Sunday, March 13, 2011

Cooking Gingerly

Because of our busy schedule yesterday, I postponed the weekly Nordic Saturday meal until today: a Scandinavian Sunday supper instead.  It was Susan's turn to be my assistant, but she had an all-afternoon workshop to attend at church; so I volunteered to make this meal by myself and have her help me next week instead (when it would have been my turn to cook alone).

All the recipes came from Swedish chef Marcus Samuelsson.  I'll tell you what everything is:

Lower left: bräserad rödkål; upper left: ryktade potatis; right: beskär-fyllda stekt fläsk

beskär-fyllda stekt fläsk ["prune-stuffed pork roast"] -- I pierced two pork loin roasts and stuffed prunes, chopped fresh ginger, and chopped garlic cloves into the holes.  I rubbed the roasts with olive oil and coated them with a mixture of marjoram, fresh ginger, caraway seeds, kosher salt, and freshly ground black pepper and then popped them in the oven.  When they were done, I deglazed the roasting pan with white wine to scrape up the tasty brown bits from the bottom.  In another pan I sautéed chopped shallots and fresh ginger in olive oil.  Then I added chopped prunes, chicken stock, balsamic vinegar, the deglazing liquid, and some corn starch, simmering it until it reduced.  Then I whisked in some butter, kosher salt, and freshly ground black pepper to taste and served the roasts on a platter with some sauce drizzled over the meat and the remainder served on the side.

Susan told me that it was perhaps the best pork roast she has ever eaten, and I must agree that it was super-tender and so, so tasty from the pungent garlic roasted right inside the meat and the pungent ginger coating on the outside along with the savory caraway and sweet prunes.  We all had seconds and thirds of the melt-in-your-mouth main dish.

ryktade potatis ["curried potatoes"] -- I baked Yukon Gold potatoes in the skin until just underdone, removed them to cool, and peeled and cubed them.  I cored, peeled, and cubed Granny Smith apples and sprinkled them with freshly squeezed lemon juice.  In a skillet I combined canola oil, mustard seeds, and curry paste until the mustard seeds began to pop.  Then I added the potatoes, the apples, and white wine vinegar, stirring until the potatoes were cooked through and the apples were soft.

It was an interesting variation on fried potatoes.  The apples were an unexpected element, but I have learned over the past couple years that, in Scandinavian cooking, apples are often used in vegetable-ish ways.  In any case, they soaked up the vinegar and offered both a sweet and tangy sensation with every bite.  There was just enough curry in the dish to give it a spicy background.  Delicious in their own right--but frankly, I thought the potatoes were even better when drizzled with some of the sauce from the meat used as a gravy.

bräserad rödkål ["braised red cabbage"] -- I chopped up and fried some bacon until crispy.  Then I added chopped red onion, chopped fresh ginger, and a cinnamon stick and sautéed them in the bacon drippings.  Then I added shredded red cabbage, marjoram, garam masala (an Indian spice mix; Susan made a fresh batch for me to use for this recipe), red wine vinegar, and wine and let it simmer for over an hour.  When the cabbage was done, I added pure maple syrup and let the liquid cook away.

This was a nice variation on cooked red cabbage, spicier than some of the other recipes we have tried (thanks to the ginger, cinnamon, and garam masala) and mildly sweet from the maple syrup (which Samuelsson says is his twist--that in Sweden cooks would use beet syrup instead).

A very tasty meal!


  1. oh..this sounds and looks very yummy!

    Incidently, my word verification is: brine

  2. It was delicious! The pork stayed tender as leftovers...and the garlic & ginger remained VERY pungent!