Swedish Cookery

Over the next four days, we are welcoming into our home our dear friends, Carina and Ragnar, from Stockholm, so I thought it would be appropriate at the start of this week to briefly explore Swedish cookery as a tribute to them.

We have been to Sweden many times now and Carina and Ragnar make us very welcome through their friendship and hospitality. Good food is an essential part of their hospitality and they always provide for us the very best in Swedish cooking and a taste of Sweden and its beautiful countryside. With its vast tracts of forest, mountains and jagged rocky coastline bordering clear blue waters, Sweden is surely among the most beautiful countries on Earth. And as varied, clear and natural as the landscape is its cuisine. Whether it is Gravlaks, Christmas Ham, Meatballs, Reindeer Roast, Forest Mushroom Soup or diverse variations on fish, all of the dishes make the most of the fresh and natural ingredients, enhanced by simple and elegant preparation.

Choosing a small selection of my favourite Swedish dishes has been difficult as there are many delightful and delicious ingredients that make up a host of spectacular recipes that one can enjoy at home, without a trip to Stockholm, Gothenburg. Malmo or any other Swedish town.

Swedish Appetisers -
Ingredients to make 40 pieces
90g butter, 10 slices of rye bread, 10 slices of white toasting bread, 1 iceburg lettuce, 10 herring fillets, 150g diced beetroot, 15 slices of ham, 400g of salmon, 3 hard boiled eggs, 5 tomatoes, lemon slices, 4 tbs mayonnaise, 3 tbs creamy horseradish, chopped parsley, dill for garnish
  1. Butter the bread sparingly and cut each slice in half. Cut the hard stalk out of the iceburg lettuce separate the leaves and place them on the bread.
  2. Cut the herring fillets in half and them cubes. Toss it with the beetroot and spoon over some of the bread slices.
  3. Arrange the ham on several slices of bread and the salmon on the remaining pieces.
  4. Dice the eggs and tomatoes.
  5. Garnish all the open-faced sandwiches as desired with diced egg and tomato, lemon slices, mayonnaise, creamy horseradish and herbs. (A cold beer goes well with this!)

Stuffed Salmon -
Ingredients to serve 4
12 lettuce leaves, 150ml double cream, 1tbs lemon juice, 4tbs horseradish from the jar, 350g crabmeat, salt, pepper, 8 slices of salmon, several sprigs of fresh dill
  1. Wash the salad leaves well and pat dry. Arrange them on four plates.
  2. Beat the cream until stiff, flavour with the lemon juice and blend in the horseradish.
  3. Stir the crabmeat into the horseradish cream, add salt nad pepper to taste.
  4. Distribute the crab stuffing onto the salmon slices. Roll up and seal with toothpicks if needed. Arrange on the lettuce leaves on the plates and garnish with fresh dill. 

Reindeer Burger   (I know this is a very basic recipe but if you have never tasted reindeer then you have missed a real treat)
Ingredients to serve 4
400g minced reindeer meat, 1 egg, 50g breadcrumbs, salt, pepper, 40g butter, 4 hamburger buns, 4 lettuce leaves, 2 tomatoes, 2 pickled gherkins, 2tbs dried fried onions, 2tbs mustard
  1. Combine the meat with the egg, breadcrumbs, salt, pepper in a bowl and knead to a firm mass.
  2. Form 4 patties, pressing them flat.
  3. Heat the butter in a pan and cook the burgers for about 8 minutes until brown on both sides.
  4. Halve the burger buns and toast them. Place a lettuce leaf on each of the bottom halves.
  5. Remove the burgers from the pan and place each on one of the buns.
  6. Slice the tomatoes and cut the gherkins into fine strips. Arrange on the burgers, then top with fried onions.
  7. Spread the mustard on the upper half of the buns and place on top of the burgers.
  8. Serve with a tomato salad.

Smaklig malt!

Extracted from 'Swedish Cookery' by Sylvia Winnewisser (NGV Books) ISBN 13-978-3-625-01000-5


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