“Kūčios”. Recipes We Think You’ll Enjoy: Šližikai or Preskučiai, Christmas Eve Biscuits, Herring Salad Platter, Dried-Fruit Compote, Poppy Seed Milk

The Lithuanian Christmas Eve Dinner is not just a meal – it’s a ritual. The dishes are delicious, and what’s more – they’re healthy

Christmas Eve Biscuits
1 cup self-rising flour
2 cups ordinary flour
2 tbsps. powdered sugar
1 egg
1/2 lb. margarine (2 sticks)
1 cup cold water

Mix all ingredients (margarine should be soft). Knead dough. Cool in refrigerator 2-3 hours or overnight. Roll about 1/2 inch thick with rolling pin on floured board. Cut into finger-width strips, then into bits of about 1/2 inch long. Bake on a cookie sheet at 350 degrees until edges are light brown. Serve with poppy seed milk.

1/2 lb. poppy seeds
2 cups boiling water
10 almonds
2 cups milk
sugar or honey to taste

Cover the poppy seeds with boiling water, let stand 5 minutes. Drain and crush or grind the seeds in a food mill. Blanch, peel and chop almonds, stir into seeds. When cool, pour in the milk. Add sugar or honey. Place desired amount of šližikai in a- bowl, cover with poppy seed milk and eat like cereal.

8 medium new potatoes
4 hard boiled eggs, quartered
1 cup sour cream or plain yogurt
2 tbsp. horseradish
1 tbsp. chopped fresh dill (if available), or finely chopped chives
1 head lettuce, separated
1 jar pickled herring
2 cans (1 lb. each) sliced beets, drained
1 red onion, thinly sliced
1 cucumber, sliced
salt/pepper to taste

Cook potatoes and eggs uncovered for 10 minutes. Remove eggs, place in cold water to cool. Continue to cook potatoes until done. Drain, slice and place into a bowl. Combine sour cream, horseradish, dill and seasonings. Pour half of the dressing over potatoes. Stir until coated. Arrange lettuce on a large serving platter, arrange potatoes, herring, eggs, beets and cucumber over lettuce. Separate onion into rings and place over the salad. Pour remaining sauce over the dish in an attractive design.

2 large onions, chopped fine
2 tbsps. oil
1/2 cup sour cream
2 lbs. mushrooms, fresh or canned (Dried mushrooms may also be used, but they must be washed well and soaked in hot water at least 1 hour. Drain and wash again).

Clean fresh mushrooms, cut lengthwise; if mushrooms are canned, drain well (liquid may be reserved for other uses).

Saute onions in oil until tender but not brown. Add mushrooms, saute 5 minutes until done. Add salt to taste. If mushrooms are canned, do not salt because they are already salted. They are also cooked, so simply heat them through. When mushrooms are done, reduce heat, add sour cream and stir while heating until sour cream liquefies. Do not bring to a boil. Serve hot or cold with potatoes or black lye bread.

1-1/2 lbs. mixed dried fruit
6 cups water
8 whole cloves
2 pieces lemon rind, removed with a vegetable peeler
3 whole allspice
1 cinnamon stick
1/2 cup sugar, to taste

Put all ingredients in a 3-quart nonaluminum saucepan. Heat to a boil; reduce heat and simmer until fruit is soft and water is syrupy, about 20 minutes.

Cool and refrigerate at least 4 hours. Serve with Christmas cookies, poppy seed or spice cake. Yields 6 cups.