Saturday, March 21, 2009

Denmark in the House

Last year, Boyfriend and I bought out half a grocery store when preparing for our Christmas holidays in the US. Boyfriend's father is Danish and since he couldn't travel to Denmark, we wanted to bring a bit of Scandinavia to him. We made a very traditional Scandinavian dinner for Boyfriend's family and my own. On the table was Norwegian smoked salmon, pickled herring in tomato sauce, and rok fiske (literally translated to rotten fish) garnished with finely diced red onion, capers, and creme fraiche. In addition to the fish, we had liverpate and cold cuts. For the cheese, we had a Danish blue cheese, a smoked Gouda (not Scandinavian but my mom liked it), and a Jarlsberg. All of this was served along good, fresh white bread (available at the local Safeway), boiled potatoes, and some crudite.

While preparing for this traditional meal in Oslo, I bought a packet of rådkal, or red cabbage. The red cabbage is stewed until tender and is flavored with vinegar and salt. The result is a mildly sweet, mildly sour dish of tender cabbage slices. It is very popular all around Scandinavia and Germany. When I bought this home from the store, Boyfriend informed me that his mother, who is of Germanic origin, makes it at home so there was no need for the instant, prepackaged kind. So, we've had this package of rådkal at home for quite some time. No worries - it's preserved and has a long shelf life.
When I found this recipe for Danish Pork Burgers, I found the perfect complement for the rådkal sitting in the cupboard. These pork burgers were flavorful, moist, and very lightly seasoned. The mild flavor of the pork patties went great with the slightly sweet vinegar seasoning of the rådkal. To round out the dinner, I roasted some Amandine fingerling potatoes. Dinner was delicious and was my take on an everyday Danish meal.

Danish Pork Burgers
Serves 4
Slightly adapted from
1 pound ground pork
1 small red onion, finely diced
2 slices of bread, torn into small pieces
1/2 cup milk
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 Tbs finely chopped parsley
Vegetable oil for cooking

Dijon sauce
2 Tbs Dijon mustard
1/4 rømme or sour cream

Mix the pork, onion, bread, beaten eggs, milk, salt, pepper, and parsley in a large bowl. Roll your sleeves up and dive right in, mixing the meat with your hands. You want this very well combined until you can no longer see the chunks of bread.
Brush a fying pan with a little bit of the vegetable oil. Heat the pan to medium-high heat. Scoop quarter cup balls of the meat mixture onto the hot oil and press down to form a round patty. Cook on each side for about 2 minutes or until the patty is a golden brown. Flip the patty and repeat for the other side.
Mix the mustard and the rømme and serve with the pork burgers. The rømme or sour cream help to round out the sharpness of the mustard.

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