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Swedish dinners: Moose sirloin/Skomakarlåda

Swedish dinners: Moose sirloin/Skomakarlåda
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  • Swedish dinners: Moose sirloin/Skomakarlåda

    Post #1 - October 6th, 2007, 2:56 am
    Post #1 - October 6th, 2007, 2:56 am Post #1 - October 6th, 2007, 2:56 am
    My initial plan was to take some photos of a traditional Swedish dish known as "Skomakarlåda" (literally, "cobblar's box"). It's a dish of pan-fried steak served with bacon and mashed potatoes.

    Well, wait...

    My INITIAL plan was to be in the Chicago/Central Illinois right now. However, our one year-old came down with the chicken pox about 3 days before our flight. So, some last minute cancellations and rebookings have moved that adventure forward a week. In the meantime...

    I made my way to the market and saw that the season's first moose had been delivered. When I saw the beautiful Swedish chanterelles, I knew that some improvisation was in order. "Improvisation" is, however, a little too kind as all I did was switch the normal beef sirloin/strip for a moose one and add some chanterelles and a vegetable.

    The ingredients:


    A few discs of flavored butter (a few tbls butter, chopped parsley, a splash of Worchestire sauce, salt, pepper and a few drops of lemon juice), chanterelles, one (optional) dill pickle, nutmeg, chives, the season's last green beans, one moose sirloin, a chunk of good-quality slab bacon, potatoes (King Edward are perfect), cream, milk and butter. I also ended up mincing a shallot for the beans later on...

    Start by boiling the potatoes for mashed potatoes. King Edward potatoes are very floury so leave the skins on while boiling so they don't fall apart. When done, rice the potatoes and add a few tbls butter, 1/2 cup cream salt, peppar, the finely chopped chives and a decent grating of nutmeg.


    Whisk and add milk to form a slightly runny/soft mash. Keep warm.

    Next, saute the chanterelles in butter and at a pretty high heat. When browned, lower the heat to keep warm.


    Cut the bacon into batons and gently brown. Bring some heavily salted water to a boil for the green beans.

    Salt and peppar the moose and sear with plenty of butter in an hot skillet.


    It's important not to let this meat get too well-done! Coming from a wild animal (unlike in the States, it's not illegal for hunters to sell their bagged game to butchers and markets as long as it has been processed correctly), the moose is quite lean. The small amount of marbling in this piece was the best I could find.

    So, sear for a few minutes, flip and lower the heat a shade.


    Toss the green beans in the boiling water and cook for a few minutes. Drain and place back in the pot with butter and the minced shallot. Cut the optional pickle into large chunks.



    The moose was excellent although slightly mismatched with this preparation. Next time I find nice moose sirloin such as this I'll simply serve it as I do the dry-aged beef I prepare. Simple preparations are necessary to really enjoy the flavors of the moose. Slightly gamey, perhaps a little tough (even cooked only rare), it was a delicious, autumn treat.

    Served simply with beef, this "skomakarlåda" preparation is worth trying sometime. The rich mashed potatoes make a nice contrast to the potato wedges I normally make. It also works very nicely with the salty, smokey bacon. While traditional, the dill pickle really didn't add much more than salt so don't be discouraged if it doesn't appeal to you.

    Finally, why "cobbler's box"? I have no idea! Perhaps the seared steak and bacon batons reminded someone of a shoe soles and tacks. This dish is still a popular Friday lunchtime dish in Sweden. And, while red wine certainly works well, the traditional match would be a tall, cold glass of lager.
  • Post #2 - October 6th, 2007, 9:26 am
    Post #2 - October 6th, 2007, 9:26 am Post #2 - October 6th, 2007, 9:26 am

    Wonderful post! Your chanterelles look like the larger variety seen in California. Those found in August in the Chicago area are much smaller. Very inspiring post, if I ever have a crack at moose steaks. :D

    Do you have any problems with wandering moose in your area like we have with deer or Australian's with their kangaroos? I was once in a Soviet Lada as the driver quickly approached a moose wandering the roads of Leningrad's (now St. Petersburg) suburbs. If the back seat passenger (me!) hadn't raised a hollar, then we might have hit it's spindly legs with the considerable body weight crushing the car. Is their competition for moose roadkill?

    Enjoy your pending trip. I sure hope the remaining family has already had their dose of chicken pox.


    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
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  • Post #3 - October 6th, 2007, 12:53 pm
    Post #3 - October 6th, 2007, 12:53 pm Post #3 - October 6th, 2007, 12:53 pm
    Thanks Cathy2!

    Moose are actually a major traffic problem in Sweden - primarily in the North but even in the Stockholm region. The autumn hunting season makes thing worse as they are disoriented and generally on-the-move. They are massive creatures and have the unfortunate property of having their mass perched on top of 4 spindly, car-height legs. In other words, they are practically designed for ending up on a car's windshield.

    Moose are common enough in Stockholm that sightings in near-downtown areas don't make the news. Heck, the last wild animal sighting I read about was the sighting of a wolf running over one of central Stockholm's main bridges.

    My Illinois drivers' license was only valid three months after moving to Sweden. After that, I needed to apply for a Swedish license. There are three parts to taking a Swedish drivers' license: a theory test, a driving test and a mandatory practical driving course. Close to 75% of the practical driving course is devoted to techniques that could be necessary to avoid wildlife/deer/moose on the road (steering with locked brakes, judging stopping distances, etc.). The other 25% deals with driving on snow/ice.