December 23, 2005

Janssons frestelse

The day before the Day, at least for all of us who celebrate Christmas on Christmas Eve... All food is done, almost all the presents are fixed and the Christmas tree is glowing in a corner of the living room. The Christmas tree on the photo is not mine, but my family´s a couple of years ago when it was really snowy where I come from in southern Sweden. I was out in the forest with my sister, brother and father and we found this fine tree, cut it down and brought it home standing upright (the tree, not us) in my sister´s open car boot - I will never forget how strange it looked. But my parent´s home is in the countryside and nobody saw us.

Today A made the last essential Christmas food, Janssons frestelse and risgrynsgröt, and now the fridge is full of goodies. I couldn´t stand Janssons when I was little, and really the taste and texture is a little original - something not all children will like. But now I love it!

All Swedish knows what Janssons is, but here´s the short version. Raw potatoes cut in toothpick shape, anchovies and cream baked in the oven and served with all the meatballs and ham on the buffet table. Not only for Christmas but also for Easter and other festive occasions. The risgrynsgröt is porridge made from round rice, served with cinnamon and sugar and milk and maybe a little butter.

Now I will return to my rhyming on the gift tags for my presents for tomorrow and leave you with this recipe for your own Janssons! Note the vegetarian version with cinnamon! I got the tip many years ago from a friend and even though it sounds crazy with cinnamon in this it really gives almost the same taste as anchovies!

Janssons frestelse
(serves 4)
8-10 potatoes
2 yellow onions
8-10 fillets of anchovies in brine (save the brine!!!)
about ¾ cup of milk or a mix of milk and a little cream
1 tbsp of fine breadcrumbs
1 tbsp of butter or margarine
Peel the potatoes and onion. Cut the potatoes in matchsticks and chop the onions very finely. Fryt it for some minutes if you want.
Layer the potatoes, onions and anchovy fillets in a buttered ovenproof dish. Start and finish with potato. Pour over half of the milk and some brine from the fillets. Put the butter on the potatoes in small dots and sprinkle with breadcrumbs.
Bake in oven in 425 F/225 C for 45 minutes. When it is nearly done add the rest of the milk around the edges.
Serve as it is with a salad or with meatballs or…
If you want it vegetarian replace the anchovies with ground cinnamon.


maigon127 said...

Wow... I love Janssons frestelse! I had a tiny little portion at Christmas party the other day and I liked it so much.
I'm also surprised that you made Knäckebröd by yourself! I thought it is something that you always buy at supermarket... (I only know this triangular shape one... ha-ha.) But you made it by yourself!?!? You're amazing...!

maigon127 said...

Oops, and I forgot to say this... Happy & Merry Christmas...!!! =)

Clivia said...

Oh thank you! I´m quite amazed myself that the bread turned out so well, and will definitely try it again! It is simple, but you need a lot of time to bake all the cakes and don´t do it on a hot day because the kitchen will be very warm from the oven. I had to zip off the legs of my trousers and walk around in shorts when I made this.
When we go on our food tour I will show you some brands of real traditional knäckebröd, almost home made...

Lisa said...

Hi! Great recipe. But you must explain that Swedish anchovy are really is pickled made from prat and not what is called anchovy in the rest of Europe.