Last Sunday I peeled potatoes. Ain´t that something? I felt beyond housewifey. But it was the right thing to do for this very traditional Norwegian meal. Actually it is a Christmas dinner, but I wanted to eat it in March. Hence the angel napkins.
Fenabog, and the more common Christmas dish; pinnekjøtt, is cured and salted lamb. The only difference is that they are different parts of the lamb. Pinnekjøtt is lamb ribs, while fenabog is the shoulder of the lamb. Traditionally the meat was cured and salted as preservation methods. Nowadays it is done for the flavor.
Now this is not hard work (except maybe for having to peel potatoes), but it is a little time consuming. The meat needs to soak in cold water for about 12 hours. And it needs to steam for about 3 hours. Layer some birch sticks or a metal strainer in the bottom of a large pot. Then add the meat. Pour a little water into the pot, making sure that the meat is still above the water.
Cover with a lid and put over low heat. Steam for about 3 hours, until the meat is tender. Make sure to check on it every now and then to adjust the waterlevel if necessary. If the juices are starting to cover some of the meat, just pour some into a small pot and save it for the sauce!
When the meat is about halfway done it is time to start with the accessories. For the pureed swede (aka Swedish turnip or rutabaga), peel and cube some swede. I also like to add some carrots, both for the added color and for the added sweetness.
Boil until tender. Peel potatoes (use a kind of potato that doesn´t easily crumble when boiled) and boil in a separate pot.
Mash the swede and carrots. Now here comes a little trick I learned from my mother: Push the puree to one side in the pot, exposing part of the pot bottom.
Keep the exposed part over heat and melt some butter. Then add about a tablespoon of flour and let this sizzle a bit before adding a little cream or milk. Now simply stir this into the puree and keep it over low heat for a few minutes. Season with salt, pepper and perhaps a teaspoon of sugar as well. Timing wise you should try to have this done when the meat is done.
When the meat is done, pour all the juices into a small pot, add a spoon of butter and give it a quick boil.
Arrange the meat, potatoes and pureed swede on your plate, and drizzle some sauce over it all. But here is a warning to all non-Norwegians: Be careful – it is salty! But oh so lovely! I am a sauce-person, can you tell? I am gonna take advantage of the fact that I am not a native English speaker, and call my self “saucey” 😀
Traditionally served with beer and aqvavit. Velbekomme!
PS. If you love the vintage angel napkins, check out the other napkins from Sagen vintage design as well. Beautiful stuff!
- salted and cured lamb (shoulder; ca. 350 grams per person or ribs; ca. 500 grams per person)
- swede (1 medium size per 4 persons or so)
- a couple of carrots
- 3-4 TS Butter
- 1 TS flour
- fenabog (ca. 350 g per pers) eller pinnekjøtt (ca. 500 g per pers)
- kålrabi (1 medium per 4 personer omtrent)
- et par gulrøtter
- 3-4 ss smør
- 1 ss mel