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Friday, April 2, 2010

Swedish Cuisine

Swedish cuisine, like that of the other Scandinavian countries was traditionally simple. Fish (particularly herring), meat and potatoes played prominent roles. Swedish cuisine is practical and sustaining. In the far north there are variations such as reindeer, and other game dishes which have their roots in the Sami people. Fresh vegetables are more common in the south. The Swedes have been open to foreign influence, ranging from French cuisine during the 17th and 18th centuries, to the sushi and café latte of today. Since the 1960s pizza has been an integral part of the Swedish culture and twenty years later the same could be said about kebab and falafel, since many small restaurants specialize in these dishes.

Swedish husmanskost – traditional Swedish dishes with local ingredients. The word husmanskost stems from husman, which means house owner (without associated land). Genuine Swedish husmanskot uses mostly local ingredients such as pork, fish, cereals, milk, potato, root vegetables, cabbage, onion, apples and berries. Methods of cooking are time consuming such as redningar (roux) and langkok (literally "long cook"). At present husmanskot has undergone a change during the last decades and known Swedish chefs such as Tore Wretman have presented modernized variations of classical Swedish dishes. This "nouvel husman" has less fat content and cooking methods have been speeded up and/or enhance the nutritional value or flavor of the dishes.

Swedish dishes:

Artsoppa which is yellow pea soup usually eaten on Thursdays, served with pork and mustard. Mustard is an important part of the dish, but the soup is served without it so that people can stir it in to taste. This is normally followed by pancakes with jam for dessert.

Falukorv a large traditional Swedish sausage made of grated mixture of pork and beef or veal with potato flour and mild spices. The literal meaning of the word is "Sausage from Falun". During the 16th and 17th centuries in the Falun copper mine ox hide was used for ropes and some of the meat remaining after slaughtering was used for sausages. Meals typically made with falukorv include the sausage sliced and fried with boiled, fried or mashed potatoes or elbow macaroni. Also served with Swedish brown bean stew and fried egg. Baked whole in the oven with cheese and mustard with mashed potatoes or as a substitute for beef in Beef Stroganoff.

Fiskbullar – Fish balls made with mild white fish pieces of cod, haddock or tilapis then blended with cream, pureed and made into balls.

Gravlax or gravad lax (Swedish) is a dish consisting of raw salmon cured in salt, sugar and dill. Usually it’s served as an appetizer, thinly sliced and served with a dill and mustard sauce, either on bread or with boiled potatoes.

Isterband (Swedish "lard-ribbon") is a coarsely ground, lightly smoked sausage made of pork, barley groats and potato. There are many different varieties. It is often served with creamed dill potatoes and pickled beetroot. This is one of the dishes of the Swedish smorgasbord.

Janssons frestelse ("Jansson’s temptation") a traditional Swedish casserole made of potatoes, onions, pickled sprats, bread crumbs and cream. Potatoes and sprats are layered alternating the sprats with onions. Salt and pepper over each layer and cream is added so that it almost fills the tin and then it is baked.

Kaldolmar are Swedish cabbage rolls which are filled with ground beef or pork and sometimes rice. Usually eaten with boiled potatoes, gravy and lingonberry jam.

Kottsoppa (meat soup) a clear meat and root vegetable soup. The beef and bones supplying the broth. Sometimes pork, reindeer or elk are used. Common root vegetables are carrot, potato, celeriac, parsnip turnip, swede, and leek. Peppercorns and bay leaves are added for seasoning. It is sometimes eaten with klimp which are simple dumplings made of wheat, milk and egg.

Kroppkaka a traditional Swedish dish which consists of potato dumplings with a filling of onions, pork or bacon. Common ingredients are potatoes, wheat flour, onion, salt and minced pork. Served with butter, cream and lingonberry jam.

Kottbullar Swedish meatballs made with ground beef or a mix of ground beef and pork, mixed with breadcrumbs soaked in milk and finely chopped onions. They are seasoned with white pepper or allspice and salt. They are served with gravy, boiled potatoes, lingonberry jam and sometimes with a fresh pickled cucumber.

Lutefisk a traditional dish of the Nordic countries made from stockfish (air-dried whitefish) or dried/salted whitefish (klippfisk) and soda lye (hut).

Polsa a traditional dish which is a type of hash similar to haggis and scrapple. The main ingredients are minced beef, liver, heart, onion and pot barley mixed with stock, black pepper and marjoram. Usually served with boiled or fried potatoes, pickled beetroot and sometimes a fried egg.

Raggmunk literally translated means "hairy doughnuts" because the grated potatoes make them look hairy. Prepared with a batter of wheat flour, milk, egg and shredded potatoes and fried thin like pancakes. Enjoyed with fried bacon and lingonberry jam.

Pyttipanna also pytt i panna which is Swedish for "leftovers in the pan". Traditionally is consists of potatoes, onions and sausage or ham diced and pan fired. It is often served with a fried egg, pickled diced beets, sour pickles and capers. The dish was originally made from leftovers of past meals but now it is more commonly made with prime ingredients.

Smorgastarta ("sandwich cake") is a kind of sandwich with such large amounts of filling that is more resembles a cake than a sandwich. It is normally made up of several layers of white bread with creamy fillings in between. The fillings and toppings vary, but egg and mayonnaise are often the base. Accompanied by any combination of liver pate, olives, prawns, ham, caviar and smoked salmon. It is served cold and sliced like a desert cake.

There are mainly two kinds of stronger beverages in Sweden. The Akvavit, also called Aqua vitae, Scandinavian vodka or schnapps. A second popular drink is Absolut Vodka. Both have around 40% alcohol. The typical Swedish beer is lager beer – a bright and bitter kind. The brands Pripps Bla and Norrlands Guld are typical examples.

Cabbage Rolls - "Kåldolmar"

• 1 small head white cabbage, water, salt
• Filling:
• 1 dl (½ cup) water
• ½ dl (1/4 cup) white rice
• 3 dl (1½cups) milk
• 350 g(about 12 oz) ground beef
• salt, white pepper, thyme
• margarine or butter
• 1 dl (½ cup) light cream

Cut out the core and put the cabbage in salted boiling water. Cook covered, until the leaves are slightly soft and easy to remove from the core. Peel off the leaves one by one and drain on a rack or towel. Trim the coarse centre vein of each leaf. To make the filling, bring the water to a boil. Add the rice and cook covered, until the water is almost absorbed. Stir in the milk and cook till the mixture resembles a thin porridge. Let cool. Mix with the meat and spices, add more milk if necessary. Put a large tablespoonful of filling on each cabbage leaf. Fold the leaf around the filling and secure the roll with a toothpick. Heat a skillet with a little margarine or butter. Brown a few rolls at a time, over moderate heat. Transfer to a casserole. When all the cabbage rolls are browned add a little beef bouillon or water to the casserole, cover and let simmer for about 30 minutes. Add the cream and cook for another 15 minutes. Serve with boiled potatoes and lingonberry preserve.

Meatballs - "Köttbullar"

• 1 dl (½ cup) fine dry bread crumbs
• 1 dl (½ cup) light cream
• 1 dl (½ cup) water
• 200 g (7 oz.) ground beef
• 200 g (7 oz.) ground lean pork
• 1½ tsp. salt
• ½ tsp. ground allspice
• 2 tbl grated yellow onion
• (and/or 2 crushed garlic cloves)
• 1 egg, beaten
• 3 tbl margarine or butter

Mix the bread crumbs, cream and water; set aside for 5 minutes. Work together the beef, pork, salt, allspice and onion. Gradually add the bread crumbs, then the egg. Blend well and fry a sample to test the seasoning. Shape into balls. Make large meatballs to be served for dinner or small meatballs for the smörgåsbord. Heat part of the margarine or butter in a skillet. Add 10 to 15 meatballs. Fry over moderate heat until the meatballs are beautifully brown and cooked through. Transfer to a serving dish and keep hot while frying the remaining meatballs. Serve with boiled potatoes, lingonberry preserve and a tossed salad. By Rasma Raisters

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