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Traditional Kūčios dishes

Traditional Kūčios dishes

Although in previous years we have featured dishes you can make for your Christmas
Eve supper table,  we continue to get requests for more. By tradition Lithuanians abstain
from eating meat on this day, and the Kūčios supper consists of twelve meatless dishes
that usually include fish,  vegetables, fruits, nuts, bakery goods and desserts.

HERRING  IN TOMATO SAUCE
Silkės su pamidorų padažu

2 whole herrings
2 onions, sliced lengthwise
1/2 cup tomato paste
1/4 cup oil
1 1/2 tsps. white pepper
1 tsp. sugar
1/4 cup white vinegar
1 Tbsp. hot water
Place the herring in cold water in a glass bowl. Let stand in a cool place for 48 hours, changing the water every 12 hours. Clean and fillet, discarding skin and bones. Cut into small pieces. Place in a small glass serving dish. Combine the onions, tomato paste, oil, pepper, sugar, vinegar and water in a saucepan. Bring to a boil; reduce the heat. Simmer until the onions are tender. Cool completely. Pour over the herring pieces, mixing well. Chill, covered, in the refrigerator for 8 to  10 hours. Yield: 6 to 8 servings.

CRANBERRY PUDDING
Spanguolių kisielius

2 cups cranberries
5 cups water
1 cup sugar
2 Tbsps. potato starch
2 tsps. water
Rinse the cranberries. Combine with 5  cups water in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil. Cook for 7 minutes. Press through a sieve. Mix the sugar into the strained juice in a saucepan. Dissolve the potato starch in 2 teaspoons water. Stir into the juice. Bring to a boil. Cook for 3 minutes; cool. Serve in a glass serving dish to show off the bright color. Yield: 4 to 6 servings. Kompotas is a very popular dish in Lithuania, particularly during Kūčios. To prepare, combine 10 cups of water, 1  cup of sugar, and 2 pounds of assorted dried fruits in a large kettle. Simmer for 15 minutes. Add 1 chopped lemon, the grated peel of an orange, 3 whole cloves, and 1  cinna­mon stick. Simmer for 5 minutes longer and remove from the heat. Stir in 1/2 cup of fruit-flavored liqueur (optional). Let stand to cool slightly and serve warm or cold.

FISH  DUMPLINGS
Žuvies kukuliai

2 lbs. fish (cod, pike, flounder, or other)
2 slices white bread, soaked in milk
3 onions, finely chopped
1/2 cup milk
2 Tbsps. butter
2 eggs
1/2 cup sour cream
6 Tbsps. bread crumbs
Salt, pepper, and marjoram to taste
Oil for frying
Clean fish, bone, filet, and grind. Fry onion in butter, add to ground fish. Soak bread in milk, squeeze dry and add to fish mixture. Make medium sized fish dumplings, roll in bread crumbs, and fry in hot oil until crisp and browned. The fish dump­ lings can also be boiled, about 15 minutes in salted water. Hot fish dumplings are eaten with cooked potatoes and dill pickles. Fish dump­ lings are also eaten cold. They are then served with horseradish mixed with sour cream or finely chopped dill pickles in sour cream.

MARINATED BEET RELISH
Marinuoti burokėliai

1 (16-ounce) can drained or 3-4 boiled peeled whole beets
1 Tbsp. onion, minced
1/4 cup prepared mustard
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup cider vinegar
1/4 cup water
1 tsp. salt
1/3tsp. fresh ground pepper
In a large bowl, coarsely grate or slice beets; add remaining ingredients. Mix. Store in covered container at least overnight before serving.

FISH  FILLETS IN TOMATO SAUCE
Žuvis su pamidorais

6-8 fillets whitefish, sole or similar fish
1 cup flour mixed with 1 Tbsp. seasoned salt
1 large onion, sliced
2 carrots, peeled and coarsely grated
1 stalk celery, coarsely grated
1  (7-ounce) can tomato paste
2 cups tomato ketchup
1 tsp. sugar
2 Tbsps. oil
In a large skillet, saute onions, celery and carrots until onions are tender. Add tomato paste, ketchup, and sugar. Set aside. In another skillet, heat oil and brown fish fillets, dredged in seasoned flour. Add sauce to fish and simmer for 3-5 minutes. May be served hot or cold. This is an indis­pensable dish for Kūčios.