Inspiration / Food & Wine

Celebrate Scandi-style: A Delicious Christmas Eve Recipe

Contents

Johanna Kindval Johanna Kindval
Julkorv (Christmas Sausage)

Making your own sausage for the holidays is a tradition in many Swedish homes, and most families have their own special recipe. The tradition is to cook and serve them in an aromatic broth on the day before Christmas Eve, served with whole grain mustard and vört bröd. In Sweden we call this dop i grytan (dip-in-the-pot) as you dip the bread into the soup. My version here is a little firmer than traditional julkorv and when browned in the oven and sliced thinly, it can also be served on a charcuterie platter. If you want to serve the sausages with the broth, I suggest you some flavoursome vegetables to the soup, such as parsnip and root celery.

Makes 10 small sausages

  • 2m sausage casings, plus extra if needed
  • 1kg pork shoulder
  • 250g pork fat
  • 4 teaspoons kosher salt (without iodine)
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • ½ teaspoon ground cloves
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 2 teaspoons ground allspice
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground white or black pepper
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 100ml water

Dry cure

  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt (without iodine)
  • 1 teaspoon pink curing salt
  • 1 tablespoon sugar

Broth

  • 1 onion, quartered
  • 1 carrot, cut into chunks
  • 10 white peppercorns
  • 10 whole allspice berries
  • 5 whole cloves
  • 2 or 3 bay leaves
  • Sprigs of thyme

Method:

Rinse the sausage casings in warm water and then let them soak in cold water while you prepare the spice mixture (or overnight the day before). This will make them softer and easier to work with. To keep the meat cold, place a medium-size bowl inside a large bowl filled with ice. Cut the pork and fat into small pieces and place them into the chilled bowl and place the bowl in the freezer for about 30 minutes.

Remove from the freezer and then grind or coarsely chop the meat. Place the ground meat back into the chilled bowl, before adding the salt, sugar, cloves, ginger, allspice, pepper, garlic, and water, then mix until well combined. To check the seasoning, take a small piece of the meat mixture and fry it in a pan before tasting. Adjust the seasoning, if necessary. Return the meat to the freezer for another 30 minutes.

Slip the casing onto the stuffing pipe and finish with a small knot at the end (if you don’t have a sausage stuffer look online for some useful tips on stuffing sausages by hand). Take the meat out of the freezer and place it in the iced bowl. Feed the stuffer and gently fill the casing with the meat mixture. When the casing is filled, twist off into approximately 12-cm- lengths, or bind with kitchen twine in between every sausage. If you notice any air bubbles, just prick the skin with a clean needle; the skin will magically reseal. Let the sausages dry for an hour at room temperature, preferably hanging up.

To dry cure: mix together the salt, pink curing salt, and sugar in a small bowl. Rub the sausages with the mixture and refrigerate overnight before cooking or freezing them.

For the broth: place the sausages in a large pot together with the onion, carrot, peppercorns, allspice, cloves, bay leaves, and thyme. Cover with water, bring to a boil, and let simmer gently over low heat until cooked through, 10 to 15 minutes. (If the water gets too hot, the sausages might split, so be gentle!)

To serve: cut the sausages into bite-size pieces together with their broth for a classic ‘dip-in-the-pot’. If you prefer to serve the sausages on a charcuterie platter, brown the cooked sausages slightly in a skillet or in the oven. Let cool completely before thinly slicing. Store cooked sausages in a covered container in the refrigerator for a few days or freeze for up to 3 months. Leftover broth can be frozen and used in stews and soups.

Delicious with Grov senap (wholegrain mustard) and vörtbröd – recipes here!


Grov senap (Wholegrain Mustard)

Grov senap (Wholegrain Mustard)

Traditionally, homemade mustard is made with a 'cannonball' and a large heavy bowl. This old and clever method is done without much effort; moving the bowl in a circular fashion causes the cannonball to roll around while crushing the mustard seeds. You can also use a large mortar and pestle, but a food processor does this process simply and easily. In any case it makes a very pungent wholegrain mustard that will definitely tickle your nose!

I use cold pressed rapeseed oil as it reminds me of early summer when the yellow rapeseed blossom embellishes the southern part of Sweden. But you can substitute it with any neutral-tasting vegetable oil.

Makes one 200-ml jar

  • 4 tablespoons brown mustard seeds
  • 125 ml white wine
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons sherry vinegar
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons cold-pressed rapeseed oil

In a clean glass jar, combine the mustard seeds and wine. Cover and let marinate for 24 to 48 hours. Strain the mustard seeds from the wine and place them in a food processor, pulsing until the seeds start to thicken, then add the water and puree until smooth. Add the honey and vinegar. Finally, slowly drizzle in the rapeseed oil and mix until you've achieved the desired texture and consistency. Adjust the seasoning with more honey or vinegar if you wish.

Transfer the mustard to a clean glass jar with a sealable lid, cover, and let sit in the refrigerator to ripen for 1 or 2 days while the flavor develops. Store the jar in the refrigerator and use within a month (the mustard will get milder over time).


Vörtbröd (Christmas Malt Bread)

Vörtbröd (Christmas Malt Bread)

Vörtbröd is a rye bread baked with wort (a malted extract from brewing beer), whole raisins, and aromatic spices like bitter orange, cloves, cardamom, and ginger. Because it's not easy to find wort, this recipe suggests baking this bread with porter (a dark brown malt beer), which will give the bread a slightly milder malty flavour. Instead of adding whole raisins, I also suggest soaking and mashing them with the porter, which maintains the sweet character but infuses it with a richer fruitiness. You can substitute the porter with stout if you like.

This spicy bread is excellent pairing with the Christmas sausages and mustard, but try it with Stilton and a glass of port too.


Makes 1 loaf

Scalding

  • 240g rye flour
  • 425ml water

Soaker

  • 55g raisins
  • ½ teaspoon dried orange zest
  • powder (optional)
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon cardamom seeds, crushed
  • 4 tablespoons porter

Dough

  • 2½ teaspoon dried yeast (not instant)
  • 475 milliliters (285 g) all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons salt

Method:

Place the rye flour in a large bowl. In a small saucepan, bring the water to a boil, then remove it from the heat, and pour it over the flour ? this is known as 'scalding'. Work the flour and water well together to create a thick porridge like batter. Cover the bowl with a dampened tea towel and let sit at room temperature for 8 hours or overnight.

In a bowl, soak the raisins, orange powder, cloves, ginger, and cardamom with the porter, then cover and let sit at room temperature for 8 hours or overnight. In a blender or food processor, mix the soaker until smooth and sticky. To prepare the dough, in a small bowl, dissolve the yeast in a couple of tablespoons of lukewarm water. Let sit for about 10 minutes until bubbles form on top of the yeast.

In a large bowl, combine the scalded rye, pureed raisins with the yeast mixture, all-purpose flour and salt. Transfer the dough to a floured flat surface and knead the bread into a ball, about 1 minute. If the dough sticks to your hands, wet them before kneading the mixture together. The dough will be dense and tacky. Place the dough in a large bowl, cover with a dampened tea towel, and let rise for 1 hour.

Shape the dough into 1 oblong loaf. Place it in a well-floured rectangular proofing basket that is approximately 30 by 13 cm. You can also let it rise on a well-floured tea towel supported with two rolled-up tea towels on either side of the loaf. Cover with a dry tea towel and let rise for another 1 hours. To test when the bread is ready to bake, poke your finger gently into the dough; the indent should slowly spring back, about 3 seconds.

Preheat the oven to 260°C 30 to 60 minutes before baking. Arrange a baking sheet or baking/pizza stone on a rack in the middle of the oven. (Please note that a stone will need more time to heat up than a baking sheet.)

When ready to bake, carefully invert the shaped loaf onto the hot baking sheet (or stone). With a sharp knife or razor blade, slash the top of the dough. Mist the bread with a water spritzer before closing the oven door. Lower the temperature to 200°C and bake for 40 to 50 minutes, or until the internal temperature reaches 98°C. The bread should have a dark brown color, and if you knock at the bottom of the loaf it should sound hollow.

Remove from the oven, cover with a tea towel, and let the bread cool completely on a cooling rack before cutting the bread. It's best if the bread can rest for at least 8 hours or overnight.

The bread will keep fresh for several days, at room temperature, covered in a plastic bag. For longer storage, freeze bread when cool, well wrapped in plastic, sliced or whole, for up to 3 months.


CREDIT: Reprinted with permission from Smörgåsbord, copyright 2017 Johanna Kindvall. Published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC.

Illustrations copyright 2017 by Johanna Kindvall