Christmas is a time filled with gatherings with family and loved ones, where undoubtedly food plays a leading role in every household. Each host strives to offer their guests the most delicious traditional dishes to surprise them even more than the previous year. But, what dishes are we talking about? What is eaten on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day in Spain?
Let us tell you!
Traditional Christmas Dishes in Spain
Oven-Roasted Stuffed Turkey
Although the tradition of stuffed turkey primarily comes from the United States and the famous "Thanksgiving" day, it's also true that in Spain it's becoming increasingly common to prepare this dish for Christmas Eve, Christmas, or New Year's Eve. It's one of the most typical Christmas recipes, either because we've seen it in typical American Christmas movies or because it's truly a delicious dish to share during family celebrations.
The key to preparing this recipe is to clean and pluck the turkey properly, add sweet wine to keep it juicy, prepare a rich and flavorful stuffing, and have patience to let it roast in the oven for a few hours. Keep in mind that it's estimated to add 45 minutes of baking time for each kilogram of turkey!
At Enrique Tomás, we'll tell you how to cook it to make it incredibly tasty, with the turkey juicy and tender. And of course, we've added our beloved star product to the stuffing: Iberian ham. Check out our Christmas stuffed turkey recipe with ham.
Roast Lamb or Suckling Pig
One of the star dishes eaten on Christmas Eve or Christmas is roasted leg of lamb or whole suckling pig. Two delicious meats that take center stage on these special festive days.
In the case of roasted suckling pig or lamb, the key is to have it juicy on the inside and crispy on the outside. One of the most interesting tricks is to baste the leg of lamb or suckling pig every 20 minutes with the juices in the roasting pan.
Although roasting is the most common way to prepare dishes like these, it's not the only way. In fact, if you're short on time on the actual celebration day, it might be interesting to try slow-cooking the lamb at a low temperature and save it in the fridge to finish off at the last moment.
The classic accompaniments to these meats are usually confit potatoes, caramelized tomatoes, or seasonal vegetables.
Roast Leg of Lamb
Seafood has become an essential part of Christmas tables. One of the most sought-after species during the holidays is red prawns. You can cook them as part of an appetizer, as the highlight in a "surf and turf" dish, or as a significant element in fish and seafood stews and soups, another star recipe during this time.
On the other hand, lobster is also a very common dish eaten on Christmas Eve or Christmas. Many people opt to cook it in the oven, on the grill, or even as part of a seafood stew ("caldereta"). When it comes to crustaceans, spider crab, spider crab claws, and mantis shrimp are highly desired for stuffing, boiling, or as part of typical soups or stews.
Finally, those who love mollusks usually prepare clams, cockles, razor clams, or "coquinas" during Christmas. They play an essential role in Christmas appetizers, often served steamed, with garlic and parsley, or simply grilled.
For fish, the ones commonly prepared for Christmas festivities are those with exquisite and delicate flavors. Recipes that are typically prepared in the oven and accompanied by side dishes. In this case, we invite you to cook sea bream, sea bass, or dorado; baking them will yield great results.
Many people also opt for hake or monkfish, which are essential ingredients in fish and seafood soups or casseroles – as we mentioned earlier, these are some of the most common dishes on Christmas Eve or Christmas.
"Galets" Soup and Christmas Cannelloni
If we head to Catalonia (Spain), the birthplace and foundation of Enrique Tomás, there are certain culinary traditions deeply rooted in Christmas that are predominant in every household. One of them is "galets" soup, and the other is Christmas cannelloni.
The broth is, and has been, undoubtedly the cornerstone of any Christmas meal, prepared through long hours of boiling with a base of vegetables and succulent meat, providing the soup with a rich and delightful flavor. Additionally, "galets," a pasta shaped like giant snail shells, are added to the soup, sometimes stuffed with meat.
On the other hand, Christmas cannelloni are usually prepared the day after to make use of any leftovers from the Christmas feast. They consist of rolled pasta filled with meat, vegetables, or even duck, topped with béchamel sauce and gratinated cheese. They're exquisite!
During Christmas, Iberian ham takes the spotlight in Spain. While it's a product present in our kitchens or pantries throughout the year, it becomes an essential item on every table during the Christmas holidays. Additionally, it's one of the most common gifts, both in family and work settings.
More and more households are choosing to prepare small shared dishes as appetizers, rather than having a large main course on the table. Furthermore, Iberian ham becomes one of the most famous and appetizing appetizers or starters during this time. It's often accompanied by other cured meats or even seafood like prawns, or various types of canapés.
If you have the opportunity to acquire one of our Christmas hampers, you'll have part of your Christmas meal sorted with the best cured meats, nougats, and – of course – the best ham in the world along with its perfect pairing.
Iberian Ham Christmas Hamper
And for Dessert... Nougat
To conclude a hearty Christmas meal, nougats are a must. They are the absolute stars among Christmas sweets and a millennial tradition in our country.
Nougat consists of a mass obtained by cooking honey and sugar, with or without egg white, which is later kneaded with toasted and peeled almonds. Although nowadays, it's not just the classic hard almond nougat that's consumed, but there are many different flavors and variations available.
Now that you know what is eaten on Christmas Eve or Christmas in Spain, what's your favorite dish? What would be your ideal Christmas meal?
If you decide to include Enrique Tomás' ham, you can find all the options to enjoy it to the fullest in our Christmas corner.