In Norway “dinner” is called “middag”, and for Norwegians the gathering around the dinner table was traditionally the most important time of the day. Few elements during the weekdays have so many positive values as gathering around a theme, which a meal is, whether it is breakfast, dinner or an evening meal.
What is a good meal? Impossible to describe. Luckily there are too many favorite dishes, national dishes, traditions and not least external success factors influencing a good experience. We have been asked, “What is Norwegian food?” There is no simple answer, since our tradition and culture always are developing. But we want you to know what it has been like – and why.
From time to time we will therefore publish receipts of Norwegian (and Scandinavian) dishes.
So what’s on the menu?
Let’s start up North in Lofoten:
Reason #1: Excellent lamb, especially from the North, in Norway
Filled Lamb from Lofoten (Serves 4-5 persons)
1 leg of lamb (5 to 7 pounds)
2 cloves of garlic
100 g champignon
100 g bacon
100 g onion
1 bunch parsley
1 ts rosemary
1 ts thyme
2 dl whipping cream
1 ts cornstarch
When we talk about lamb leg, we mean one of the back haunches of the animal, and the most common cut includes the upper part of the leg only. (Think of the thigh, without the lower part of the leg.)
Usually leg of lamb is sold without the shank attached; you are just buying the upper part of the leg, as seen here, without the lower part. You can order a leg of lamb with the shank left on, however; this is sometimes called an “American leg,” but usually it’s simply referred to as “shank-on leg.”
We prefer bone-in, for the flavor. Think of how we make stock from bones. The bones hold so much of the flavor. When you roast a piece of meat with the bone still in, you are getting all that flavor in the meat itself. A bone-in lamb leg can be a little trickier to carve, but we opted for bone-in.
Ask the butcher if they can trim the lamb leg for you if they have not already done so. This means that they will trim away the fell, a thick outer layer of fat (which is what can make lamb taste so strongly “mutton-y”), as well as any additional fat that you request to have removed. Personally, we like a nice pad of fat, which insulates the meat and keeps it tender.
Remove the bone. Cook the bone in a frying pan with water and a little salt and save the juice.
Cut garlic, champignon, bacon, onion and parsley and brown them in a pan.
Fill the mixture into the steak together with rosemary and thyme.
When the bone is removed from the lamb, the meat needs to be held together in the shape of the leg for cooking, so heatproof, oven-safe netting is usually used.
Rub the lamb with salt and pepper.
Brown the steak on all sides.
Put it in a long pan and broil it in oven at 200 degrees C (425 degrees F) for about 1 ½ hours.
Let the steak rest for 20 minutes before you cut it. Cook out the long pan with juice.
Filter the juice (3 dl) and add the cream. Cook the gravy and taste it with salt and pepper and adjust the sauce with cornstarch.
Reason #2: Mandelpotet, the typically Norwegian delicacy potato (ask for it, if you’re in the country)
Serve with mandelpotet (a typically Norwegian delicacy potato in the shape of a bent almond), butter damped carrots, yellow turnip and leek.
To drink: Spanish Reserva, from Riocha or Ribera del Duero
Reason #3: Beer and Norwegian Aquavita
Norwegian Aquavita does not, contrary to what many believe, taste like moonshining.
3 Shocking Reasons Why You’ll Love Norwegian Cuisine, written by Tor Kjolberg
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