Dan Jørgensen, Denmark’s Minister for Food, set a European precedent in the summer when he asked Danes to vote for their favourite dishes.
It is of no surprise to FE that the eight finalists from the various regions of Denmark are dishes that fall into the category of traditional food.
First, with an overwhelming percentage of the national vote, was fried pork with parsley sauce.
It was followed in second by open sandwiches, with slightly more than a quarter of the vote.
Beef burger and onions was voted third by one in eight of the participants.
Meat rissoles were fourth, mashed potatoes with bacon and onion fifth, fried apples with pork sixth, fried herring seventh and pork chops eighth.
‘The Danes chose roast pork as Denmark’s national dish,’ said Minister Jørgensen. ‘It is a dish I even like very much.’
‘Danish and Nordic food is famous around the world,’ he said. ‘But at home in our own kitchens, we often forget our food roots. This vote has helped to excite and inspire Danes to rediscover the many good Danish dishes.’
Pork featured in four of the dishes, five if meat rissoles (which are made with minced pork and veal) are counted.
‘The vote has sparked a debate about what is Danish food,’ said Minister Jørgensen, and the choice of a pork dish that is easy to make did not surprise him.
‘It is a good old traditional Danish dish that can be made super delicious, and for many symbolises something that is also important in the discussion of food – namely tradition, comfort, and enjoyment.
‘Is it healthy to eat fried pork and parsley sauce every day?
‘No, of course it is not, but if you eat a varied and otherwise healthy diet, you can easily eat something that is not so healthy once in a while.’
Of course the purpose of Minister Jørgensen’s initative has been achieved. Since the vote was announced on November 20 a lively debate has followed and intensified in the media, in the home and in the workplaces.
We will follow the debate and report accordingly.
Here are the recipes of the Top 8 dishes in Denmark.
Stegt Flæsk med Persillesovs
It would appear that the Danes have not lost their love for roast pork. Traditionally stegt flæsk is a fried pork dish, served with parsley sauce. But it works better roasted in a medium-hot oven. The choice of belly pork is the secret.
Many cooks believe this dish should also be served with vegetables, and fennel and endive are a good accompaniment.
500 g potatoes, small, peeled 16 belly pork slices, 2 cm thick, dried, salted 1 endive head, quartered 1 fennel bulb, quartered 1 lemon, juiced 25 g butter 2 sprigs thyme 5 g sea salt, groundo
Parsley Sauce 300 ml milk 200 ml potato water 50 g parsley, chopped small 40 g flour 25 g butter Salt, pinch
Preheat oven to 180°C with fan, 200°C without.
Boil potatoes whole in lightly salted water, drain.
Sauté endive and fennel in butter in a heavy bottomed frying pan over a medium heat.
Add lemon juice, cover, reduce heat to lowest setting, leave to steam for 20 minutes.
Place pork on a rack over a baking tray, bake for 15 minutes. The rinds should have started to crisp.
Turn heat down and look again after five, and if necessary after a further five minutes.
Make a roux with the butter and flour, add milk and whisk vigorously. Add sufficient potato water to loosen the mixture. Cook until the sauce is a creamy consistency. Season with a little salt, add parsley, as much as you like, keep warm over a low heat until ready to pour into a serving bowl.
Serve four pork slices and a quarter of the potatoes to each person with a portion of the endive/fennel mix, garnish with lemon juice and thyme.
Argue over the sauce!
Two open sandwiches, vis:
potato on dark rye with creamy butter mash, watercress mayo and fried onions; and
salmon on toasted sourdough bread with with fox sauce and pickled green tomatoes.
Potato Open Sandwich
Butter Mash 200g potatoes, peeled, boiled in lightly salted water 100 g butter 30 ml cream 5 g lovage, chopped small Black pepper, large pinch Salt, pinch
Mash potatoes with butter, add cream, lovage and seasoning.
Watercress Mayo 30 g mayonnaise Watercress
Blend mayo and cress in a food processor until the mixture turns to a smooth green.
250 g potatoes, whole, small, unpeeled
Boil potatoes in lightly salted water. Leave to cool. Slice thin.
2 onions, sliced thickly 15 g butter 15 g sunflower oil
Fry onions in butter and oil until golden and crispy. Remove from pan to absorbent paper.
4 slices of dark rye bread Butter, for spreading Cress, for garnish
Spread butter thickly on bread. Place potato slices on top of the butter. Using a teaspoon heap dollops of green mayo onto potatoes. Top with onions. Garnish with cress.
Salmon Open Sandwich
Fox Sauce 240 ml apple vinegar 200 ml oil 125 g Muscovado/brown sugar 100 ml taffel mustard/good mustard 1 bunch dill, half whole, half finely chopped Black pepper, large pinch Salt, pinch
Combine mustard, sugar and vinegar in a bowl, adding oil slowly while whisking into a sauce. Stir in dill and season.
300 g salmon slices 2 x 25 g butter 2 pickled green tomatoes, cut into thin wedges 4 slices toasted sourdough bread
Heat butter in a heavy bottomed frying pan over a medium heat.
Place two slices of bread into 25 g of butter, fry until golden. Turn over and brown in residual fat.
Repeat with remaining bread and butter.
Put bread on absorbent paper.
Arrange salmon on bread, garnish with tomatoes, dress with spoonfuls of fox sauce between the tomatoes.
Hakkebøf med Bløde Løg, Spejlæg Og, Stegte Rodfrugter
This is how beef burgers should be made, with lean meat and lashings of seasonings.
The accompaniments follow the fried theme to a logical conclusion.
Potatoes are obligatory with burgers, not chips or French fries.
Vegetables 500 g root vegetables (beets, carrots, parsley), peeled, cut into chunks 120 ml apple vinegar 30 g rapeseed oil 2 sprigs thyme Black pepper, pinch Sea Salt, large pinch
Preheat oven to 180°C.
Toss vegetables in the oil, thyme, vinegar and seasonings.
Bake for 25 minutes.
Potatoes 500 g potatoes, whole, small, boiled in lightly salted water 15 g parsley, chopped Salt, large pinch
Peel potatoes, toss in a bowl with parsley.
Onions 2 onions, halved, sliced 30 ml soy 15 g butter 15 g sugar 15 ml water Black pepper, pinch Salt, pinch
Sauté onions in butter in a frying pan over a high heat for three minutes, constantly turning.
Add soy, sugar and water and simmer for 15 minutes. stirring occasionally. Season, remove from pan and keep warm.
Meat 500g minced beef, maximum 10% fat Black pepper, large pinch Sea salt, pinch Oil, for frying
Form the meat into four burgers, about 2 cm thick, season.
In a heavy bottomed frying pan sauté burgers in oil, four minutes each sides until crispy brown.
Remove burgers from pan.
Toss onions in the juices.
Accessories 4 eggs 10 g butter
Fry eggs in butter for a few minutes in a frying pan over medium heat.
Traditionally coated with flour, egg and breadcrumbs, this version omits the flour and egg for a crust that is remarkably crispy.
Vegetables 250 g carrots, peeled, cut into pea-sized cubes 250 g peas 200 ml milk 30 g butter, cut small 15 g parsley, finely chopped Nutmeg, pinch Black pepper, large pinch 5 g sea salt Pepper
Boil carrots in milk for ten minutes, add nutmeg and peas. Reheat gradually with butter over low heat. Season and finish with parsley.
1 kg potatoes, medium, unpeeled, washed boiled in lightly salted water 300 g minced pork, maximum 8% fat 300 g minced veal, maximum 8% fat 200 g coarse breadcrumbs 125 g butter Black pepper, large pinch Salt, large pinch
Work the minced meat in a bowl until the fat comes off on your fingers, divide into four equal portions, shape into balls.
Spread breadcrumbs on a plate, and coat the meat balls.
Heat butter in heavy bottomed frying pan. Reduce heat to low and fry balls slowly until the crumbs take on colour, about seven minutes each side. Season.
What Elvis thought of this rendition of Burning Love is not known, but the Danes adore it. A simple dish of mashed potatoes with diced meat and fried onions, and traditionally served with local produce.
1.5 kg potatoes, peeled, cut into equal pieces 250 g fatty meat from lamb, pork, turkey or veal, diced 300 ml whole milk, heated 400 g onions, finely chopped 5 g salt Butter, for potatoes Black pepper, pinch Nutmeg, pinch (local ingredients)
Cook potatoes until tender, drain and allow to dry over the heat.
Mash potatoes, add milk and blend into a creamy purée. Season with a small piece of butter, nutmeg and seasonings.
Fry meat in a pan without fat or oil. Remove when the meat has browned. Sauté onions in the fat in the pan until golden brown. Return meat to pan, and heat through with onions.
Serve with meat and onions on top of the mash surrounded by items of your choice.