Ditte Isager

It’s a busy season for Nadine Levy Redzepi, author of the new cookbook 'Downtime,' and her chef husband, René, who is about to reopen his celebrated Copenhagen restaurant, Noma. But on December 24, the couple’s focus is on gathering friends and loved ones to share a soul-warming feast and lots of rollicking yuletide cheer.


Stephen Wallis
December 14, 2017
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“My favorite thing about Christmas has always been the 
smells that go through the house—I like to have something in the oven all day,” says Nadine Levy Redzepi, whose husband, René, is the chef of Noma, the much-lauded temple of 
New Nordic cuisine that shuttered temporarily in February and is gearing up for a blockbuster reopening early next year. At home, more often than not it’s Nadine who cooks for 
the family, which includes three daughters (ages nine, six 
and three) and Nadine’s mother. Especially on weekends 
and holidays, meals at the Redzepis’ are about spending time together and with the friends they routinely entertain from places near and far. It’s cherished downtime from the stresses of the restaurant, and they make the most of it. 


So it’s no coincidence that Downtime is the name Nadine has given her first cookbook, a collection of favorite home recipes that, as she puts it, are about “blurring the distinction between family food and special occasions.” And few occasions at the Redzepis’ can compare with their annual Christmas Eve celebration, when they host upwards 
of 20 guests at their home in the city’s Christianshavn neighborhood. A 17th-century former blacksmith’s 
workshop, the space features lots of rustic timber beams 
and a forge that’s been repurposed as a kitchen fireplace—perfect for roasting an apple-and-prune–stuffed goose while truffled porchetta cooks in the oven. 


Ditte Isager

By the time guests start arriving mid-afternoon, Champagne has been opened and tables are arrayed with snacks. “We always have lots of smoked fish, cured fish eggs and fresh cheese that has been smoked in hay,” says Nadine, who likes to scoop salmon tartare onto her homemade potato chips (“my biggest weakness,” she admits). The kids get 
to open a few gifts, and then everyone sits down to enjoy 
the feast. Accompanying the traditional goose and tradition-twisting porchetta are classic savory-sweet side dishes like caramel potatoes and braised red cabbage—which René spends days making—plus plentiful bottles of red Burgundy and Vin Jaune. 


Afterward, the Danish custom of singing and dancing around the tree is usually supplanted by a lively gift-exchanging game involving lots of animated dice rolling that lets everyone work up an appetite for the rice pudding dessert. Not to be forgotten are the walnut crescent cookies—
irresistibly crunchy and generously dusted with powdered sugar—a recipe Nadine picked up from an old friend 
of her mother’s and has been enjoying since childhood. “For me,” she says, sounding more than a little like a kid, “these cookies are Christmas.”

Try the recipes:

Herbed Salmon Tartare with Chips

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Supersimple Green Salad


Ditte Isager

Caramel Potatoes

Ditte Isager

Glazed Pickled Red Cabbage


Ditte Isager

Goose Stuffed with Apples and Armagnac-Soaked Prunes

Ditte Isager

Pork Belly Porchetta with Truffles


Ditte Isager

Walnut Crescents


Abby Hocking

Almond Rice Pudding with Sweet Cherry Sauce and Caramel Cream


Ditte Isager

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