What are 12 customary dishes on Christmas Eve?

food and drinks on christmas table at home

According to tradition there should be 12 dishes on the Christmas Eve table. There is quite a long list of Polish traditional dishes for any Christmas Eve table. As far as Polish food Chicago residents love, a Christmas Eve menu should include dishes with mushrooms and cabbage, sweet pastries with nuts and poppy seeds, and a variety of vegetable salads and fish.

Which dishes must be served on Christmas Eve? The Christmas Eve menu depends on preferred tastes as well as family traditions.

1. Christmas borscht with ravioli
Red borscht is one principle dish for the Christmas Eve table, generally accompanied by ravioli with cabbage and mushrooms. Obviously, the best borscht is a homemade one we ourselves make. It is not too difficult to prepare sourdough starter in your own kitchen. Several days prior to Christmas Eve allows enough time to pickle beets for borscht and make the soup.

2. Mushroom soup
Mushroom soup is commonly served as a borscht alternative. It is as easy to prepare as red borscht and delicious. In certain homes, it is prepared as a borscht with ravioli substitute. Mushroom soup is made with dried mushrooms and creamed to finalize the process.

3. Cabbage with mushrooms or peas
Cabbage with mushrooms or with peas or with mushrooms is a traditional Polish dish which should be served for Christmas. Both dishes are made with sauerkraut and have boiled peas or mushrooms added. Sauerkraut has significant nutritional value – it is rich in mineral salts and vitamins.

4. Cabbage and mushroom dumplings
Cabbage, which can be found in various forms, is one of the basic ingredients. Traditional dishes like pasties and ravioli with cabbage stuffing or dumplings with mushrooms and cabbage. Dumplings with potatoes and cottage cheese or stuffed only with mushrooms are other frequent Christmas Eve table items.

5. Fish on Christmas Eve table
Carp is one can’t miss dish on the Christmas table. It can be served in jelly or fried. Fish have religious significance – they are a symbol of reborn life as well as Christ Himself.

6 Herring alongside carp
As a Lenten dish, herring is an excellent compliment to carp. It is traditionally served in a non-complex form – in cream or oil.

7. Fish in greek
Fish in greek may be served hot or cold. Pieces of fish are fried before they are stewed in a vegetable sauce. The sauce should include shredded celery, onion, grated carrot, and tomato paste.

8. Poppy seed cake for dessert
Along with other ingredients, poppy seeds are used to bake poppy seed cake, a traditional Christmas Eve cake. Both the smell and the taste of this cake blend perfectly with the fragrance of mushrooms and dried compote. It is not difficult to make a sweeter version of poppyseed cake, by covering it with icing and candied orange peel.

9. Poppy seed noodles
Ground poppy seeds may also be utilized to make poppy seed noodles, which are common dishes on Christmas tables. They are most delicious when they have been prepared with homemade pasta, poppy seeds, honey, and nuts.

10. Gingerbread sweet
No Christmas Eve table would be complete without the spicy aroma of gingerbread. Gingerbread may be baked in a variety of interesting forms, like the shape of a star or a Christmas tree. The spices blend well with gingerbread and will help it stay fresh longer.

11. Compote with dried fruit.
Compote prepared from dried fruits is a must on your Christmas Eve table. It can be made using dried apples, plums, pears, raisins, apricots and figs. The compote should be seasoned with sugar, cinnamon, or cloves. This drink can warm you up on even the coldest days.

12. Kutia
Although the Christmas Eve dish Kutia is honestly not quite as popular as pierogi or cabbage with peas, it can be encountered on many families’ holiday table. Traditionally, it is prepared from bruised wheat as well as poppy seeds, honey, varied nuts and dried fruit.

This list of 12 dishes can obviously be extended to include various other dishes too. A traditional cheesecake or vegetable salad should definitely be a part of the Christmas table. You can find all the necessary ingredients to prepare these dishes in our food market in Chicago. We invite you to check out this offer, as well as the pre-made Christmas dishes we have available for purchase in our Polish deli Chicago neighbors recommend.