Saturday, December 18, 2010

An Early Norwegian Christmas Meal

The past couple years, the girls have been involved in competitive swimming as a club sport, which has two seasons: a winter one and a summer one.  This fall, Suzanna was old enough to join the school's varsity swim team, too, whose season is in the fall.  So, Faithful Reader, although you've stopped reading about Suzanna's varsity swim meets due to the end of their autumn season, you're about to start reading about all three girls' club swim meets due to the start of their winter season.  Got that?!

Their first meet of this season was today in Mandan.  I stayed home to get some work done and prep for Scandinavian Saturday supper (more on that in a bit), but Susan kept me updated (via texts) after every event.  Each daughter improved on her best times from last season; and in a couple instances, they were pretty darned close to the qualifying times for competing in the state meet!  This is a great way to start the season.

For tonight's ethnic meal, I chose the recipes and bought the groceries and then enlisted Susan's assistance (she was my helper this week) once they were back from Mandan.  Here's what we made (thanks to recipes from Trina Hahnemann):

Drool and/or click to enlarge . . . and then proceed.

svinekjøtt med rosmarin, timian og hvitløk ["pork with rosemary, thyme, and garlic"]

I bought a small, boneless pork roast.  Susan scored the thin layer of fat on the top and rubbed into it a mixture of lemon zest, thin lemon slices, fresh rosemary, fresh thyme, minced garlic, salt, and pepper.  When it was done roasting and had sat for a while to let the juices settle, I sliced it to serve.  The combination of flavors in the crust was really appealing . . . and it gave the house a wonderful fragrance, too!  Trina recommends this for a Christmas Eve meal along with traditional caramel potatoes and red cabbage . . . so we made her recipes for those dishes, too!

karamell poteter ["caramel potatoes"]

I scrubbed Yukon Gold potatoes, cut them into even chunks, and boiled them in salt water.  When they were cooked, Susan melted sugar in a pan, added butter to simmer until it became a caramel, and then turned the cooked potatoes into the mixture to coat them.  That was it!  Sweet caramel on potatoes was an unexpected taste sensation, but it was good; and I have read about similar recipes in several Scandinavian cookbooks.  In fact, Trina prefaces her recipe with this statement: "This may seem an unusual way of cooking potatoes; but as far as my children and I are concerned, Christmas isn't Christmas without caramel potatoes."  She goes on to state that "another essential side dish is red cabbage."  Here's how we made that:

rødkål ["red cabbage"]

I cored and thinly sliced a head of red cabbage and sautéed it in butter.  I sliced a yellow onion to add to the sauté.  When the cabbage was shiny, I added red wine, sugar, red currant jelly, and vinegar.  I put whole cloves and a cinnamon stick into some cheese cloth and dropped that bundle into the pan, and the whole concoction simmered for two hours.  I agree with Trina's description of its "wonderful, sweet-sour-spicy flavor."  It was a great match for the pork . . . and it, too, gave the house a terrific smell.

Because next Saturday is Christmas Day, we most likely will eat traditional-to-our-own-family foods rather than unfamiliar-to-us Scandinavian recipes--so this Christmas Eve meal served as our Scandinavian Christmas Eve a week early!  In that spirit, for dessert we ate some of the Christmas baking that Susan and the girls have made.  What a satisfying meal!


  1. It was delicious -- and the pork was even better the next day.