An English dinner for Christmas

Daniel Neman, St. Louis Post-Dispatch on

Published in Entertaining

But pease porridge is just yellow split peas that are boiled and then mashed into mush, served with butter or maybe ham. Surely, your Christmas table deserves something better than that.

Instead, I made Roasted Carrots and Red Onions, a dish created by roasting carrots together with red onions. A little bit of olive oil (actually, it’s kind of a lot of olive oil) and some salt are the only other ingredients you need.

And yet, the dish is hearty and hugely satisfying. It is appropriately British, it’s a light counterpoint to the heavier dishes of the dinner, and it is festive enough for the holiday meal.

Dessert, you may recall, was mincemeat pie. This is a dish that really deserves to make a comeback in this country.

The mincemeat filling is subtle and multilayered, a complex whirl of flavors that blend together in perfect harmony: fresh apples, apple cider, candied cherries, brown sugar, dried apricots, dried cherries, dried cranberries, dried currants, dried figs, orange zest, orange juice, golden raisins, regular raisins and butter, spiced with allspice, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and cloves and flavored with dark rum.

All of these ingredients are simmered together until they dissolve into a kind of unity, a whole that is very much more than a sum of all of its many parts. It becomes a distinct flavor of its own, mincemeat.


A great filling deserves a great crust. Here I returned to my favorite crust, devised by Ina Garten. It uses both butter and shortening, so you get that wonderful buttery flavor as well as a light, flaky crust. It is superb, and even better with mincemeat filling.

A Christmas dinner like this one just might help bring peace on Earth and good will to men.




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