K&Potluck Holiday Edition: recipes from around the world for the holiday season

December 21, 2021

K&P Team, foreword inspired by Shane Madill

To paraphrase the late Anthony Bourdain, perfect meals frequently have very little to do with the food itself.

In celebration of the holiday season, and inspired by the perceptive reflections of Mr. Bourdain, we asked the K&P team to share a special holiday recipe that connects them to a person, culture or experience. Whether a household Hanukkah staple, a classic Christmas dish, a seasonal specialty or simply something one enjoys, sharing a recipe is like telling a good story. And as storytellers, our hope is to bring others into these special moments of creating and enjoying.

Here are some of our team’s special holiday recipes:

Sara’s Tourtières (Québec meat pies)

Where do I even begin with tourtière? It is one of Quebec’s finest dishes, an absolute Christmas classic! If you ask any Québécoise what their favorite Christmas recipe is, tourtière will most likely be the one! Whenever we celebrate Christmas with my mom’s side of the family, who all live in rural Quebec, we always indulge in tourtière following my Grandmother’s old family recipe, so this meal definitely hits close to home. With the perfect balance of saltiness from the meat and sweetness with the flaky and butter-y pie crust, tourtière is such a cozy and comforting meal to keep you warm during the cold winter nights. Add a little bit of homemade ketchup on top and voilà! Who said you can’t have pie for dinner?


  • 4 onions, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons (45 ml) olive oil
  • 3 lbs (1.4 kg) ground pork
  • 3 lbs (1.4 kg) ground veal
  • 4 potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 1 cup (250 ml) chicken broth
  • 3/4 cup (180 ml) breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 teaspoon (2.5 ml) ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon (2.5 ml) ground cinnamon
  • 12 rolled-out shortcrust pastry, homemade or store-bought



  1. In a large saucepan, soften the onions and garlic in the oil. Add the meat and continue cooking for about 15 minutes, stirring to crumble the meat. Season with salt and pepper. Add the remaining ingredients and cook, stirring frequently, for about 45 minutes or until the potatoes begin to fall apart. Let cool. Adjust the seasoning. Cover and refrigerate for 4 hours or until completely chilled.
  2. With the rack in the lowest position, preheat the oven to 190 °C (375 °F).
  3. Line six 23-cm (9-inch) pie plates with pastry. Cover with the cooled meat mixture. Cover with a second crust. Make an incision in the centre. Press the lip the seal with a fork or your fingers. Bake for 50 minutes to 1 hour or until the crust is golden brown.

Nathaniel’s Latkes

Let us tell you about latkes, a Jewish cuisine that is traditionally prepared to celebrate Hanukkah. These glorious, fried crispy potato pancakes are a staple in many Jewish households during the holiday season, but are easily enjoyed at any time during the year. Fun fact: latkes have been around since as early as the 14th century, and while practically synonymous with ‘potato today’, were originally made of cheese! 


  • 10 baking or russet potatoes
  • Can mix potatoes and celeriac for lighter latkes – optional, but delicious
  • 3 eggs
  • ¼ cup matzo meal
  • 2 small onions
  • Salt to taste
  • A more neutral oil than you think you need
  • Bowl of vinegar*
    *Not for the recipe, but kept close to the frying pan and it will reduce the overwhelming oily potato smell that will permeate through your entire household


  1. Grate the potatoes separately from all other ingredients. Add matzo meal and squeeze out as much water as possible – the more water you squeeze out, the better. You can use a tea towel or cloth to aid in this process.
  2. Grate all other ingredients in a separate bowl. Add potatoes and matzo meal and mix well.
  3. Heat a lot of oil in a pan and scoop in latkes of your preferred size, being careful not to crowd the pan. Don’t mess with them once they are frying. Let them crisp and they will tell you when they are ready to be flipped. Use more oil as necessary if they start to stick – this will happen.
  4. Keep them warm in them oven at a low temperature as you continue to fry more latkes.
  5. Serve with sour cream, apple sauce or sugar. This is a point of great contention. If you are like me and you live to eat, utilize all three toppings!

Lauren’s Frikadeller (Danish meatballs)

Smörgåsbord is a (grueling) 12-course Christmas Day meal celebrated by most Scandinavians, and while the courses vary between people and places, many are less-than-appetizing for my Western palette. Unless you’re a fan of cold pickled fish, Frikadeller is the fan-favourite and by far the least controversial if you don’t count the bread, butter and cheese course (sorry to the poor lactose and celiac souls).

Enjoy with a well-toasted slice of rye, pair with some pickled cabbage and make sure to chase it down with a (hefty) shot of Akvavit, and skål! You’ve got yourself a Danish Christmas classic.


  • 1 lb ground pork or beef (or both)
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • ½ cup of all-purpose flour
  • 1 egg beaten
  • ½ cup of whole milk
  • ¼ cup of oatmeal, plain oats or breadcrumbs
  • ½ tsp pepper
  • 2 tsp salt
  • Garlic powder to taste


  1. Mix all together in a bowl, and shape into a palm-sized circle, flattening to preference
  2. Fry 6-7 minutes on each side in a well-buttered skillet until browned

Angela’s (Colombian rice pudding)

Arroz con leche is a traditional dessert in Colombia and very popular for the Christmas season! My grandma used to prepare arroz con leche a few times in December, so whenever I prepare it, it brings back all the memories of my family’s Christmas traditions. It’s super easy to prepare and you can make your own version with different toppings and milk varieties.  


  • 1 cup long-grain white rice washed
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 2 cups of water
  • 1 pinch of salt


  • 4 cups of milk (if using plant-based, oat milk gives it a great, creamy consistency)
  • 1 ½ tablespoons of vanilla extract
  • ½ cup of raisins 



  1. Bring water and cinnamon sticks to a boil and cook for 10 minutes. Set aside and discard the cinnamon sticks.
  2. Use the cinnamon water to cook the rice for 5 minutes, using medium heat.
  3. Add the vanilla extract, salt, milk and raisins, stir well and cook uncovered for approximately 15 minutes.
  4. Reduce the heat to low and stir with a wooden spoon. 
  5. Cook for one hour or until the rice pudding thickens to your preferred consistency.
  6. Remove from heat and let it cool at room temperature. Once it’s cool, refrigerate. 

If you’d like a sweeter version of it, you can incorporate condensed milk, sugar or shredded coconut on step 3, or simply add more raisins! 

David’s Half Gin Half Vodka Martini

A recipe with a few ingredients, from a man of many words.

A play on ‘The Vesper’, a martini which first appeared in Ian Fleming’s James Bond novel ‘Casino Royal’, this nightcap is the only proof you need to know that you don’t have to choose between vodka and gin.


  • 2 ounces vodka
  • 2 ounces gin
  • 1/2 ounce vermouth


  1. Shake and garnish with olives
  2. Served in a traditional cocktail glass


As you get ready for this year’s festivities, we hope you enjoy trying these cherished recipes. Who knows? They might become a holiday staple in your household, too!

On behalf of our K&P family, we wish you a joyous holiday season and a happy New Year!

Have a question? Interested in finding out more?