Do you have a regular Christmas dinner menu on repetition but you would like new additions, new flavors on your festive table this year? Do you like Greek traditional food either because Greek blood runs into your veins, or you just love so much Greek food?
Even better, wouldn’t it be great if someone just put together a time plan for Christmas Dinner and maybe a shopping list too? Well, guys, you are in luck because that’s just what you are looking for! Traditional Greek Christmas Dinner.
Bold flavors, vibrant, and bright Greek traditional dishes rooted in the country’s history, with recipes that have been handed down through generations. Tested over and over again until they are just …perfect! Sounds good, isn’t it? It will become even better. Because I have a vision for this Christmas that I really want to share.
Imagine. Calm and serene, sipping Champagne in front of the fireplace and opening presents with our family in the living room. That’s you! Not a worn-out, bad-tempered covered with powdered sugar, stuck in the kitchen while everyone else is having fun together. No. Not this year.
Truth be told, the actual making of each element of the Christmas dinner isn’t hard. The tricky part is THE RIGHT MENU AND THE TIMINGS – trying to juggle all those different elements, while simultaneously trying to make sure each one turns out perfectly and at the same time as everything else can be such a nightmare!
Unless you have my Greek Christmas Dinner Time Plan and the Shopping List!
So, here we go!
GREEK CHRISTMAS DINNER MENU
In my humble opinion, a successful dinner needs a clever menu. Lots of make-ahead elements and almost nothing to cook at the last minute.
These are all tried and trusted family recipes, which my family has been making for years and which never fail me.
So the menu is…
Unlike Western Countries where they eat Turkeys, in Greece, the main Christmas meal is often pork (and lamb). There are many traditional pork Christmas recipes that vary depending on the region. For the Christmas menu, I like a more modern version so get ready for Pork loin stuffed with prunes lemon, and honey.
CHRISTMAS DINNER TIME PLAN
This Christmas Dinner Time Plan assumes you are cooking lunch for 6-8 and serving your Christmas dinner at 2 pm. If your party is larger or smaller or served earlier or later, you need to make a few adjustments.
If you are cooking for a bigger crowd, really the main difference will be that you will have to add more meat. I recommend about 1/2 pound (250g) per person.
- If the pork is frozen make sure you defrost it thoroughly – remember a large piece of meat could take more than 48 hours to defrost. Prepare the prunes.
- Prepare the meat. Make the stuffing, the garlic-thyme paste, and the wrap. Ready for the oven! Place it in the refrigerator overnight.
- Prepare the dough for pita bread. Cover and let it rise for 1 hour.
- Roast or boil the beets for beet salad. Let them cool.
- Make the feta cheese dip/spread AND the dressing for the pear salad at the same time. Refrigerate the dip/spread in a well-sealed food container and the dressing in another container. Ready to serve!
- Prepare the cabbage salad. Place the shredded cabbage in a large bowl and add the carrot, raisins, and pomegranate, mix and refrigerate in a well-sealed food container. The dressing was made along with the spicy feta dip/spread. Ready to assemble (just add the dressing and the pears when served!)
- Make pita bread. Let it cool completely. Keep it in a food container or wrap or in cling film and refrigerate. Ready to serve! Reheat it in the oven for 3 minutes over low heat, if you like to serve them hot.
- Assemble the beet salad and refrigerate in a well-sealed food container. Ready to serve!
- Make the custard pie. Assemble and refrigerate overnight. Ready for the oven!
- Make the spinach pie. You may save time and energy if you use ready-made phyllo. Bake the spinach pie. Let it cool, cut it into pieces, and place them on a big platter. Wrap it with foil and leave the platter on the countertop. Ready to serve!
09.15: Get the custard pie out of the fridge and preheat the oven.
09.30: Bake the custard pie for 1 hour. Let it cool and cover in foil. Ready to serve! Meanwhile, get out the pork and leave it at room temperature.
10.30: Bake the pork for two hours.
12.30: Add the potatoes or veggies to the baking tray. Bake for another 1 hour.
13.00: Make the table.
13.15: Serve pita bread (reheat it for 3 minutes if you like), beetroot salad, spicy feta cheese dip, spinach pie.
13.30: Make the gravy
13.45: Assemble the cabbage salad. Add the prosciutto, the pears, and the dressing. Serve.
14.00: Serve the pork. Sit down and eat.
15.30: Serve the dessert
Make someone else do the dishes and relax!
CHRISTMAS DINNER SHOPPING LIST
To go with the Christmas Dinner Time Plan, I have created a Christmas Dinner Shopping List which lists out all the ingredients you need to buy to make all the recipes on the Christmas Dinner Menu.
The quantities on my shopping list are for 6-8 people. If you are catering for a different number, just divide my quantities by 6 and times by the number you are catering for.
Bear in mind that you will need approximately 0.55 pound (250g) pork per person but adjust if you want leftovers or your visitors are meat lovers! Otherwise, it is a decent quantity.
You may save some time and energy if you use ready-made phyllo for spinach pie.
4½ pounds (2kg) pork loin
12 thin slices prosciutto
FOR PORK LOIN
10 dried prunes, pitted
1 pound (500g) potatoes OR vegetables you like (carrots, peppers, Brussel sprouts etc)
FOR SPINACH PIE
2lb (1kg) spinach OR 28oz (800g) frozen spinach
1 cup fresh dill
2/3 cup fresh parsley or/and chervil (chervil is optional)
1 cup fresh Mediterranean hartwort or/and lovage (It is hard to find so add more spinach and herbs to substitute)
7-8 chard leaves or/and mint stalks
7-8 whole spring onions
FOR THE SALADS
1 medium white cabbage
1 medium red cabbage
2 large pears
1 big pomegranate
3 chili peppers
1 pound (500g) medium beetroots
1.7 pounds (800g) feta cheese (for spinach pie, spicy feta dip, and spicy feta dressing)
0.5 gallon (2 liters) whole milk, fresh
0.5 pounds (250g) ricotta cheese
1 pound (500g) Greek yogurt
0.6 pounds (300g) butter
MEDITERRANEAN PANTRY ITEMS
1 small head of garlic + 2-3 cloves
Fresh thyme (or dried)
0.2 pound (100g) honey
1 pound (500g) ready-made phyllo (if you don’t have to time and energy for homemade phyllo for spinach pie)
1 package phyllo pastry, 12 sheets
Spinach pie 0.5 pounds (500g) bread flour. If you use ready-made phyllo, skip it
Pita bread 0.5 pounds (500g) whole-wheat flour, 0.5 pounds (500g) bread flour
Gravy and rolling 0.3 pounds (150g)
0.8 pounds (400g) fine semolina
1 ⅔ tablespoon (15g) active dry or instant yeast
2 pounds (1kg) granulated sugar
Dry white wine
White wine vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Red pepper flakes
2 cinnamon sticks
½ cup raw walnuts, chopped
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Parchment paper & aluminum foil
CHRISTMAS DINNER TIME PLAN AND SHOPPING LIST PRINTABLES
Click the links below to get printable versions of my Christmas Dinner Time Plan and Shopping List
MY BEST WISHES
The most important ingredient isn’t edible. It’s the joy, the love from the people surrounding the Christmas dinner. Sharing delicious food with your loved ones makes the day special and the food the greatest in the whole world!