablespoons diced Quick-Pickled Cucumbers
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper


Combine the mustard seeds, Dijon and Chinese mustards, mayonnaise, scallions, and cucumber in a small bowl and stir until evenly mixed. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Store in the fridge, and use within a day or two.


Corned Beef with Parsley Sauce, Ireland

Recipe from The Country Cooking of Ireland by Colman Andrews


Serves 4


  • 2 lb/1 kg corned beef, preferably bottom round (sometimes labeled “silverside” or Brisket)
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 2 Tbsp white flour
  • 3/4 cup/175 ml milk
  • 2 tsp minced fresh parsley
  • 1/2 tsp English mustard
  • Pinch of nutmeg
  • Salt and pepper


1. Put the corned beef, carrots, and all but about 1 Tbsp of the onion into a large pot, cover with water, and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium-low, and skim the foam from the surface of the water. Cover and simmer for about 2 1/2 hours, or until the corned beef is tender. Remove from the liquid, wrap in foil, and set aside. Reserve about 3/4 cup/175 ml of the cooking liquid.


2. Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Mince the reserved onion and add to the butter. Cook for about 1 minute, then whisk in the flour and cook for about 1 minute more. Add the reserved cooking liquid, milk, parsley, mustard, nutmeg, and salt and pepper to taste, whisking the ingredients together until smooth. Cook 4 for 5 minutes more, whisking constantly, until the sauce thickens.


3. To serve, slice the corned beef and spoon the sauce over it.

The Country Cooking of Ireland

Colcannon, Ireland

Recipe from The Country Cooking of Ireland by Colman Andrews


Serves 4 to 8


  • 2 to 2 1/2 lb/1 kg to 1.25 kg russet or other floury potatoes (5 or 6)
  • 6 to 8 Tbsp butter
  • 2 to 3 lightly packed cups/400 to 800 g chopped kale or assorted chopped greens (such as kale, parsley, sorrel, spinach, and/or broccoli or cauliflower leaves)
  • 1 1/3 cups/320 ml milk
  • 4 scallions, green part only, minced
  • Salt and pepper


1. Put the potatoes into a large pot, with the larger ones on the bottom, and add water to come halfway up the potatoes. Cover the pot and bring to a boil over high heat. When the water begins to boil, carefully drain off about half of it, then return the pot to the heat, cover it again, reduce the heat to low, and let the potatoes steam for about 40 minutes. Turn off the heat; cover the potatoes with a clean, damp tea towel; and let sit for 5 minutes more.


2. Melt 4 Tbsp of the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the kale or assorted greens and cook until just wilted, about 5 minutes.

Combine the milk, scallions, and remaining butter in a medium pot and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Cook for about 2 minutes, then add the greens and stir in well. Remove the pot from the heat, cover, and set aside.


3. Drain and carefully peel the potatoes, then return them to the pot. Add the greens and their liquid and mash until smooth, leaving a few small lumps in the potatoes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.


4. To serve in the traditional Irish manner, push the back of a large soup spoon down in the middle of each portion to make a crater, then put a large pat of room-temperature butter into each one to make a “lake.” Diners dip each forkful of colcannon into the butter until its walls are breached.


The Country Cooking of Ireland

Mom’s Brisket

Recipe from The Macy's Culinary Council Thanksgiving & Holiday Cookbook by Michelle Bernstein


Serves 6 to 8


1⁄4 cup canola oil
4 cups thinly sliced onions (about 2 large onions)
2 cups sliced, peeled carrots (about 2 medium carrots sliced 1⁄4 inch thick)
4 cloves garlic, chopped
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 cup chicken or beef broth
1 cup ketchup
1⁄2 cup whole-grain mustard
2 envelopes Lipton’s onion soup mix
1⁄3 cup Worcestershire sauce
1⁄4 cup minced fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 brisket (preferably first cut), about 6 pounds, with a good amount of marbling
About 2 cups beef broth
2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley


Preheat the oven to 400°F.


For the onion sauce: In a large sauté pan, heat the canola oil over medium heat until it shimmers. Add the onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft and golden brown, 10 to 12 minutes. Add the carrots and cook, stirring occasionally, for 4 minutes, then add the garlic and bay leaves and cook for 2 minutes longer. Season with the salt, pepper, onion powder, and garlic powder and stir until fragrant, about 1 minute. Pour in the 1 cup broth and mix well. Remove from the heat and whisk in the ketchup, mustard, onion soup mix, and Worcestershire sauce until fully incorporated.


For the brisket: Place the meat, fat side up, in a roasting pan or baking dish just large enough to accommodate it. Pour the onion sauce over the brisket and cover the pan tightly with aluminum foil. Place in the oven and cook for 2 hours. Reduce the oven temperature to 350°F and continue to cook for 21⁄2 hours longer. Remove from the oven and reduce the oven temperature to 325°F. Remove the foil, spoon some of the sauce in the pan over the brisket, and return the pan to the oven, uncovered. Cook, basting the brisket every 10 minutes or so with the sauce, until the meat is tender when pierced with a fork, about 30 minutes longer. Remove from the oven and let the brisket cool to room temperature in the pan.


To serve: Preheat the oven to 325°F. Transfer the cooled brisket to a cutting board and slice it against the grain as thinly as possible. If the sauce is very thick, dilute it with as much of the 2 cups broth as needed to achieve the consistency of a thick gravy. Slip the meat slices into the sauce, and cover the pan with aluminum foil. Reheat the brisket in the oven until warmed through, about 30 minutes.

Transfer the meat slices to a warmed deep platter, spoon the sauce over the slices, and scatter the parsley over the top. Serve right away.

The Macy's Culinary Council

Scallion Potato Pancakes

Recipe from The Macy's Culinary Council Thanksgiving & Holiday Cookbook by Michelle Bernstein


Makes 14 to 16 pancakes; serves 6 to 8


2 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and halved
1 yellow onion, cut into 6 to 8 pieces
1 large egg, lightly beaten
6 scallions, including tender green parts, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1⁄2 cup vegetable oil, plus more if needed
Applesauce and sour cream for serving


For the batter: In a food processor fitted with the grater attachment, grate the potatoes and onion. Transfer the mixture to a colander and press down firmly to remove all the excess liquid. Then transfer the mixture to a clean kitchen towel and roll it up tightly in the towel. Holding the towel over the sink and grasping one end in each hand, twist the towel to wring out as much liquid as possible.


Unwrap the well-squeezed potato-onion mixture and place it in a large bowl. Add the egg, scallions, flour, and salt and mix well.


To cook the pancakes: Line a rimmed baking sheet or large platter with paper towels. In a large skillet, heat the 1⁄2 cup vegetable oil over medium-high heat until it shimmers. To form a pancake, scoop 1⁄4 cup of the batter into the oil and press down on it with the bottom of the measuring cup to form a round cake about 31⁄2 inches in diameter and 1⁄3 to 1⁄2 inch thick. Repeat to form more pancakes, being careful not to crowd them. Cook, turning once, until golden brown on both sides and cooked through, 3 to 4 minutes on each side. Using a slotted spatula, transfer the pancakes to the towel-lined baking sheet, and tent loosely with aluminum foil to keep warm while you cook the remaining batter the same way.


Transfer the pancakes to a warmed platter and serve hot. Pass the applesauce and sour cream at the table.

The Macy's Culinary Council

Spaghetti and Shellfish, Italy

Recipe from The Macy's Culinary Council Thanksgiving & Holiday Cookbook by Todd English


Serves 6


4 cups water
1 tablespoon salt, plus more to season
24 littleneck clams, scrubbed
1⁄4 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus more for serving (optional)
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 small leek, including light green part, or onion, diced
14 cherry tomatoes, halved
1⁄4 cup dry white wine
Freshly ground black pepper
24 PEI mussels, scrubbed and debearded
1 pound spaghetti
2 pounds cooked lobster meat, roughly chopped or cut into chunks, at room temperature
8 fresh basil leaves, cut into strips
4 fresh flat-leaf parsley sprigs, chopped


1. In a large bowl, combine the water and 1 tablespoon salt and stir to dissolve the salt. Add the clams and soak at room temperature for 20 minutes to purge them of grit. Drain and rinse the clams before proceeding.


2. Bring a large pot three-fourths full of salted water to a boil.


3. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat until it shimmers. Add the garlic and leek and saute until tender, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the clams, cherry tomatoes, wine, a pinch of salt, and a grind of pepper, then cover the pan and simmer for 8 minutes. Add the mussels, re-cover, and simmer until all of the shellfish are open, 2 to 3 minutes longer. Remove and discard any shellfish that failed to open. Taste the cooking liquid and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper if needed. Move the skillet to a warm place while you cook the spaghetti.


4. Add the spaghetti to the boiling water and cook until al dente, according to package directions. Scoop out and reserve 1 cup of the cooking water, then drain the pasta in a colander.


5. Transfer the pasta to a large bowl, add the lobster meat, the clams and mussels and their cooking liquid, the basil, and the parsley and toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper. Add some of the reserved cooking water if the pasta seems too dry. Drizzle with additional olive oil, if desired, and serve immediately.


Todd’s Tip: PEI (Prince Edward Island) mussels from the Atlantic north of Nova Scotia are widely available and consistently plump and tasty.

The Macy's Culinary Council

Grilled Squid in Herb Butter, Italy

Recipe from The Macy's Culinary Council Thanksgiving & Holiday Cookbook by Todd English


Serves 6


  • 2 pounds cleaned squid bodies and tentacles
  • 1⁄2 cup olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1⁄4 cup plus 2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1⁄2 cup butter, at room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 lemons, cut into wedges
  • Crusty bread for serving


1. To marinate the squid: Slice the squid bodies into 1⁄2-inch-wide rings. In a medium bowl, combine the squid rings and tentacles, olive oil, garlic, 1⁄4 cup of the parsley, and the lemon juice and toss to coat evenly. Cover and refrigerate overnight.


2. To grill the squid: Preheat a gas grill to medium-high, preheat a stove-top grill pan over medium-high heat, or light a fire in a charcoal grill and let it burn just until the coals are covered with gray ash and very hot.


3. While the grill or grill pan is heating, make the herb butter: In a food processor, combine the butter, basil, thyme, chives, and the remaining 2 tablespoons parsley. Pulse to blend the butter with the herbs. Transfer to a large bowl and reserve at room temperature.


4. Remove the squid rings and tentacles from the marinade and season with salt and pepper. Place the squid pieces directly on the grill grate or grill pan. If the bars on the grate are widely spaced, use a grill basket or screen. Grill, turning once, until the flesh begins to char and curl, about 2 minutes per side.


5. As soon as the squid pieces are ready, quickly transfer them to the bowl with the herb butter and toss to melt the butter and coat the squid, (This may need to be done in batches, depending on the size of your grill or grill pan.) Season to taste with salt and pepper.


6. Mound the squid on a platter or divide among 6 individual serving plates. Garnish with the lemon wedges and serve immediately. Pass the bread at the table for soaking up the butter sauce.

The Macy's Culinary Council

Croques Salmon, France

Recipe from Bite Size: Elegant Recipes for Entertaining by Francois Payard


Makes 24


  • 6 slices white toast bread, crust removed
  • 2 tablespoons melted clarified butter (page 000)
  • 1 ½ cups shredded Gruyère
  • ¼ cup heavy cream, whipped until thickened
  • 1 pinch nutmeg
  • Fine sea salt
  • Freshly ground white pepper
  • 4 ounces smoked salmon, thinly sliced

1. Preheat the oven to 400° F.

2. Brush 1 side of each slice of bread with the clarified butter. Chop the shredded Gruyère very finely. With a spatula, gently fold the cheese into the cream.

3. Season the cream and cheese mixture with the nutmeg, salt and pepper. Spread it on the non-buttered sides of each bread slice. Layer the salmon on top of the cream on 3 of the slices of bread, then place the remaining slices of bread on top, cream side down.

4. Place each croque on a square of aluminum foil and wrap tightly. Heat a dry skillet over medium heat, and put the wrapped bread in it for 1 minute on each side. You want to get the foil hot so that it toasts the bread. Repeat with each package. Transfer to a baking sheet and put the packages in the oven. Bake for 15 minutes, turning once halfway through cooking.

5. Remove from the oven, and when unwrapped, both the top and bottom should be toasted and well browned.

6. Cut 1 croque in half lengthwise and widthwise into 4 pieces. Cut each piece on the diagonal to obtain 8 triangles. Repeat with the remaining 2 croques. Arrange on a platter and serve immediately.

Courtesy of Susan Magrino Agency

Pastitio, Greece

Recipe from How to Roast a Lamb by Michael Psilakis


Makes one large pan enough for 15 to 20 people


3 tablespoons blended oil (90 percent canola, 10 percent extra-virgin olive)
1 large Spanish or sweet onion, finely chopped
3 fresh bay leaves or 6 dried leaves
2 cinnamon sticks
2 pounds ground beef
11/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
Pinch ground nutmeg (optional)
Pinch ground cloves (optional)
1/4 cup tomato paste
21/4 quarts water
1 (28-ounce) can plum tomatoes, crushed slightly, with all the juices
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon sugar
Kosher salt and cracked black pepper
1 (500-gram) package Misko Macaroni Pastitsio no. 2
13/4 quarts Greek Béchamel Sauce (page 274, with eggs)
1 cup coarsely grated graviera cheese


1. Make the kima sauce: in a large, heavy pot over medium-high heat, add the oil and wilt the onion with the bay leaves and cinnamon sticks for 3 to 5 minutes. Add the ground beef and brown thoroughly. Add all the spices and the tomato paste and stir for 1 to 2 minutes. Add the water, tomatoes, vinegar, sugar, about 2 tablespoons of kosher salt, and a generous grinding of pepper. Bring to a boil.


2. Reduce the heat, partially cover, and simmer for 65 to 75 minutes. Skim off the fat once or twice. Reduce until the sauce is almost completely dry. Proceed with the recipe, or cool and refrigerate.


3. Preheat the oven to 350°F. In a large pot of generously salted boiling water, cook the macaroni until almost tender, a minute or so before the al dente stage. Drain well. Spread 1 cup of the Greek Béchamel Sauce on the bottom of a deep roasting pan or lasagna pan, and sprinkle with # cup graviera. Lay half of the noodles out on top of the béchamel. You should have 2 to 3 layers of noodles. Spread another cup of the béchamel over the noodles, without disturbing the direction of the noodles, to bind them. Scatter with # cup of the graviera. Spoon all of the kima sauce over the top and smooth "at. Spread 1 more cup of the béchamel over the kima sauce, scatter with # cup graviera.


4. Layer remaining pasta noodles over the béchamel. Spoon on the remaining béchamel and scatter with the remaining 1/3 cup of graviera. Bake uncovered until crusty, golden, and set, about 1 hour. If you don't have a convection oven, you may want to increase the heat to 400°F at the end, to brown the top. Cool for at least 40 minutes, to allow the custard to set so that the squares will remain intact when you cut them. Or, cool to room temperature, then refrigerate overnight.

Little, Brown and Company

Greek Bechamel Sauce

  • 5 ounces unsalted butter
  • 10 ounces all-purpose fl our
  • 1½ quarts whole milk, warm
  • 2½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • Large pinch nutmeg, preferably freshly ground
  • 1½ to 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • Cracked black pepper
  • 5 large eggs, lightly beaten


1. In a large, heavy pot, melt the butter over low heat, whisking with a large balloon whisk. Add the fl our and whisk to a very crumbly roux, not a smooth paste. Whisk constantly and energetically for about 5 minutes to cook off the raw fl our taste, but do not allow to brown (slide the pot off and on the heat every now and then if you sense it is getting too hot).


2. Still whisking constantly, drizzle in the warm milk until smooth. Continue cooking, adjusting the heat as necessary to keep the mixture at a very low simmer, until very thick. Whisk in the cinnamon, nutmeg, kosher salt to taste, and a generous amount of pepper.


3. Scoop out about ¼ cup of the warm sauce. In a bowl, whisk the sauce into the eggs to temper them. Remove the pan from the heat and whisk all the egg mixture back into the béchamel.

Tomato Bredie, South Africa

Recipe from Chef Peter Tempelhoff on behalf of South African Tourism 


Serves 6


2 large onions, chopped
15ml black peppercorns
820g tinned whole peeled tomatoes
25ml sunflower oil
1kg lamb knuckles, sliced shin, or shoulder cubes
15ml ground ginger
4 cardamom pods
5ml whole cloves
100g tomato paste
¼ cinnamon stick
1 chilli (optional)
1 handful of chopped cilantro
Light brown sugar
Salt and freshly ground black pepper


1. Add the oil and onions to a large heavy bottomed casserole pot and set the stove on medium heat, keep stirring the onions until they are golden brown.


2. Add the lamb, peppercorns, ginger, cardamom, cinnamon and chilli and stir well, continue to cook for another few minutes then add the tomatoes and paste and bring up to the boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook on very low heat for an hour or until meat is tender.


3. Add the sugar to balance the tomato acidity and finish with salt and pepper then a sprinkle of the chopped cilantro.


4. Serve with steamed rice.

Traditional Cape Malay Malva Pudding, South Africa

  • Recipe from Chef Peter Tempelhoff on behalf of South African Tourism
  • Makes 12 puddings
  • 300g brown sugar
  • 120g unsalted butter
  • 4 Eggs
  • 180ml apricot jam
  • 500 ml milk
  • 560g cake flour
  • 20 ml bicarb of soda
  • 4 ml salt
  • 80 ml white wine vinegar


1. Cream the butter and sugar, add the egg and beat until light and fluffy. Work in the jam.

2. Dissolve the bicarb in milk, and add the flour and salt alternatively with milk. Lastly mix in the vinegar.

3. Spoon into greased bread tin and bake for approximately 20min. Test by inserting a bamboo skewer into it, if it comes out clean then it is ready.

4. Submerge puddings in the *sauce and allow excess sauce to drip off.

5. Cool and keep the strained extra sauce.


*Recipe for sauce on next slide


The Greenhouse

Sauce for Cape Malay Malva Pudding

Recipe from Chef Peter Tempelhoff of The Greenhouse in South Africa


1.125 l cream
500g butter/margarine
4 g salt
60g smooth apricot jam
500g granulated sugar

Mix all the ingredients together and bring to the boil. Simmer slowly and stir all the time for about 2 min.

The Greenhouse

Coconut Flan, Mexico

Recipe from The Macy's Culinary Council Thanksgiving & Holiday Cookbook by Rick Bayless

Serves 8



  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
  • 1⁄8 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons water



  • 3⁄4 cup sugar
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 (131⁄2-ounce) can coconut milk
  • 3 large eggs
  • 5 large egg yolks
  • 11⁄2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract (preferably Mexican)
  • 2 or 3 passion fruits for garnish


For the caramel: Set eight 3⁄4-cup molds (custard cups, coffee cups, or individual souffle dishes) in a roasting pan that’s at least 2 inches deep and large enough to space the molds at least 1⁄2 inch apart. In a microwave-safe container (a 1-quart glass measuring pitcher works well), stir together the sugar, corn syrup, lemon juice, and water. Microwave on full power until the mixture is light brown, 4 to 5 minutes (the timing will depend on the power of your microwave). Remove from the microwave and let the sugar syrup sit for 4 minutes to finish cooking and to darken to a deep caramel color. Immediately pour the caramel into the molds, dividing it evenly and tilting each mold so the caramel completely covers the bottom. Leave the molds in the roasting pan.


To make the custard: Preheat the oven to 325°F. Bring a tea kettle filled with water to a simmer. In a medium (3-quart) saucepan, combine the sugar, whole milk, and coconut milk, set over medium heat, and bring to a simmer. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, whisk together the eggs and egg yolks until thoroughly blended. When the milk mixture is at a simmer, remove from the heat and slowly add to the eggs while whisking constantly. Stir in the vanilla and strain through a fine-mesh sieve into a pitcher or bowl. Pour or ladle the custard into the molds, dividing it evenly.


To bake the flans: Open the oven door and pull out the center oven rack most of the way, but not so far that it will tip when the pan is set on it. Set the pan holding the molds on the rack, then slowly pour the simmering water into the pan to reach two thirds of the way up the sides of the molds. Slowly slide the rack into the oven, and close the oven door. Bake until the flans are set in the middle, 50 to 60 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool in the water bath, about 1 hour. Then remove from the water bath and refrigerate the flans until thoroughly chilled, about 2 hours.


To unmold and serve the flans: Run a small knife around the inside edge of a mold to release the flan from the sides of the mold. Invert a small serving plate over the mold, grasp the plate and mold firmly, and reverse the two together. Shake the flan up and down, back and forth until you hear it drop onto the plate. Lift off the mold and scrape any remaining caramel out of the mold and onto the flan. Repeat with the remaining flans.


Cut open the passion fruits and scoop out the seeds and juice. Spoon them around each flan. Dessert’s ready.

The Macy's Culinary Council

Tipsy Pudding with Mulled Wine, Ireland

Recipe from The Country Cooking of Ireland by Colman Andrews


Serves 8


  • 2 Tbsp butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups/90 g dry bread crumbs
  • 4 eggs, separated
  • 3/4 cup/150 g plus 2/3 cup/125 g superfine sugar
  • 1 tsp finely grated lemon zest
  • 2 1/2 cups/600 ml dry red wine
  • Juice and wide strips of zest from 1 lemon
  • Juice and wide strips of zest form 1 orange
  • 4 whole cloves
  • 1 stick cinnamon
  • 1 cup/240 ml heavy cream, whipped


1. Preheat the oven to 350ºF/175ºC (Gas Mark 4). Grease 8 ramekins or small soufflé dishes, about 2 in/5 cm deep and 3 to 4 in/7.5 to 10 cm in diameter, with butter. Coat the sides and bottoms of the ramekins evenly with about one-quarter of the bread crumbs.

Beat the egg yolks, 6 Tbsp of the sugar (half of the 3/4 cup/150 g), and the grated lemon zest in a medium bowl with an electric mixer on medium speed until pale and frothy, about 2 minutes.


2. In another medium bowl, beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form, 3 to 4 minutes. Gradually add another 6 Tbsp of the sugar (the remaining half of the 3/4 cup/150 g) to the egg whites and beat for about 30 seconds. Add one-quarter of the egg whites to the egg yolk mixture and stir. Fold in the remaining egg whites and the remaining bread crumbs into the egg yolk mixture and stir well.

Divide the batter evenly between ramekins and bake on a baking sheet for about 25 minutes, or until the puddings are cooked through and golden. Allow the puddings to cool in ramekins for about 5 minutes, then turn them out onto a rack and set aside to cool to room temperature.


3. Meanwhile combine the wine, the remaining 2/3 cup/125 g of sugar, the lemon and orange juices and zests, cloves, and cinnamon in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for about 10 minutes. Strain the wine into a medium bowl, discarding the solids, and set the wine aside to cool.

Arrange the puddings side by side in an 8 x 12-in/20- x 30-cm baking dish, drizzle with the mulled wine, cover with plastic wrap, and set aside for about 3 hours to allow the puddings to soak in some of the wine.


4. Serve the puddings in individual bowls, spooning some wine over each one and topping each with a spoonful of whipped cream.

The Country Cooking of Ireland

Rice Pudding with Mango, India

Recipe from Modern Spice: Inspired Indian Flavors for the Contemporary Kitchen 
(Simon & Schuster, 2009)
 by Monica Bhide


Serves 4


3 cups whole milk

2 to 4 tablespoons sweetened condensed milk

1/4 cup white basmati rice, rinsed and drained

1 teaspoon cardamom seeds, crushed

1 ripe mango, peeled and diced

1. In a deep saucepan, bring the whole milk and condensed milk to a boil over medium heat. Stir constantly to prevent scorching.

2. Reduce the heat to medium-low. Add the rice and cardamom and mix well. Continue to cook for about 50 minutes, until the milk has reduced by half and you obtain a creamy consistency. Stir frequently while cooking.

3. Remove from the heat and allow to come to room temperature.

4. Refrigerate, covered, for at least an hour.

5. When ready to serve, spoon some pudding into a wine glass, layer with some mango, and add another layer of rice pudding. Serve immediately.

Note: Use 4 tablespoons of condensed milk if you like your rice pudding really sweet. With 2 tablespoons, it is sweet but not overwhelmingly so.

Note: If you have a mango that is firm, peel it and then use a vegetable peeler to create thin mango slices. Arrange the slices on a plate and place a scoop of the rice pudding in the center of the mango “carpaccio.”

Monica Bhide

Guava Fool, India

Recipe from Modern Spice: Inspired Indian Flavors for the Contemporary Kitchen 
(Simon & Schuster, 2009)
 by Monica Bhide


Serves 4


  • ¼ chilled heavy cream
  • ½ – ¾ cup pink guava puree, chilled
  • To garnish – whipped cream

1. In a bowl, whip the heavy cream until it forms peaks.

2. Now fold in the guava puree. Do this gently using your spatula to gently fold in the two. DO NOT BLEND. The idea is to keep the colors separate.

3. Divide evenly into four wine glasses.

4. Top with a touch of whipped cream. Serve immediately.


Related: Traditional Holiday Recipes from Our Favorite Bloggers


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Monica Bhide

First Published November 28, 2011

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