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Christmas Around the World
A Danish Christmas

Gaastesteg Med Aebler Og Svedsker (Roast Goose W/Apples & Prunes)

8 lb young goose (to 10 lb)
1/2 lemon
salt & fresh ground pepper 2 c apples; peeled, cored and coarsely chopped
2 c Dried prunes; presoaked, pitted and coarsely chopped
1 lg Onion; peeled & quartered

Preheat oven to 325°F.
To prepare this classic Danish Christmas dish, first wash the goose under cold running water. Pat it thoroughly dry with paper towels and rub inside and out with lemon. Lightly salt and pepper the inside and stuff the cavity with the coarsely chopped apples, prunes and onion quarters. Close by lacing skewers or by sewing with heavy white thread. Fasten the neck skin to the back of the goose with a skewer and truss the bird securely so that it will keep it's shape while cooking.
Roast goose on a rack set in a shallow open pan for 3 to 3 1/2 hours (about 20 to 25 minutes per pound). As the goose fat accumulates in the pan, draw it off with a bulb baster or large kitchen spoon.
Basting the goose itself is unnecessary.
To test whether the bird is done, pierce the thigh with the tip of a small sharp knife. If the juice that runs out is still somewhat pink, roast another 5 to 10 minutes or until juices run clear or pale yellow. When done, turn off oven leaving the finished bird to set with the door ajar for 15 minutes to make it easier to carve.
Transfer the goose to a large heated platter and remove the string and skewers. Scoop out the stuffing and discard it. The fruits and onion will have imparted their flavor to the goose but will be far too fatty to serve.

Note: A newer, better method now calls for pricking the skin of the bird in several places and starting the cooking with the bird breast side down. This allows for the most fat to run clear. And there's a lot of it. Our 8 lb bird yielded over 5 cups of fat! When cooking is halfway done, turn the bird over and continue cooking until the juices run clear.
Traditionally, poached apples stuffed with prunes (see recipe) are served with the Christmas goose. Red cabbage and carmelized potatoes (see recipes) complete the Christmas menu in Denmark.

Halve Aebler med Svedsker (Poached Apple Halves Stuffed with Prunes in Port Wine)

16 medium prunes
2 tsp sugar
2/3 c port wine
8 baking apples
1 c sugar
1 quart cold water

In an enameled, stainless-steel or ovenproof glass bowl, combine the wine, sugar and prunes. marinate the prunes in this mixture for at least 6 hours, then preheat the oven to 350°F. Bake the prunes in their bowl, uncovered, for about 30 minutes, or until they are tender but not falling apart.
Meanwhile, prepare the poached apples. Pare the apples and cut them in half vertically. Scoop out the cores as neatly as possible with a small, sharp knife. In a 2- to 3-quart enameled or stainless-steel saucepan, combine the sugar and water, bring to a boil, and boil steadily for 2 or 3 minutes. Then lower the heat and add the apple halves, 8 at a time. Simmer for 10 minutes, until they are tender but not too soft. Transfer the poached apples to a heated platter with a slotted spoon and poach the remaining apples. Drain the baked prunes of all of their liquid and place 1 prune in each apple half.
Serves 8.

Note: To prepare these in advance, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate. Just before serving, place the prune-filled apples on a lightly buttered cookie sheet, cover with foil and bake 10 minutes in a preheated 400°F oven.

Brunede Kartofler (Caramelized Potatoes)

24 small new potatoes
1 c sugar
8 tbsp unsalted butter, melted

Drop the un-peeled potatoes into a pan of boiling water and cook 15 to 20 minutes, or until they offer no resistance when pierced with the tip of a sharp knife. Let them cool slightly; then peel them.
Melt the cup of sugar in a heavy 10- to 12-inch skillet over low heat. Cook slowly for 3 to 5 minutes, until the sugar turns to a light-brown caramel. Stir constantly with a wooden spoon and watch the sugar closely; the syrup changes colour very rapidly and burns easily. It must not become too dark or it will be bitter.
Stir in the melted butter, and add as many potatoes as possible without crowding the pan. Shake the pan almost constantly to roll the potatoes and coat them on all sides with the caramel. Remove the hot, caramelized potatoes to a heated serving bowl and repeat the procedure until all the potatoes are coated.
Serves 8.

Rødkaal (Braised Red Cabbage)

1 medium head red cabbage (2 to 2 1/2 pounds)
4 tblsp butter, cut into small pieces
1 tblsp sugar
1 tsp salt
1/3 c water
1/3 c white vinegar
1/4 c red currant jelly
2 tblsp grated apple

Wash the head of cabbage under cold running water, remove the rough outer leaves, and cut the cabbage in half from top to bottom. Lay the flat sides down on the chopping board, cut away the core and slice the cabbage very finely. There should be approximately 9 cups of shredded cabbage when you finish.
Preheat the oven to 325°F. Combine the butter, sugar, salt, water and vinegar in a heavy stainless-steel or enameled 4- to 5-quart casserole. When it comes to a boil and the butter has melted, add the shredded cabbage and toss thoroughly with two wooden spoons or forks. Bring to a boil again, cover tightly and place in the center of the oven to braise for 2 hours. There is little danger that the cabbage will dry out during the cooking, but it is a good idea to check on the liquid level occasionally. Add a little water if it seems necessary.
About 10 minutes before the cabbage is finished, stir in the jelly and grated apple, replace the cover and complete the cooking.
Serves 6.

Note: The piquant taste of red cabbage will improve if, after it has cooled, it is allowed to rest for a day in the refrigerator and then reheated either on top of the stove or in a 325°F oven.

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