It's The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year For A Traditional Maltese Dinner
by Chiara Micallef
Maltese dishes are the ultimate epitome of comfort, love and decadence in food form. They are an absolute blessing for anyone who is fortunate enough to experience them – so why not organise a Christmas dinner to remember this year, by cooking a lovingly delicious Ikla tal-Milied like no other?
From decadent mqarrun il-forn to heartwarming stuffat tal-fenek, here's the perfect Maltese menu for this year's festive celebrations.
A Maltese Platter
A popular all-rounder loved by everyone, the Maltese platter is the ultimate crowd-pleaser at any gathering. For this delicious platter, you will need bigilla, olives, gbejniet, capers, pickled onions, stuffed olives, Maltese sausages, sun-dried tomatoes and tuna. You can either create a deconstructed hobz biz-zejt plate or serve bite-sized ready-filled slices, along with galletti.
The First Course
- Olive oil
- 500g rigatoni pasta
- 500g minced pork and beef
- 3 onions diced
- 3 cloves garlic thinly sliced
- 2 tbsp kunserva
- 100ml beef stock
- 1 can tomato sauce
- 4 lightly beaten eggs
- Grated cheese plus another two tablespoons for the top
- 2 Grated gbejniet
- 2 hard-boiled eggs chopped
Garlic and onions should be cooked in a sizable frying pan until tender and transparent.
Add salt, pepper, and minced meat. Cook the beef until it begins to brown. Preheat oven to 180 degrees.
Add Tomato puree, beef stock, and tomato paste, bring to a boil and then simmer for at least 30 minutes.
Boil the pasta according to the package directions, then drain and reserve.
Combine the sauce, pasta, beaten eggs, hard-boiled eggs, and cheese in a sizable oven-safe dish. Add salt and pepper to taste. Mix gently and top with additional cheese.
Cook for 45 to 60 minutes.
- 3 rabbits skinned and jointed
- 3 onions chopped
- 5 garlic cloves peeled
- 2 cans tomato puree
- 3 tsp kunserva
- 10 large potatoes quartered
- 6 carrots chopped
- 200g canned peas
- 8 bay leaves
- 2 sprigs marjoram
- 500ml red wine
- 1 tsp honey
- 1 tsp coriander seeds
- Bunch spring onions
Overnight, prepare the rabbit by marinating it in wine, garlic, marjoram sprigs, coriander seeds, and bay leaves. When it's time to cook, add 3 tablespoons of olive oil to a large skillet and heat it over high heat while browning the rabbit parts on all sides. Set aside.
Reduce heat to low and add onions to the pan. Cook until brown, add garlic and bay leaves. Cook for another minute. Add tomato puree and increase the heat. Add the kunserva and a ladle of rabbit marinade.
Place the rabbit in the pan, add just enough water to cover the meat, and cover the pan.
Reducing to a medium simmer, bring to a boil once more. Add the potatoes, carrots, and honey after about 45 minutes. Stir and keep simmering.
Serve with pasta and/or Maltese bread.
- 2 tbsp treacle
- 750g mixed dried fruit and candied peel
- 500g mixed nuts (optional)
- 1 tsp grated ginger
- 2 tsp Allspice
- 180g leftover bread
- 2 tbsp Cocoa powder
- 400ml milk
- 75g plain flour
- 3 eggs beaten
- 1 orange zest + juice
- 1 lemon zest + juice
- Quarter pint brandy
Use your hands to tear the leftover bread into bits. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of cocoa powder on top after moistening with milk. Until the bread is completely wet, stir occasionally.
Combine the dried fruits, ginger, nuts, candied peel, cocoa powder, treacle, spices, eggs, and brandy in a big bowl. Mix in the rest of the ingredients – mix well.
Add bread, orange, and lemon to the mixture.
Pour the mixture into an oven-safe dish that has been greased with unsalted butter. Cook for 30 to 40 minutes, or until golden and crisp on top.