Third Sunday of Advent and Saint Lucia

Today is the Third Sunday of Advent. Unlike the two Purple Sundays before it, tonight we will light the Pink Candle. Our hearts are filled with Joy as we are drawn ever closer to Christmas. Today is also the Feast Day of Saint Lucia.

Saint Lucia was one of the earliest Christian Martyrs. She defied the powers in Rome, hid persecuted Christians in the catacombs and smuggled food to them. Lucia needed to carry as much food as possible to those in hiding, so she wore a wreath with candles on her head to light her way. When her unselfish kindness was discovered, Lucia was put to death. She died joyfully, knowing that she had done what was right. Doing the right thing for others, making unselfish choices, are never easy but always bring joy to our souls. I believe, in the end doing what is best for ourselves is doing what is best for those around us. For great is our reward in Heaven.

On the third Sunday of Advent we turn our focus not on Bethlehem, and Christ’s birth but to the future. Those of the Faithful believe that there will be a Second Coming, as it was promised so long ago. Christ will come again, in His own time. It could be tomorrow or a thousand years from tomorrow. No matter, we still believe.

Tonight’s Advent begins with the opening prayer as before, followed by the lighting of the first two candles. On this day the pink candle is lit as the light of Advent grows ever stronger. This is the turning point in the Advent Season, as we look ahead with joyful anticipation of His triumph return.

Opening Prayer: Lord God, Lamb of God
Let Yours blessings come upon us
As we light the candles of this Advent wreath.
May the wreath and its light be a symbol
Of Christ’s promise of eternal salvation.

Response: Let us go rejoicing to the house of the Lord.

Light the first Purple Candle (Hope)
Prayer: Blessed are you, Lord, God of all creation.
In the darkness and in the light, Holy is Your Name.
We place our hope in you, Oh Lord,
As we prepare our hearts to celebrate the coming of the Lord

Response: Now and forever. Amen.

Light the second Purple Candle (Peace)
Prayer: Blessed are you, Lord; God of all creation.
Let your light shine on those who dwell in darkness.
Let the earth receive her King
And fill our hearts with Your everlasting peace

Response: Now and forever. Amen.

Light the Pink Candle (Joy)
Prayer: Blessed are you, Lord; God of all creation.
Let our heats be glad as we wait in joyful hope
For the coming of our Lord
Give us a heart, O Lord, that seeks You always

Response: O Come, O Come, Emmanuel

Third Sunday of Advent with a Lucia Twist
Red Currant Swedish Meatballs over Pasta
Braised Asparagus with Grilled Shallots

Saint Lucia Buns
Warm Tea

In many parts of the world, Saint Lucia’s feast is at breakfast with coffee cakes or rolls made to resemble a wreath of candles. To bring her feast into Advent, I have choses rolls to serve as a humble end to the meal.

Red Currant Meatballs Over Pasta
Egg Noodles

2 cups Wide Egg Noodles
Salt as needed

Bring a large pot of well salted water to a rolling boil. Add noodles, stir to get the noodles dancing. Cook until al dente, about 8 to 10 minutes. Drain well, set aside.

While the water comes to a full boil and the pasta cooks, make the meatballs.

5 slices Sourdough Bread
2/3 cup Milk
1 large White Onion, peeled, grated (through a cheese grater)
2 tablespoons Butter
2 Eggs
1 lb Ground Pork
1 lb Ground Beef
2 teaspoons Salt
1/2 teaspoon Ground Nutmeg
1 teaspoon Ground Cardamom
2 teaspoons Black Pepper

Heat oven to 425 degrees. Trim crust from bread, cut into pieces. Let bread dry out for about 10 minutes.

In a medium bowl, mix the bread pieces with the milk. Set aside for 15-20 minutes, or until the bread soaks up all the milk. When it does, pulverize the bread in a food processor and pour it into a large bowl.

While bread is soaking, peel then grate the onion using large holes of a cheese grater. Set aside.

Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a sauté pan over medium-high heat. Once the butter has melted and begins to foam slightly, add the grated onions.

Sauté the onion in the butter until the onions soften and turn translucent, about 3-4 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool.

Add the cooled onions to the bowl of milky bread. Add eggs, ground pork, ground beef, salt, nutmeg, cardamom, and pepper. Using your (clean) hands, mix well for about 2 minutes until the ingredients are well combined.

Use a 1 tablespoon scooper to measure out the meat for the meatballs. As you form the meatballs, set each one aside on a sheet pan or plate. You should get 60-65 meatballs.

Bake meatballs in the heated for 15 minutes. Do not fully cook meatballs all the way through since they will continue to cook in the sauce.

While the meatballs are baking, make the Red Currant Sauce.

Red Currant Sauce
6 tablespoons Butter
1/3 cup Flour
4 cups Beef Stock
3/4 cup Sour Cream
Salt to taste
3 tablespoons Red Currant Jelly or more to taste
Fresh Dill, garnish
Fresh Cracked Pepper, garnish

Melt the butter for the sauce in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Slowly whisk in the flour. Stirring often, let the flour cook until it is the color of coffee-with-cream; this is a classic roux. It will take about 5-8 minutes to reach the desired color.

As the roux is cooking, heat the beef stock in another pot until it simmers. When the roux has cooked to desired color slowly add the hot beef stock into the roux a little at a time. Everything will sputter at first, and the sauce will seize up and solidify. Keep stirring and adding stock slowly, and it will loosen up and become silky.

Remove meatballs from the oven. Drain pan drippings into the sauce and stir to blend well. Add the meatballs to the sauce, and turn the heat down to low. Cover the pot and cook on low heat for 10 to 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat oven to 250 degrees. Once the meatballs have finished cooking in the sauce, place meatballs in a casserole dish. Keep warm in the oven while the sauce is finished and dish is ready to assemble.

Add the sour cream to the sauce, whisk well until smooth. Add the jelly to the sauce. Bring sauce up to medium heat to let the jelly melt into the sauce. Keep warm.

Bring a pot of water to a rolling boil. Add pasta and blanch for about a minute to refresh the noodles.

Spread the pasta out in a large serving bowl or rimmed platter, ladle with some of the sauce. Stir to lightly coat.

Remove meatballs from the oven. Pour remaining sauce over meatballs. Ladle meatballs over the pasta.

Garnish with fresh dill and a little fresh pepper.

Braised Asparagus with Grilled Shallots
1 Shallot
1 teaspoons Bacon Drippings
1 lb Asparagus
4 tablespoons Butter, divided
1/3 cup Water
1 teaspoons Lemon Juice
Sea Salt to taste
White Pepper to taste

Peel and slice shallot paper-thin. Break apart. Melt about a teaspoon of bacon grease or olive oil in a small skillet. Cook shallots just until tender but not browned. Set aside.

Snap any woody ends from the asparagus. Trim to uniform size and set aside.

In a large skillet melt 3 tablespoons butter over medium heat.  Lay the asparagus in the skillet in a single layer.  Increase heat to medium-high cook asparagus for about 90 seconds per side to sear. Add the water and cover the skillet to braise asparagus.Reduce heat to medium low and cook for 3 minutes.  Transfer to a plate. Add the shallots to the water remaining in the skillet to refresh. Add lemon juice and remaining tablespoon of butter. Top the asparagus with the shallot mixture. Season with salt and pepper, then serve.

Saint Lucia Buns
3-1/2 cups Flour
1-1/2 tablespoons Dry Active Yeast
1/3 cup Butter
1 cup Milk
1/4 teaspoons Saffron Threads
1-1/2 tablespoons Sugar
1/4 teaspoon Salt
2 Eggs, divided
16 Raisins, for garnish

Prepare the dough: Melt the butter in a pan with the milk. While the milk warms, finely crumble the saffron. Add to the warming milk..

Let the mixture boil, then take it off the heat and allow to cool to about body temperature, stir in the yeast, then the sugar and salt.

Add half the flour into the mixture. In a small bowl, beat one egg. Add to the dough mixture, stir in to blend.

Add remaining flour a little at a time until the dough is soft and just pulls away from the edges of the bowl.

Cover and leave to rise in a greased bowl for 1 hour.

Shape and Decorate the Buns: Knead the dough on a floured surface, divide into four, then divide those portions in half to create 8 balls that fit nicely in the palm of your hand.

Roll each ball into a long rope, then shape into an S shaped bun.

Place all the buns on a baking sheet and cover again until they double in size, about another hour. Allow enough space between the buns for them to rise without touching.

Bake and Serve Buns: Heat oven to 375-degrees.

Press raisins into the ends of the S shapes. Beat remaining egg, brush over buns for a nice finish.

Bake buns in the heated oven for about 15 minutes or until beautifully golden and baked through.

Arrange warm buns on a serving platter. Serve with a nice warm tea and enjoy.

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.

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