Saturday, March 06, 2010

Improvised Pølse

"Let's make pølse!"

That was Suzanna's response when I asked her if she had an opinion about what should be on the menu for this week's Scandinavian Saturday supper. In Norway, pølse ["sausage"] is very popular and prepared/served many different ways. Suzanna and I decided to go with the chopped-and-fried method, but we couldn't find any recipes for a dish that featured pølse made that way. So we made it up! The InterWebs offered us salad and dessert recipes to round out the meal.

(Remember how last week Hillary spent the entire time in the kitchen working on just one part of the meal? Well, that was Suzanna's experience this week, too! Read more about it when you get to the dessert below.)

Skandinavisk salat ["Scandinavian salad"]

I put some eggs on the stove to hard-boil and then made the dressing: plain yogurt, Dijon mustard, curry powder, salt, white pepper, and dill. The dressing chilled in the fridge until it was time to assemble the salad. In each bowl I arranged Romaine lettuce, wedges of hard-boiled egg, sliced English cucumber, and cooked shrimp, and then I drizzled the dressing over it all. It was a fine salad, but it wasn't my favorite dressing ever . . . a little bland. At least there was plenty of shrimp in every serving--yum!

pølse med grønnsaker ["sausage with vegetables"]

In the morning, in anticipation of making this dish, I baked three potatoes and let them cool. By suppertime, they were ready for me to cube and add to a huge bowl of other chopped ingredients: leeks, celery, carrots, mushrooms, red peppers, and pølse. In a large electric frying pan, I browned the slices of turkey sausage and, as they started to release their juices and fat, I added the other ingredients to fry. I seasoned the mixture with salt, ground pepper, coriander, and crushed caraway seeds.

When the vegetables were done, I removed the mixture and added beef stock to deglaze the pan, releasing all the tasty bits from the bottom of the pan back into the liquid. In a separate pan, I sautéed some minced garlic in butter, added tomato paste, and then poured it all into the frying pan with the beef stock. I stirred in sour cream, nutmeg, and dill to thicken the stock and create a gravy. Then I returned the sausage and vegetables to the pan to coat them in the sauce.

Um, yeah, there was nothing untasty about this dish! Sausage generally brings plenty of flavor all on its own, but that was enhanced by the presence of the caraway and the combination of the other seasonings. The savory sauce was creamy and rich but not overpowering, and the vegetables were sweet and had a good texture that kept the dish hearty and substantial.

Norske jordbær grøt ["Norwegian strawberry pudding"]

When we got home from the grocery store, Suzanna set to work immediately on dessert. Little did either of us know that it would keep her occupied the entire time we were in the kitchen! She cleaned and sliced a pound of strawberries and cooked them in water with sugar until soft. She let the fruit cool a bit and then poured it into a strainer over a large bowl so that she could "use the back of a spoon to push the berries through a sieve," as the instructions told her. This step took her a very, very, very long time. She never complained, though. She just kept mashing and mashing while chatting with me.

Finally it was time for her to discard the strawberry solids and return the juice to the stove top. She mixed in some cornstarch, brought it to a boil, and then reduced the heat for the final cooking step. She poured the mixture into bowls and put them in the fridge to chill for dessert. Unfortunately the rest of the meal was ready before we even got the strawberry pudding into the fridge, so it had no hope of being either cooled or set by the time we were ready to eat dessert. We even waited an hour or so after supper to return to the table for dessert, by which time it was cooled--but it was definitely more of a thick soup than a pudding. It was delicious nevertheless: a simple, clean, fruity delight.

(And Suzanna admitted to having added more sugar than the recipe called for because "it just wasn't sweet enough." Atta girl!)

1 comment:

  1. Like Grandpa like Father like Daughter! Sugar aplenty!