Category Archives: meat

Slow Roasted Pork with Caraway Seeds, Prunes & Chili

My favorite meat this summer is this simple slow cooked pork shoulder. Its perfect as there is almost no work to it. In the oven the meat takes care of itself while I work in the garden, draw or just enjoy the sunshine (in the shade).

Rub about 1 kilo (enough to feed 4-6 people) with caraway seeds, salt & pepper. Mix together prunes, dark sugar, a little water and chili in a food processor (I use dried chilies such as ancho or pasilla, pre-soak in hot water until soft). Spread the paste all over the meat. Bake the meat at 125°C (just above 250°F). After 1 hour you can place onion wedges and whole cloves of garlic to the side of the meat. Add some water to the bottom of the pan so it doesn’t get stuck. Baste the meat now and again. After about 5-6 hours the meat is probably ready, it should feel soft and almost fall apart if you poke a fork in it. The onions by this time are gorgeously caramelized.

Slice or just pull the meat apart with a fork. Serve together with the caramelized onions, a tomato sauce*, salad and bread (such as homemade tunnbröd, soft Swedish flatbread).

* I make a simple sauce by roasting fresh tomatoes, garlic, onion and chili. Mix in a blender together with herbs, such as oregano or sage. Season with salt & pepper and a little sugar. See also  Kinna Jonsson’s article about tomato sauce (in Swedish).

You may also like this post, Akvavit Cured Pork Belly

Äggakaga (Eggy Cake)

Äggakaga (Eggy Cake) is a South Swedish thick pancake that’s baked on top of the stove. This cake is rich in eggs and baked with plenty of butter and pork fat (not for a slim diet). Its creamy and hearty and fills the stomach with pleasure and warmth. Traditionally the cake is served for both lunch or dinner with plenty of smoked bacon and lingonberry jam. As a lunch it will give you strength for a hard day’s work. For dinner it gives you comfort and a good night’s sleep. It will also be enjoyable as a brunch served with ale instead of mimosas.

My version is made with an addition of fresh rosemary and brown sugar is used instead of regular white sugar. The rosemary works really well with smoked bacon and adds a nice touch to this old traditional dish.

Äggakaga with Rosemary 
for 2 servings

4 eggs
1 2/3 cup (400 ml) milk
¾ cup (175 ml) regular flour
1 ½ tablespoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon salt

plenty of butter for frying

½ lb (250 g) smoked bacon, sliced
2 sprigs fresh rosemary, chopped

Crack the eggs in a bowl and whisk them together with the milk. Add salt and sugar. Sift the flour into the batter little by little to avoid lumps. The mixture is done when all is well mixed and has become a smooth batter. Let it rest on the counter while you fry the smoked bacon. Add the rosemary to the bacon when its almost done. Set the bacon aside and reserve the fat, as that will be use when cooking the pancake.

The pancake should be about 1- 1 ½” thick so a regular frying pan (about 10″-11″ wide) that can fit the whole batter will work perfectly. Heat up the pan  and melt a large lump of butter. Lower the heat to medium and pour in the batter. With a spatula, scrape the bottom and move the firm batter into the middle of the pan to prevent the mixture being burnt. Continue until all batter is firm. Turn the cake by covering the pan with a plate before turning. Add some more butter if necessary before sliding the cake onto the pan again, raise the temperature slightly and cook until the cake has browned underneath. Turn one more time. This time add the bacon fat before sliding the cake onto the pan. The cake is done when it’s golden brown on both sides.

Top the cake with the fried Rosemary bacon and enjoy with lingonberry (or cranberry jam). Best served with either milk or beer.

This recipe was first published at Honest Cooking26 January 2012.

Duck Liver Starter

While the duck is baking I treat my friends with some spiced duck liver. Often there is not that much liver that comes with a duck, so you may have to add some extra if you like. Many food shops sell duck or chicken livers separately. This dish may be tiny but its definitively worth every bite.

a couple of duck livers (or chicken livers)
one small shallot
half a poblano
one teaspoon coriander seeds
one teaspoon cumin seeds
chili flakes
one or two garlic cloves

lime juice
fresh cilantro

Chop the shallot and the poblano into tiny tiny pieces. Saute in plenty of butter on low heat until soft. In another pan, roast the cumin and coriander seeds on high heat until they start to pop. Remove from heat and crush the seeds in a mortar and pestle to a semi fine powder. Chop the liver into very small pieces. Heat up a pan with some olive oil. When hot add the spices with some chili flakes. Let the spices merge with the olive oil before adding the liver. Sprinkle some salt over and stir constantly until the liver starts to get color. Squeeze some garlic cloves in and cook for just a little bit more. Take off the heat and add some freshly squeezed lime juice and cilantro leaves. Serve immediately with some bread. Enjoy!

Duck in Port

I will as I always do, cook duck for Thanksgiving. The reason is the fat. A duck may look slimmer but when cooked it rarely dries out, while a turkey that’s leaner often does. To choose a leaner meat may be a good idea in general, but I definitively prefer something tastier for a holiday like this.

If you think the duck renders too much fat while baking, I suggest you spoon off the overflow for use in other treats. Potatoes fried in duck fat are heavenly and a duck fat omelet is marvelous. When done right duck fat stores really well.

I also recommend using all the parts that come with. The liver can be chopped up and sautéd with shallots, coriander and cumin. Seasoned with lime and cilantro and you have a perfect appetizer. The neck (head and feet) and rest of the giblets make a great base for a stock (see below). This week’s recipe is my own creation, but I learnt the baking method from both my mother and Elizabeth David (French Provincial Cooking, 1960). Happy Thanksgiving.

Duck in Port
4 people

one duck (about 5lb/ 2.5 kg) free range/ wild/ organic
one lemon
2-3 teaspoons salt

fig and prune stuffing
10 prunes
10 dried figs
one cup (240 ml) port

under the duck
about 2 lb (almost a kilo) small potatoes, cut in wedges
4 parsnips, cut in wedges
some sprigs of thyme
salt & pepper

for the stock (will be used to baste the duck)
duck neck and giblets (head and feet if available)
one small onion, sliced
one small carrot, sliced
small piece of celery (or any other vegetable that you may have)
one cup (240 ml) white wine
5- 6 leaves of sage (or any other herb you have at hand)
6 black pepper corns
2 teaspoons salt

The day before: Cut the figs and prunes into small pieces and soak them with port overnight or at least for 6 hours.

About an hour before you roast the duck you need to prepare the stock. Take out the giblets and the neck from the duck. Sauté the different parts in a saucepan. When brown add the sliced onion, carrots and pour in the white wine. Let it bubble and reduce for a couple minutes. Add thyme, sage, pepper corns and salt. Cover with water and let simmer for about an hour. Taste and season with more salt if necessary.

Rinse the bird under running cold water. Rub the duck inside and out with lemon. Rub on some salt and pepper. Fill the duck with the fig and prune stuffing (reserve the remaining juice for the sauce below or add it to the stock)

Put the duck on its side on a rack in a roasting pan. After 30 minutes in the oven @345°F (175°C), turn the bird on the other side and pour ½ – one cup of warm stock over the bird (keep some for later if making a sauce). Let it cook for another 30 minutes.

In the mean time prepare the potatoes and parsnips. Place them in a bowl and sprinkle on some thyme,  salt & pepper. Toss well together with your hands.

Take the duck out and turn the bird facing up. Place the potatoes and parsnips at the bottom of the pan. Stir around a little so the potatoes and parsnips get well coated with the duck fat and stock. If there is too much liquid or fat jut take it aside for later use. Put the bird back into the oven and cook for about 45-60 minutes. The breast should be gorgeously brown and the legs loose. Take out the bird and let it rest for about 15-20 minutes before carving. The potatoes and parsnips should be ready about the same time but depending on the duck they may need less or longer to get ready. They should be soft inside and slightly crisp on top.

While the duck is resting you can make a simple sauce (optional) to go with the bird. Heat up some butter or some of the duck fat that you have set aside. Let a couple of the stuffed figs and prunes cook with it. Add some of the remaining stock and port juice. Let simmer for a bit before adding a little cream. Season with salt & pepper.

Other nice sides are: lingonberry or cranberry sauce, gherkins, string beans, Brussels sprouts and baked cabbage (check out my own recipe at the bottom of this post).

For more Thanksgiving articles see An Alternative Menu for Thanksgiving. 

This recipe works also with most poultry. Depending on the size of the bird, you will have to adjust the ingredients and the cooking time. I think this recipe works really well with chicken. 

Story and recipe was originally posted at EcoSalon on 10th November 2011.

Akvavit Cured Pork Belly

Ever since I had my first Pork Belly Bun at Momofuku’s Noodle bar in the East Village I have never had enough of them. Their Pork Belly is cured with spices like star anise, fennel, coriander and cinnamon etc. The pork is served on steamed buns with cucumber, fresh coriander and Housin sauce. To cure fatty pork  is an old tradition and common all over the world and it’s a good way to conserve the meat. In Sweden they call it söt-saltat fläsk (sweet-salted pork belly).

The first time I cured pork belly I followed Stephane Lemagnen’s excellent recipe. Stephane even claims that his pork belly buns are better than Momofuku’s. Later I developed my own versions and a couple of weeks ago I had some friends over for a Nordic-style pork bun. I spiced the pork with coriander, fennel and caraway seeds (the same spices that are used in Akvavit). Instead of steamed buns and Housin sauce I served them in rye bread buns* with sweet baked cabbage (see recipe below), fresh cucumber, pickled carrots, and mustard thyme sauce (see recipe below). Everyone loved it!

cure the pork belly
(enough for 7-9 people)

1 ½ kg (3 lb) pork belly
some peppercorns
3 teaspoons coriander seeds
3 teaspoons fennel seeds
3 teaspoons caraway seeds
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
½ cup (120 ml) salt
½ cup (120 ml) sugar (I used brown sugar)

for the broth
one large onion
one carrot
two celery stalks
a twig of thyme
bay leaves

Toast black pepper, coriander, fennel and caraway seeds in a dry pan until they start to pop. Remove immediately from heat and pour into a mortar and pestle. Crush them as fine as you want. Mix the spices together with the salt, sugar and garlic.

Score the fat of the pork and start to rub in the spice mixture on all sides. Place the meat in a dish or a bowl and pour, if any left, the rest of the spice mixture over. Cover with plastic wrap and place something heavy on top. Let it cure for 48 hours (24 hours with thinner pieces). Turn the meat around now and again.

After 24 – 48 hours, brush off the spices and rinse under cold water. Place the meat in a pot together with the broth ingredients. Bring to a boil, lower the heat and simmer for 2-3 hours. Skim off the fat that floats to the surface. The meat should feel soft when you stuck with a fork. When done let the meat cool in the liquid. The liquid can be used in soups (like this). Slice the meat into ¼” (about 5 mm) slices. Place them with the fat side up in a baking pan and grill them in the oven on high heat until the fat is caramelized. Serve immediately together with rye bread and accompaniments listed above. Enjoy!

Mustard  Thyme Sauce

This mustard sauce is like a traditional Hovmästarsauce (butler sauce) that is often served with Gravlax. Instead of dill I used fresh thyme from the garden.

3 tablespoons mustard
one egg yolk
100 ml (0.4 cups) olive oil
1 tablespoon vinegar
(1 tablespoon sucanat)
plenty of thyme
salt and fresh ground pepper

Mix mustard, egg yolk, vinegar and thyme. You can skip sugar if the mustard is too sweet. Slowly start dripping in the oil while stirring the mixture. Continue dripping in the oil and stirring. If you add the oil too quickly the mixture can separate. The result should be a thick sauce. Season with salt and fresh ground pepper. (If the mixture separates start over with a new egg yolk and slowly add the separated mixture.)

Sweet Baked Cabbage

Clean and cut one head of white cabbage into wedges. Brush the wedges with a mixture of lemon, olive oil and sugar. Season with salt and pepper on top. Bake At 400ºF (200ºC) on one side for about 15 minutes or until it starts to brown. Turn around and bake for another 10-15 minutes.

* I really need to create a better bread post where I describe how I measure flour and why my breads always change depending on what I have in my pantry and fridge. Until then my older rye bread recipe will do. Instead of two loaves make several mini buns.