Intrigued? Read on!
stekt Påske kylling ["fried Easter chicken"]
I spent much of the day catching up on work on the computer, leaving much less time than usual for selecting recipes, buying groceries, and preparing several unfamiliar dishes. Abigail and I chose recipes with two things in mind: they couldn't be too complicated/require too much time, and at least one of them had to use chicken stock (because we had in the fridge a container of homemade stock to use up). We found a recipe for "Bergen Easter chicken" in a cookbook by Beatrice Ojakangas. It is very similar to the chicken in gjetost sauce recipe that Susan and I made in April 2009 (in fact, I suspect that recipe, which I found on the Web last year, was lifted from Ojakangas in the first place). However, her Bergen chicken calls for chicken stock, and it doesn't require a lot of fuss, so Abigail and I decided to make it again, just with some adjustments this time around to make it "our own."
We removed the skin from 3.5 pounds of chicken drumsticks, dusted them with salt and white pepper and herbes de Provence [a dried herb mixture], and browned them in butter. Then we added chopped onion and button mushrooms until they, too, were golden brown. Then we added chicken stock and honey mead, in which the chicken simmered until cooked through. Then we removed the drumsticks and added heavy cream and chopped parsley to the broth, raising the heat to reduce the sauce, and then stirring in shredded cheddar cheese. We poured the sauce over the chicken and garnished with more parsley.
The mead gave the sauce a flavor that reminded Susan and me of chicken in Marsalla, and the cheddar thickened the sauce without overpowering the other flavors. The chicken was perfectly done, the sauce was satisfyingly savory, and the mushrooms provided extra little bursts of flavor as we chewed.
bakte rotgrønnsaker salat ["baked root vegetable salad"]
When Abigail and I spotted this easy-to-make recipe in a cookbook by Trina Hahnemann, we did not remember that the April 2009 chicken supper that Susan and I made had also included roasted root vegetables! But the version that Abigail and I made is different from both Susan's and Trina's (which we adjusted a bit). Abigail and I cubed carrots, parsnips, turnips, and sweet potatoes and tossed them in olive oil. We turned them out onto a baking sheet, and I sprinkled salt and cracked black pepper over them while Abigail minced garlic to add to the mix. After they had roasted, we tossed them in balsamic vinegar and added chopped parsley.
The vegetables were absolutely delicious. Roasting veggies in olive oil always brings out a special flavor, but the caramelized garlic and the tangy vinegar and the fresh parsley put this dish over the top. (And the sauce from the chicken made an excellent accidental gravy for any parsnip or turnip chunk that happened to fall into a puddle of it.)
lefse [soft potato-based flatbread]
We bought this lefse after our Sons of Norway lodge's lutefisk supper in September, and it has been in the freezer since then--we've been parceling it out a little at a time to make it last longer! It is so soft and thin and delicious, and it's especially enjoyable because we know that Susan and the girls helped to make it, too!
pærer Belle-Hélène ["pears 'Beautiful Helen'"--a mix of Norwegian and French]
Poires Belle-Hélène ["beautiful Helen pears"] is a French dish that appears in another Ojakangas cookbook in which she states that Norwegians make this dish using fresh pears when they're in season. Abigail and I did not see fresh pears in the grocery store; but even if we had, we did not intend to buy and poach any for this dish. The shortcut: canned large pear halves. We put them and homemade whipped cream (whipping cream, vanilla extract, and sugar) into the fridge to chill until we had finished eating supper.
Then I made chocolate sauce using chocolate bars from our Halloween candy collection! I melted the chocolate into heavy cream in the microwave and then stirred in sugar, butter, and rum. Abigail and I drizzled chocolate sauce over the pears and put a healthy dollop of whipped cream atop each serving. The cold pears plus the warm sauce plus the cold whipped cream equaled a delightful contrast, as did the combination of flavors. And we were all pretty sure that, were we not more civilized, we could have eaten the chocolate sauce alone by the spoonful!