LTH Home

Belated: Julbord 2006

Belated: Julbord 2006
  • Forum HomePost Reply BackTop
  • Belated: Julbord 2006

    Post #1 - January 16th, 2007, 5:24 am
    Post #1 - January 16th, 2007, 5:24 am Post #1 - January 16th, 2007, 5:24 am
    Rooted deep in the ”Better-late-than-never” category, I thought I’d burn up some bandwidth with a little documentation of my Swedish “Julbord” from the past holidays. I’ll apologize in advance (and this is largely the reason for my reluctance to make this post) for the spotty coverage and the so-so picture quality. I had a difficult time documenting in the kitchen due to family, time and other constraints.

    Preparations began a few days before Christmas Eve (Christmas Eve being the traditional day for the Julbord and opening presents over here) with the purchase of the Christmas ham (“Julskinka”). This 8 pound beauty comes from a farm about 10 miles outside of the town where I work (Uppsala) and is certified organic. It’s been prepared simply by removing the bone, trimming (unfortunately a little too rigorously in my opinion) and brining for a few days.

    Image

    Due to this ham’s size, I was forced to bake it in the oven. I really prefer to gently simmer Swedish hams as they tend to be salty and the simmering cuts down on that. Regardless of how it is cooked, the ham needs to be finished in the oven. First, a glaze is made with Swedish mustard (sweet and spicy), an egg yolk and a little dark syrup (made from sugar beets in Sweden but molasses would work perfectly) and spread on the skinned ham.

    Image

    The ham is then sprinkled with bread crumbs and placed in a very hot oven to brown.

    Image

    That’s it! (Don’t tell anyone but, the pieces cut off of the still-warm ham late on Christmas Eve’s eve and served with sweet and spicy mustard on a piece of hardbread are easily my highlight of the entire Julbord.) Sorry, I see now that I don’t have any pictures of the final product beyond what can be seen in the pictures from the final Julbord that you can see at the end of this post.

    While the ham was baking, I got started on a few more dishes.

    Image

    These are the ingredients to the only Julbord dessert I made this year – Glögg-poached pears. From left to right: pears, spices (fennel seeds and a bay leaf), a bottle of glögg, about a 1/3 of a cup of sugar and a few drops of red food coloring. The pears are peeled (leave them whole and with the stems attached, though) and simmered with the rest of the ingredients for about an hour (or until the pears are soft but still whole). Let them sit in their poaching liquid and in the refridgerator a few days. Once again, no picture of the final product but I served them with whipped cream, a piece of gorgonzola and a little pile of crushed gingerbread cookies.

    Braised cabbage (simpy, “rödkål” in Swedish) is a must on the Christmas table.

    Image

    The ingredients (left to right, bottom row then top), about 2 pounds shredded red cabbage, 4-5 sliced winter apples (these are Cox Orange), 2 sliced red onions, black current jelly, demi-glace (this is actually the “jelly” from a batch of duck confit), spices (a few bay leaves, about 10 crushed allspice berries), and a few tablespoons duck fat (also from the confit, butter is traditional). I also added about half a cup of red wine.

    Image

    Start by sautéing the cabbage, onions and apples in the duck fat. But, really, this ain’t rocket science and it all just ends up in the pot to bubble away, covered for about an hour.

    Image

    This needs some time to develop its flavor so it’s also a dish to make in advance.

    (End of post 1)
    Last edited by Bridgestone on January 16th, 2007, 7:07 am, edited 2 times in total.
  • Post #2 - January 16th, 2007, 5:27 am
    Post #2 - January 16th, 2007, 5:27 am Post #2 - January 16th, 2007, 5:27 am
    More advance preparations…

    Image

    A little liquid sustenance may be required while preparing the Julbord. This is a modern version of the classic Swedish Christmas beer (“Julöl”). There are probably close to 20 types of Swedish Christmas beer (probably an equal number of foreign – English, Belgian, heck, even Anchor Steam’s Christmas Ale is imported) available around the holidays but this is my favorite. I’ve touted their products before but “Jämtland:s bryggeri”’s Julöl is incredible. Strong (6.5%) and tasting of traditional Christmas flavors (cloves, Christmas “vört”bread, orange peel), it’s just the moral support one needs deep in Julbord preparations.

    Next up, meatballs. “Meatballs” over here is a pretty loose term that encompasses hundreds of different recipes and styles. I’ve rarely seen meatballs in sauce, for instance, which is what I envision when I think “Swedish meatballs”. Mine are perhaps particularily non-Swedish… I start with grinding the end pieces of Serrano ham that I buy at heavily discounted at my local grocery store.

    Image

    To this, I add ground beef, a little garlic, some sauted onion, chopped parsley, an egg, some white bread boiled in cream, salt (I use the soupy, fishy salt that I’ve got some Spanish anchovies packed in), nutmeg and a good bit of grated parmesan. Here’s the finished product, ready to be panfried:

    Image

    With that finished, it was time to wash up, wrap some presents and start dreaming of sugar plum faries.

    (end of post 2).
    Last edited by Bridgestone on January 16th, 2007, 5:43 am, edited 1 time in total.
  • Post #3 - January 16th, 2007, 5:40 am
    Post #3 - January 16th, 2007, 5:40 am Post #3 - January 16th, 2007, 5:40 am
    Christmas Eve day starts with the making of “Julgröt” (“Christmas porrage”), aka (by children at least), “Tomtegröt” (“Santa* porrage”).

    Ingredients (left to right): butter, water, a peeled almond, round grain rice, whole milk and cinnamon.

    Image

    Melt the butter in a pot, briefly warm/sauté the rice and add the water. Let it simmer until water is mostly absorbed before adding the milk and cinnamon. Cook, as gently as possible, until the milk is absorbed (about 45 minutes). I added a little sugar and some vanilla extract before the almond is added and everything is served:

    Image

    Tradition says that whoever gets the almond will get married within a year however we’ve updated the prize to: “make a wish!”. If, like us, you have three small children, you’ll definitely need more than one almond…

    Breakfast was cleaned up and, like all good Swedes, we bundled up ourselves and the children and trudged outside to enjoy (?) a couple minutes of anemic midwinter sunshine.

    Before long, it was time to finish the Julbord. Next dish, “Janssons frestelse” (“Jansson’s temptation”).

    Image

    Ingredients (left to right): cream, milk, Swedish-style sardines, onions, potatoes and butter. The onions are thinly sliced and slowly cooked in butter until carmelized (about 30 minutes). Peel potatoes and cut into matchsticks. Butter an ovenproof dish and layer: potatoes, onions, anchovies in several layers. Add just about all of the juices from the can of sardines and as much cream as your conscience allows for (top off with milk). Dot with butter (and, optionally, breadcrumbs). Bake and get:

    Image

    Finally, minutes before sitting at the table, fry the meatballs and some traditional Swedish “prince” sausages (“prinskorv”). Take special attention to the homemade “Octodog” effect used by generations of my wife’s family.

    Image
    Image

    Here’s the finished product. It’s not as lavish as professional Julbord but it’s probably pretty representative of what most families in Sweden end up eating at home. The tradition of starting with herring and working towards salmon, coldcuts, warm food, etc. aren’t as strict (in our family) but is reflected in the layout of the buffet. Some pictures:

    Image

    Three types of herring: onion (“löksill”), garlic (“vitlök”), and matjessill (served with chopped red onion, chives, dill and sour cream. Cold-smoked salmon. That’s a jar of “Hovmästarsås” behind the sour cream (“gräddfil”). Hovmästarsås is made from light sugar, sweet and spicy mustard, vinager, white pepper, oil and chopped dill and is the traditional accompaniment to gravlax and cold-smoked salmon.


    Image

    Hard-boiled eggs with mayonnaise, bleak-roe caviar, onion, dill and sour cream, Waldorf salad (far from traditional but works well with the rest of the Julbord).


    Image

    Meatballs and prince-sausages


    Image

    Jansson’s temptation


    Image

    Christmas ham, braised red cabbage, pork liver paté (“leverpastej”), bread-and-butter pickles, headcheese (“kalvsylta”), sausages (Swedish reindeer sausage, Spanish fuet)


    Image


    All this served with excellent Swedish Cheddar and Swedish Christmas/Brewer’s Wort bread (which is, by the way, what I’ve found is closest to the “Swedish Limpabread” I’ve tasted in the States – “Limpa” simply means “loaf” in Swedish).

    Image
    Image
    Image

    I hope this has been of interest. Many of the photos and even much of our offerings this year were a little modest due to a variety of factors (sick in-laws, having small children, finishing a major home renovation the week before the holidays…) and I can only hope to be able to improve on this post in future years.



    * I’ll save everyone the debate behind translating “Tomte” as “Santa”. It’s widely done but it’s an Americanization and far from problem-free.
  • Post #4 - January 16th, 2007, 5:57 am
    Post #4 - January 16th, 2007, 5:57 am Post #4 - January 16th, 2007, 5:57 am
    What a wonderful spread and post - thanks for sharing!

    I'm curious about your use of red food coloring in the poached pears. It's a dessert I'm fond of, simple, tasty, and great looking.I typically core the pears, so the color gets inside more readily. I would imagine the glogg would provide enough color especially if you store the pears in the syrup. The fennel is an interesting touch, I'll try and remember that.
  • Post #5 - January 16th, 2007, 6:00 am
    Post #5 - January 16th, 2007, 6:00 am Post #5 - January 16th, 2007, 6:00 am
    Thanks for the compliments, sazerac!

    Yeah, the red food coloring was a cheat. But, I was going for a really deep, ruby red color and I didn't think that the glögg could do that for me in the 24 hours I had. You're right about coring, though. It would certainly have sped up the process...
  • Post #6 - January 16th, 2007, 6:25 am
    Post #6 - January 16th, 2007, 6:25 am Post #6 - January 16th, 2007, 6:25 am
    Bridgestone,
    Absolutely stellar post. No need to apologize for the photos. I've always considered some of yours to be the best around these parts, including this set.
  • Post #7 - January 16th, 2007, 7:27 am
    Post #7 - January 16th, 2007, 7:27 am Post #7 - January 16th, 2007, 7:27 am
    Bridgestone,

    Wonderful post, great pictures. Many thanks!

    A
    Alle Nerven exzitiert von dem gewürzten Wein -- Anwandlung von Todesahndungen -- Doppeltgänger --
    - aus dem Tagebuch E.T.A. Hoffmanns, 6. Januar 1804.
    ________
    Na sir is na seachain an cath.
  • Post #8 - January 16th, 2007, 7:39 am
    Post #8 - January 16th, 2007, 7:39 am Post #8 - January 16th, 2007, 7:39 am
    Bridgestone wrote:I hope this has been of interest. Many of the photos and even much of our offerings this year were a little modest due to a variety of factors (sick in-laws, having small children, finishing a major home renovation the week before the holidays…) and I can only hope to be able to improve on this post in future years.



    Hardly! I wish I had the chance last year to make good on my desire to eat more Scandanavian food, but until then, your posts help!
  • Post #9 - January 16th, 2007, 3:04 pm
    Post #9 - January 16th, 2007, 3:04 pm Post #9 - January 16th, 2007, 3:04 pm
    As I read this earlier today, I thought that rice porridge sounded like a good breakfast alternative for my oatmeal- and cream of wheat-loving boys.

    How serendipitous that today I ducked out to Werner's, a local German meat market and specialty shop, and saw Lars' Own Scandinavian-style porridge rice on the shelf. Picked it up along with some Swedish brand muesli breakfast cereal.

    Thanks for the occasion to think Swedish, Bridgestone!
  • Post #10 - January 16th, 2007, 3:24 pm
    Post #10 - January 16th, 2007, 3:24 pm Post #10 - January 16th, 2007, 3:24 pm
    HI,

    Christmas is over! The last gift has just been opened and as always the best was saved for last.

    Thank you very kindly for letting us peek into your life. I look forward to future posts!

    Happy New Year!

    Regards,
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
    Facebook, Twitter, Greater Midwest Foodways, Road Food 2012: Podcast
  • Post #11 - January 18th, 2007, 11:16 pm
    Post #11 - January 18th, 2007, 11:16 pm Post #11 - January 18th, 2007, 11:16 pm
    I missed this earlier when you posted. It was wonderful. I appreciate being invited into your home to see your traditions. A few years ago I found a recipe for the Jansson's temptation and on a whim, decided to try it. It was hard to find the herring at first (if anyone else in Chicago wants to try this, you can get them in Andersonville) and I had to force myself to use that much cream! Oh, but what a lovely dish. It truly is wonderful.

    Thank you for reminding me of it. And those prince sausages look excellent also. I may need to head to the Swedish grocery in Andersonville next week to see if they have any similar thing.
  • Post #12 - January 19th, 2007, 12:39 am
    Post #12 - January 19th, 2007, 12:39 am Post #12 - January 19th, 2007, 12:39 am
    Bridgestone, your Janssons frestelse looks a lot better than the one I had a Tre Kroner...and I liked that one a lot.

    Looking forward to next Santa Lucia day already,

    Hammond
    “Nobody exists on purpose. Nobody belongs anywhere. Everybody’s gonna die. Come watch TV?”
  • Post #13 - January 19th, 2007, 7:13 am
    Post #13 - January 19th, 2007, 7:13 am Post #13 - January 19th, 2007, 7:13 am
    I've been resisting the urge to post a "Thanks" as it really doesn't add anything to the content of this post. However, I've gotten so many kind comments and words of encouragement that my lack of response is starting to feel rude.

    Thanks everyone! It's my pleasure to post and I greatly appreciate all of the interest everyone has shown.

Contact

About

Team

Advertize

Close

Chat

Articles

Guide

Events

more