Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Christmas Recipes

The following are all musts for a traditional Danish Christmas

Roast Pork (serves 6)
1.75-2kg pork roast with the rind still on it (chuck steak or shoulder works well)
Coarse grounded salt
3 bay leaves

Preheat the oven to 250C. Cut slices in the rind all the way down to the meat, but don't cut the meat itself. Put the roast with the rind down in a roasting dish and cover with enough water to *just* cover the rind. Put it at the very bottom of the hot oven and "boil" the rind for 20 minutes.

Take out the roast and discard the water. If you have a small grate for the roasting dish, use this, otherwise just put the roast back into the roasting dish, this time rind side up. Rub the rind with salt and pepper (the salt helps the rind get crispy) and add a few bay leaves between the cuts in the rind here and there. Pour 1/2 cup of water over.

Turn down the heat to 180C and cook the roast for about an hour or until a roast thermometer reads 70-75C. Add extra water if necessary.

Pour out the water remaining (saving it, if you want to use it for a gravy), and cook the roast for another 15 minutes at 250C - keep careful watch! You want the rind to be crisp, not burnt!

Let the roast rest for 10 minutes uncovered. Carve and serve.

Caramelized Potatoes (serves 6)
125g sugar (about 1.5dl)
40g butter
1.5kg peeled small cold boiled potatoes

Pour the sugar evenly on a cold pan. Let the sugar melt without stirring - first 2 minutes at high heat, then at medium heat. Add butter and turn up the heat. Rinse the potatoes and shake off most of the water (they should still be damp, but not dripping). Add the potatoes to the pan and brown them at high heat for 6 minutes, stirring carefully. Add a bit of water if the potatoes start to get too dry.

Stewed red cabbage (serves 6)
(DISCLAIMER: never made this from scratch - we always buy the cabbage pre-stewed).

40g butter
6tbsp red currant jelly
3tsp balsamico vinegar
1.5tsp salt
750g finely chopped red cabbage

Bring butter, jelly, vinegar and salt to a boil in a large pot. Add the red cabbage and let it boil at medium heat under lid for 15 minutes. Remove the lid and boil at high heat and while stirring for about 3 minutes. Season to taste.

Dessert: Ris a la Mande (serves 6)
3dl water
2.5dl jasmin or basnati rice (about 180g)
1 liter milk

100g almonds*
Vanilla from 2 vanilla pods (stay far away from vanilla sugar - it's a wrong taste for this)
4 tbsp sugar
2.5dl whipping cream (you'll want to use the real stuff and NOT whipped cream from a can!)

Bring water and rice to a boil in a fat-bottomed pot. Boil the rice for 2 minutes while stirring regularly. Add milk and bring down to a low simmer, still stirring for another 10 minutes. Put a lid on and let it simmer for another 30 minutes or so - stirring occasionally.

Leave the porridge in the fridge until next day or until it's cold.

Pour boiling water over the almonds and let them stand for a bit, so you can get the skin off (of course you can skip this step if your almonds are already de-skinned). Put one aside and chop the rest coarsly. Mix the porridge with the vanilla, sugar and the chopped almonds. Whip the cream and carefully turn it into the porridge together with the one whole almond**. Put it back in the fridge for another 2 hours. Season to taste with extra vanilla and sugar.

Serve with warm red berry sauce - we typically use cherry sauce.

* I like my Ris a la Mande to be very ala Mande'ish, so I typically prefer those with more almonds than the recipe calls for, but try it out, and see what you prefer.

** This is a Danish tradition - the one complete almond is hidden in the dessert, and whoever gets it wins a small prize :)

Cherry Sauce (serves 6)
(DISCLAIMER: I've never actually made this. In Denmark you can buy this in stores around Christmas time, but I wasn't sure if the same would be the case in the US, so I figured I'd include it. The recipe is for cherries, but you can use any form of sweet red berries).

1dl cherry juice
1tbsp potato or corn flour
700g sweet cherry preserves
2tbsp sugar

Make a thickening of the juice and flour.

Put berries, the rest of the juice and sugar into a pot and bring it to a boil. Remove the pot from the heat and add the thickening while stirring. Heat the sauce through again before serving, being careful not tolet it boil!

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