Ukrainians celebrate Christmas every year on January 6. The Ukrainian Orthodox church goes by the Julian calendar which reckons Christmas day on the first week of January. The Ukrainian Christmas Eve supper consists of 12 traditional foods, symbolizing the 12 apostles. The meal is meatless, but fish is served.
Dinner Menu for Christmas Eve:
– Kutya (a type of wheat porridge)
– Borshch (hearty vegetable soup)
– Baked or fried fish
– Oseledsi (pickled fish)
– Holubtsi (cabbage rolls)
– Varenyky (dumpling) with potato, sauerkraut, and prune filling
– Cooked beans
– Kapusta and peas (sauerkraut and peas)
– Beets with mushrooms
– Stewed fruit
How to cook Kutya (Sweet Porridge):
1 cup cream of wheat
¼ cup margarine or butter
2 cups water
¼ cup each honey, poppy seeds, and chopped nuts.
Bring the water to a boil in a saucepan. Add the cream of wheat and chopped nuts. Stir until soft and the water is absorbed. Pour the mixture into a serving dish and add the butter and honey. Mix in the poppy seeds, saving a few for sprinkling over the top. Options: You may add raisins, dried peaches chopped or applee, or other dried fruit.
Kutya may be served warm or chilled, and sprinkled with cinnamon, but it is best when prepared several days ahead of time in order for the full flavor to develop. Kutia can be refrigerated for up to two weeks.