Introduction to the Swedish Classic: Jansson’s Frestelse
by Anna Brones
Translating Janssons frestelse is always a funny thing. It doesn’t quite have the same ring to it in English. But if anything, this dish sticks true to it’s name: tempted you will be.
Commonly part of the Swedish Christmas table it’s a classic dish that also makes its way onto the menu at Easter. In true Swedish fashion, the gratin-style potato dish is full of cream and butter; there’s no better way to eat potatoes. A traditional dish that’s sure to tempt everyone at the table.
serves about 4
8 big potatoes
1-2 yellow onions
about 20 Swedish cured sprats*
1 ¼ cream or half and half
salt (but just if necessary the sprats can be very salty)
handful bread crumbs
Peel the potatoes and cut them in thin strips. Slice the onion thinly. Saute the onion in a little butter until they soften. Layer the potatoes and the onions in a baking dish. Open the tins of anchovies and poor the juice over the potatoes. If you want the anchovies in smaller pieces cut them into halves and divide them over the potatoes. Pour half of the cream over. Sprinkle some bread crumbs and divide small lumps of butter over the dish. Bake in the oven at 440°F (200°C) for about 45 min. Just before it’s finished baking, poor over the rest of the cream.
In Sweden they serve it with beer or milk!
* In Sweden they call this fish type of cured fish ansjovis but its not real anchovies (which is called sardeller in Swedish). I, Johanna have cooked Jansson’s with anchovies without knowing it wasn’t correct. Its tasty and flavor full BUT but doesn’t get the correct flavor. We really recommend to get get hold of some Swedish cured sprats. IKEA sells them as skarpsill at IKEA.
(the recipe was adapted by Johanna Kindvall from the Swedish cook book Vår KokBok)
This article was originally published on Foodie underground on 29 March 2013.
for the stock (will be used to baste the duck and for the sauce)
duck neck and giblets
one small onion, sliced
one small carrot, sliced
small piece of celery (or what ever you have at hand)
½ cup dry vermouth or white wine
6 black pepper corns
The day before: Cut the figs and prunes into small pieces and soak them with dry vermouth 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 giblets in a saucepan. When brown add the sliced onion, carrots and pour in the vermouth. Let it bubble and reduce for a couple minutes. Add thyme, sage and some salt. Cover with water and let simmer for about an hour. Taste and season with salt if necessary.
Just before you are ready to stuff the duck, chop the pear in small pieces. Add the pear and thyme to soaked fruit and blend together carefully. Wash the bird under running water. Rub the duck inside and out with lime. Rub on some salt and pepper. Fill the duck with the stuffing.
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 1/2 – one cup of warm stock over the bird. Let it cook for another 30 minutes. Turn the bird facing up and place the potatoes and parsnips at the bottom of the pan. If you think there is too much fat at the bottom of the pan, you may take some out. However I really recommend keeping the fat for another occasion as it’s fabulous to fry potatoes in. 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 a about 15-20 minutes before carving.
Serve the duck and baked potatoes/ parsnips with the prune and fig stuffing, gravy, gherkins and cranberry sauce.
I have never participated in a Body Cake competition; I don’t think I have the body for it. It’s not about how well or pretty you make them, the winner is the one who eats the most! They are heavy but still one of my favorites of the Swedish traditional comfort foods. There are many different variations of it; some areas do it with raw potatoes and some like them as I do below.
6-7 big potatoes
300 ml (1.2 cups) flour
one tea spoon salt
200 g (0.45 lb) bacon or salted pork
one teaspoon salt and some pepper
Peel the potatoes and boil them until they are done. Mash the potatoes and mix with the egg and flour. Season with salt. Cut the bacon and the onion in small pieces. Start to sauté the onions. Add the bacon and sauté them together until the bacon is crispy. Season with some pepper.
Form the potatoes mixture into a big roll. Slice the roll in pieces. Press your thumb in the middle and fill it with some of the bacon mixture. Cover the filling and make a ball of it. The size can be a little bit smaller than a tennis ball. Repeat the procedure until you are done.
Heat up water with salt and when it’s boiling, drop some of the body cakes into the water. When the body cakes floats up, boil them for about five minutes.
Serve with lingonberry jam or cranberry jam, melted butter, grated carrots and a glass of beer. I also always have extra bacon pieces on the side. Leftover Body Cakes are great to slice and sauté the day after.
By the way I am now back in East Village from my lovely stay in Sweden, with some great stops in Copenhagen and London.
(This kind of Body Cake you can call Småländska Kroppkakor. This recipe is rewritten from a recipe in the Swedish cookbook Vår Kok Bok, 1975)
In the summer its always nice to do a potatoe salad. This one is good as it is or together with barbecued pork or gravlax.
fresh new potatoes
3-4 parts olive oil
1 part apple cider vinegar
1-2 table spoons mustard
1-2 cloves of garlic
fresh herbs such as thyme, oregano
salt and pepper
Boil the potatoes with fresh dill. In the meantime you can wash the arugula carefully and let it dry.
Mix the oil and the vinegar with some mustard and add the spices to your own taste. Cut the potatoes in smaller pieces and mix them carefully with the arugola. Pour over the vinaigrette and let it rest before serving.