An Old Fashion Christmas

When I was quite younger, I dreamed of an Old Fashion Victorian Christmas. The very idea of Plum Pudding and Roasted Goose got my heart to skip a beat. I always thought I was born out of step with my true self and that I was better suited in the past.

Mind you, to this very day I have yet to taste Plum Pudding. And in case you are wondering, Plum Pudding isn’t a pudding at all and it contains no plums! It’s a steamed fruit cake. If you want to do it right, you need special equipment and (like a fruit cake) weeks to allow the pudding to mature. Oh my!

As for the Christmas Goose, now that I have tried. Not only did I eat goose one Christmas, I actually convinced my family to add a Goose to our table. If you have never eaten a goose, its meat is dark. I don’t mean dark like a chicken thigh. I mean dark like a well-done slice of roast beef. If you want to give a Goose a try, please do.


This year I did some extensive research on an authentic Victorian Christmas Supper. And guess what? I’m not sharing an Authentic menu. Why? Half the stuff, I don’t like. The other half I don’t know what it is. Turns out my dreams of an Old Fashion Victorian Christmas were fantasies based on Hollywood movies. So I’ve come up with my take on an old fashion Christmas. If you will notice, midway through the evening, I’ve offered up Sorbet. This is simply to cleanse the palate for what is to come, and take a breather for a moment. It’s purely optional.

With all this fantasy cooking, the dessert is Store Bought. It’s the closest thing I could come up with for Plum Pudding without investing in a pudding steamer or serving a fruit cake. Oh, it’s so nice to dream . . .

Fantasy Christmas Supper
Soup Course
Cucumber Soup

1 Cucumber Soup

Fish Course
Baked Dover Sole

2 Baked Dover Sole

Fowl Course
Pheasant Mandarin
Mushroom Wild Rice


4 Sorbet

Meat and Vegetable Course
Beef Wellington with Madeira Sauce
Duchess Potatoes
Brown Sugar Glazed Carrots

Salad Course
Pecan Pear Winter Salad with Diced Apples

6 Pecan Pear Winter Salad with Diced Apples

Dessert Course
Classic Italian Panettone
Victorian Eggnog

Cucumber Soup
1 large Cucumber
1/4 cup Spinach
1/4 cup Italian Parsley
2 tablespoons Butter
4 cups Chicken Stock
1/4 teaspoon Nutmeg
Kosher Salt to taste
White Pepper to taste
2 Egg Yolks
1/2 cup Heavy Cream

Peel the cucumber, cut into quarters lengthwise and remove the seeds. Cut into thin slices, lay out on a plate. Sprinkle with salt to draw out water from the cucumber and set aside.

Chop spinach and parsley. Set aside.

Melt butter in a stock pot. Add cucumber slices and simmer. When the cucumber slices are warmed through, and without being browned, Pour stock over the cucumbers. Add the Spinach, parsley, and nutmeg. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Simmer over low heat for 30 minutes.

Pour soup into a blender, process until smooth. Return the soup to the soup pot and heat through.

Beat the egg yolks until pale. Mix in the cream. At the moment of serving, add the egg mixture and ladle immediately into soup bowls. If desired, garnish with some chopped parsley.

Baked Dover Sole
3 Dover Sole Filets
1/2 Cup butter
2 lightly beaten Egg
2 1/4 cup dried Breadcrumbs, very fine
1 1/2 teaspoons Salt
Pinch of Ground Mace
Pinch of Nutmeg
Pinch of Sweet Paprika

Heat oven to 350 degrees.

Pat filets dry, cut in half to create 6 small servings. Set aside.

Butter (or spray) a large, shallow ovenproof pan. Melt butter over a gentle heat just to the point of liquefying. Let cool slightly. As the butter cools, lightly bean the eggs in a small bowl. Pour half of the melted butter into the bowl with the beaten eggs.

Place the breadcrumbs on a plate. Season with salt, mace, nutmeg and paprika. Set aside.

Brush one side of the fish with butter-egg mixture and lay butter-side-down on the crumbs. Brush the other side of the fish with butter and turn it over into the crumbs.

Place the fish in the prepared pan. Repeat with remaining fish. Pour the remaining half of the butter over fish, then sprinkle any remaining breadcrumbs.

Back 20-25 minutes (or until fish flakes easily). Serve immediately, garnish as desired.

Pheasant Mandarin
2 Pheasants (substitute Game Hens)
5 tablespoons Butter
3 Mandarin Oranges
1/4 cup Brandy
1 teaspoon Cornstarch
1/2 cup Chicken Stock

Joint the pheasants (cut into pieces) and sauté the bird in butter over medium heat. Start the legs 10 minutes before adding the breasts, as the legs take longer When the pheasants are tender (30-40 minutes), remove and place on a warm serving dish.

Pour the brandy into the sauté pan, skim off the fat. In a small bowl, mix the cornstarch with chicken stock and stir well. Pour into the pan and heat gently. Grate the peel of one orange into the sauce while it is heating. If desired, add ½ teaspoon of orange extract for a more pronounced flavor.

When the sauce is thick, pour over the pheasant and serve, decorated with orange sections.

Grate the apple if desired for additional garnish.

Tip: You can substitute canned mandarin orange sections for the fresh oranges.

Mushroom Wild Rice
4 cups Chicken Broth
1-1/2 cups uncooked Wild Rice
Kosher Salt to taste
Black Pepper to taste
3 Bacon Strips
2 cups Assorted Mushrooms
1 small White Onion, chopped
1/2 cup Almond Slivers
Pomegranate Seeds, optional garnish
Parsley, optional garnish

In a large saucepan, bring broth to a boil. Stir in the rice, salt and pepper. Reduce heat to low; cover and simmer for 55 minutes or until rice is tender. Remove from the heat.

Meanwhile, cut bacon into 1/2-inch pieces. In a large skillet over medium heat, cook bacon until crisp. Using a slotted spoon, remove bacon to paper towels to drain. While the bacon crisps, wash, stem and slice the mushrooms. Set aside. Peel and dice the onion. Set aside.

Once the skillet is empty, sauté the mushrooms, onion and almonds in the bacon drippings until vegetables are tender. Keep warm until ready to use. When the rice is ready, stir in the vegetables. Add bacon. Transfer to a serving bowl and serve.

Note: For a festive holiday look, garnish with some Pomegranate Seeds and Parsley to resemble holy berries.

Beef Wellington with Madeira Sauce
Madeira Sauce
2 tablespoons Butter
1/2 cup White Onion
1/4 cup Celery
1/4 cup Carrot
2 tablespoons Flour
2 cups Beef Broth
1/2 cup Tomatoes
1/2 cup Madeira (fortified wine like a Port)
1/2 teaspoon fresh Thyme

Note: The sauce will take two days to develop and 90 minutes to prepare, so work into your schedule accordingly. Once finished, simply cover and refrigerate. The sauce will re-warm nicely just before serving.

Chop onions, set aside until ready to use. Mince celery and carrots, set aside until ready to use.

Melt butter in heavy medium saucepan over medium heat. Add onion, celery, and carrot; sauté until beginning to brown, about 25 minutes.

While onion mixture is browning, seed and chop tomatoes, set aside until ready to use. Add flour and stir until flour browns, about 8 minutes.

Gradually whisk in broth. Bring to boil, whisking constantly. Reduce heat to low; add tomatoes and simmer until sauce begins to thicken, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat; cool slightly.

While sauce is cooling, chop thyme. Purée sauce in blender in batches (or in food processor). Return to saucepan. Stir in Madeira and thyme. Bring to boil.

Reduce heat; simmer until reduced to sauce consistency, whisking occasionally, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat; let cool completely. Transfer to a container with a lid, refrigerate until ready to use. Let sauce come to room temperature, then warm gently in a sauce pan before serving.

Beef Wellington
2 1/2 lbs Beef Tenderloin, well trimmed, about 3 inches in diameter
6 tablespoons Butter, divided
1 White Onion
1/2 Cup Brown Mushrooms
2 oz Good Quality Pork Liver Pate
2 tablespoons Butter, softened
Kosher Salt to taste
Black Pepper to taste
1 package (17 oz) frozen Puff Pastry, 2 sheets, thawed
1 Egg, beaten to blend (for glaze)

Heat oven to 425 degrees. Place beef in a small baking dish, and spread with 2 tablespoons softened butter. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes, or until browned. Remove from pan, and allow to cool completely. Reserve pan juices.

Peel and dice the onion. Set aside. Scrub the mushrooms, mince finely.

Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a skillet over medium heat. Saute onion and mushrooms in butter for 5 minutes. Remove from heat, and let cool.

Mix together pate and 2 tablespoons softened butter, and season with salt and pepper. Spread pate over beef. Top with onion and mushroom mixture.

Heat oven to 450 degrees. While oven warms, finish preparing Wellington.

Roll out the puff pastry dough, making sure it will completely encase the beef tenderloin.

Carefully place beef in the center of the pastry. Fold up, and seal all the edges, making sure the seams are not too thick. Place beef in a 9-inch by 13-inch baking dish, cut a few slits in the top of the dough, and brush with egg yolk.

If desired, use any scraps of pastry to create decorations for the Wellington. This can easily be accomplished using holiday cookie cutters or other shapes. Use the egg yolk as “glue”.

Bake at 450 degrees for 10 minutes, then reduce heat to 425 degrees for 10 to 15 more minutes, or until pastry is a rich, golden brown. Set aside, and keep warm.

Transfer baking sheet to cooling rack. Using spatula, gently loosen bottom of Wellington from pan. Let stand in pan for 10 minutes.

Transfer to serving platter for carving and serve with Madeira sauce.

Duchess Potatoes
5 lbs Russet Potatoes
8 Egg Yolks
1/2 cup Butter, softened
Kosher Salt to taste
Freshly Black Pepper to taste
Nutmeg to taste
1 1/4 cup Heavy Cream
1 Egg, whole

Peel and dice potatoes. Place in a pot, cover with about 1 inch of water and bring to a boil. Boil potatoes until fork-tender, about 15 minutes.

Heat the oven to 375 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment or a silicon baking mat.

Lay the boiled potatoes on a baking sheet and place into the oven until slightly dried on the surface, 10 to 15 minutes.

Remove the potatoes from the oven and process through a ricer or food mill. Allow to cool in a bowl for about 5 minutes.

Add the egg yolks, butter, a couple generous pinches of salt, a generous pinch of pepper, a pinch of nutmeg and 3/4 cup of the cream. Stir with a rubber spatula to combine. Taste and make sure the potatoes have been adequately salted.

Transfer to a large pastry bag and pipe through a large star tip in a circular/upward spiral motion onto the prepared baking sheet.

Make an egg wash by mixing the whole egg with the remaining 1/2 cup cream. Lightly brush the piped potatoes with the egg wash. (This is a little easier if you chill the piped potatoes for half an hour or so.)

Bake until golden brown around the edges.

Transfer to a pretty platter for an elegant serving presentation.

Brown Sugar Glazed Carrots
1 lb. fresh Carrots
4 tablespoons Butter (1/2 stick)
6 tablespoons Brown Sugar
1 teaspoon Cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon Nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon Kosher Salt

Clean carrots. If using baby carrots, there is no need to cut. If using whole carrots; cut into bite-size pieces. Steam carrots for 15 minutes in a vegetable steamer and set aside to keep warm.

In a medium skillet melt the butter over low heat. Add brown sugar, cinnamon, salt and nutmeg or ginger.

Simmer the mixture for a couple minutes to thicken. Add hot steamed carrots, stirring well to coat all the carrots evenly.

Remove when the carrots are shiny and well glazed and place in a serving dish.

Pecan Pear Winter Salad with Diced Apples
For The Salad
6 cups Mixed Greens
1 Red Apple, diced
1 Anjou Pear, diced
1/3 cup Golden Raisins
1/2 cup Blue Cheese
1/2 cup salted Pecans

Empty mixed greens into a large salad bowl. Set aside.

Dice the apple and pear into bite-size pieces. Add to the salad bowl. Add raisins, crumbled Blue Cheese and pecans. Set aside to make the dressing.

For Dressing
1/4 cup fresh Lime Juice
2 tablespoons Honey
1 teaspoon Dijon Mustard
Kosher Salt to taste
Black Pepper to taste
1/2 cup Olive Oil

In a mason jar, combine lime juice, honey and mustard. Season with salt and pepper.

Add olive oil. Place lid tightly on the jar. Shake vigorously. Drizzle dressing over the salad. Toss to coat. Serve and enjoy.

Victorian Eggnog
4 cups Heavy Cream
2 cup Half-and-Half
8 large Egg Yolks
3/4 cup Sugar
2 teaspoon Nutmeg
6 tablespoons Dry Sherry or to taste
Additional Ground Nutmeg for garnish

Bring cream and half and half to simmer in large saucepan. Whisk yolks and sugar in large bowl to blend. Ladle just a little of the hot cream mixture into the yolk mixture to temper the eggs.

Gradually whisk the remaining hot cream mixture into tempered yolk mixture. Return blended mixture to same saucepan. Stir over medium-low heat until mixture thickens and leaves path on back of spoon when finger is drawn across, about 4 minutes (do not boil). Strain into bowl. Stir in nutmeg. Cool slightly before chilling.

Note: Can be made 1 day ahead, Cover and chill.

Just before serving, add sherry. Sprinkle with additional nutmeg for garnish.


Author: Rosemarie's Kitchen

I'm a wife, mother, grandmother and avid home cook.I believe in eating healthy whenever possible, while still managing to indulge in life's pleasures.

9 thoughts on “An Old Fashion Christmas”

  1. What and incredible meal! It is beautiful, tempting, well-planned, and I’m sure an absolutely delicious journey through the courses! A couple of years ago, I made a goose for Christmas dinner and it was so good, and a big hit. Such an odd shape to carve, but worth it! Yours looks really lovely.


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