Make your holiday table even more festive and full of color with these Russian Christmas foods!
If you think Russia is only all about lots and lots of vodkas, think again.
Russia has a wide spread of dishes that you might just want to add to your regular meal rotation.
Did you know that practicing Russian Christians have a yearly tradition of fasting for 40 days leading up to Christmas?
They can only eat once the first star appears in the sky on Christmas Eve.
That said, expect their Christmas Eve banquet to be one heck of a feast! Here are 15 recipes to prove it.
1. Olivier Potato Salad (Салат Оливье)
Go to any Russian household and it’s guaranteed to have Olivier salad on their Christmas feast.
This traditional salad features boiled potatoes, carrots, eggs, ham or bologna, pickles, peas, and apples coated in a rich mayo dressing.
It’s basically Russian’s own version of the potato salad. It’s just as creamy and hearty, but the addition of pickles gives it a nice tangy contrast.
This particular recipe doesn’t have it, but others also incorporate diced apples into the salad to balance out its richness.
2. Aromatic Spice-Rubbed Pork Roast Stuffed with Herbs and Garlic
Where Americans have ham or turkey, the Russians have this pork roast as their Christmas centerpiece.
Called Buzhenina, it’s a gorgeous hunk or roast pork flavored with spices, garlic, and fresh parsley.
Roasted for over an hour, the meat becomes so tender and juicy, it almost melts in your mouth. The spice rub makes it insanely packed with flavor, as well.
And the aroma? Heavenly!
3. Russian Pryaniki
Let’s head on over to dessert, shall we? Yes, just like the rest of the world, Russia also boasts of a wide array of sweets. Pryaniki is one of the best.
Also known as tea cookies and honey bread, these goodies are the perfect accompaniment to your afternoon tea.
They’re crumbly biscuits that are wonderfully sweet and buttery, and flavored with just a hint of spice.
If that doesn’t convince you to try this recipe yet, here’s something else you should know about these biscuits: their aroma is pure bliss.
4. Herring Under a Fur Coat
Herring under a fur coat: it’s definitely an intriguing name for a dish, but what is it exactly?
Don’t ask me how it got its strange moniker, because all I know is that it’s delicious.
It looks like a cake at first glance, but if you take a closer look, you’ll realize that it’s actually a salad, assembled neatly into layers.
These include potatoes, carrots, herring, beets, and grated eggs which are all coated in rich mayonnaise. (Yep – Russians love mayo.)
It’s very rich and hearty, which is why it’s a staple in Russian Christmas feasts!
5. Russian Pelmeni (Meat Dumplings)
Say hello to pelmeni, what is considered by many as Russia’s national dish.
These are meat dumplings with a thin, unleavened dough and a ground pork, beef, or lamb filling.
The ground meat is sauteed with garlic and onions to liven up its flavors.
They’re commonly served as party appetizers, along with sour cream or melted butter for dipping.
6. Delicate and Tender Layer Cake – Smetannik (Торт “Сметанник”)
Here’s another sweet treat you should definitely try at least once in your life.
Smetannik is a fluffy sponge cake layered with sweet and tangy sour cream frosting.
What makes it extraordinary is how ridiculously soft and delicate the cake is, so much so that it almost melts in your mouth.
Don’t worry, as exquisite as this dessert is, it’s easy to make.
7. Russian Vinegret Salad
We all know what vinaigrette salad is, but did you know that this refreshing appetizer actually originated in Russia?
However, the Russian vinaigrette is a little bit different from what you know it to be.
It’s a mix of potatoes, carrots, beets, pickles, and peas that’s tossed in a tangy vinaigrette dressing.
If you’ll notice, the salad mix-ins are a lot similar to the ones in the Olivier salad. The difference lies in the dressing.
This vinaigrette version is much lighter and healthier, and perfect for vegans and those who follow a gluten-free diet.
8. Mimosa Salad (Layered Tuna Salad)
While it has the same name as the popular cocktail, this mimosa salad is far from what you think it is.
This salad has layers of finely shredded tuna, eggs, carrots, onions, and potatoes. And get this – each layer is topped with mayo.
(Did I already mention that Russians love their mayo?)
You’ll love how all the components are finely grated, as it gives the salad a lovely texture.
9. Salmon Coulibiac (Kulebyaka)
Salmon is given a delectable makeover by mixing it with butter, dill, rice, and onions.
This mouthwatering mix is nestled inside a bread dough, creating a scrumptious savory pie.
Traditional kulebyaka uses homemade yeasted dough for its crust, but others settle for store-bought puff pastry for convenience.
In this recipe, though, you’ll use a handy bread-maker to make your life easier, yet still, adhere to Russian traditions.
10. Kurnik Pie with Chicken, Potatoes, and Onions
Kurnik is another staple in a Russian Christmas feast. It’s a pie filled with chicken, potatoes, and onions – a wonderful mix of flavors and textures.
What makes the pie super festive is the gorgeous crust.
It’s decorated with mushroom-shaped dough pieces for extra charm and brushed with egg wash to give it that golden finish. What a beaut!
11. Farmer’s Cheese Tvorog
Tvorog is a delectable Russian farmer’s cheese with a creamy flavor and a curd-like texture, much like cottage and ricotta.
Now, if you think cheese is too complicated to make at home, this recipe will prove otherwise.
First of all, cheese-making isn’t as hard as you think it is. Secondly, whatever effort is called for in this recipe, it’s worth it.
12. Russian Pork Aspic-Kholodets or Studen
This next entree calls for over a day to prepare, but if you consider your palate adventurous, it’s definitely worth a try.
Kholodets is a delicacy of jellied meat dish. It’s made from various cuts of shredded pork, including loin, chuck, hock, and feet, which are encased in gelatinized pork broth.
It definitely has a unique taste and texture, but again, it’s worth a try!
13. Russian Deviled Eggs
These Russian deviled eggs are topped with caviar, giving them an added layer of sophistication.
If you’re having a party and the goal is to impress some fancy guests, these deviled eggs are the way to go.
14. Russian Piroshki (Meat Hand Pies)
Piroshkis are the Russian counterpart of meat hand pies. What makes them stand out is just how light and fluffy the crust is.
This recipe will show you exactly how to achieve that fluffiness.
Also, the filling in these pies is quite filling. A mix of ground beef and rice, don’t be surprised if you get full with just one hand pie.
15. Russian Liver Cake Recipe
The sound of liver cake isn’t exactly that appetizing, but give it a chance. If you enjoy pates, I’m sure you’ll love this cake, too!
Made with layers of chicken liver crepes and herbed mayo, it has rich and savory flavors and unique textures that will make your tastebuds go wild with joy.
Serve this in cake-like slices as an appetizer or plate it up in a dish with baguette slices.
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