A Galician Christmas Top 5

December has started and Christmas is approaching. The streets are decorated and the lights dazzle us as we walk. Before eating (not) a few panettone here, in Italy, I would like to bring you something typical of my land, and that you can also try to do here! I hope you enjoy it!

The seafood

Galicia does not understand the celebration of Christmas without at least one seafood dish on the table cooked in any of its varieties.

The classic proposal has two proper names: the cooked spider crab and the stuffed scallops. In the first case, one of the unmistakable flavors of Galician Christmas is the carros (the shell) of the spider crab stuffed with its own meat and lightened with a splash of Albariño wine. The scallop knows an infinite number of combinations for its filling, from prawns and monkfish to bacon, hake … Any option is good, always accompanied by a béchamel sauce and a quick passage through the oven.

Clams allow for two great possibilities. The slimy variety, typical of the Galician estuaries, is usually cooked a la marinera. But the Carril clam, due to its large size, looks much more cooked in the pan. Both of them shoot up their price on these dates, so it was advisable to have anticipated a few weeks.

The two undisputed kings of these dates – although perhaps not within the reach of all pockets – are the barnacle and the shrimp. In Galicia, the coastal towns take the opportunity to cook them with sea water and laurel. Inside, the trick will be in the salt that is incorporated into the pot. And the cooking time will always be short, around a minute. Shrimp requires the same care except for one detail: once cooked, it is advisable to place in cold water with ice to harden the meat. This can be served cold, but in the case of the barnacle it is a gastronomic crime against humanity.

 Lacón with Grelos

In every good Galician village house the remains of the pig slaughter at the end of November are stored, and with them a typical but no less laborious dish is made. The master touch is in the ham stew, which requires no less than two hours to become a tender and juicy meat.

Handling the stove and potas can alter the result. The speed cookers cut waiting times but the flavor of grandmothers is still hidden in the cauldrons of a lifetime, those over medium heat that start to boil from early morning. Potatoes, sausages and turnip greens are incorporated almost at the last minute for cooking. It is usually accompanied previously by a vegetable broth.


One of the most recommended slow cooker dishes for these dates. Among the most common recipes, the stewed beef shank in wine stands out, in which the diner can enjoy a juicy meat combined with the intense flavor of red wine. It is recommended to cook the meat for about two hours, although many dedicate this time to making a suitable garnish with sauteed vegetables to taste

Filloas and other sweets

It is the quintessential dessert of the Entroido in Galicia but in many homes it brings its arrival to Christmas. The dough does not have butter but – in the traditional recipe – pork fat, and its flour is white. Water, milk, flour, eggs, sugar and salt in a formula that each filloeira calibrates in its own way and way, and the result can be eaten alone or seasoned with all kinds of accompaniments: with sugar, with honey, with cream, filled with chocolate or cream … The filloas holds it all.

They are not the only sweet desserts for Christmas. In the region of Melide, the melindres– small glazed and syrupy donuts – are a classic, and in the province of Pontevedra the so-called marzipan soap opera has spread. The Tarta de Santiago also survives this time, although we will have to look for one that is not especially dry, because its combination with polvorones can be lethal. Allariz works with almendrados, a delicious variant. Other cakes such as chestnut or apple cakes are equally common, because they are seasonal fruits.

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