Archive for creme fraiche

Venison à la Nelson?

Posted in mushroom, potato, scandinavian, stew, vegetables, venison with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 30, 2015 by oskila

Already a new post? It never rains but it pours…

Venison again? Yes. The grocery store offered venison at a discount again, this time cuts best suited for boiling.

À la Nelson? Why? Well, it’s slightly complicated. There’s a classic Swedish dish, the name of which translates to ‘sailor’s beef’. It’s sliced beef, onions and potatoes, stewed in beer. The sailor connection is supposedly that it’s practical to cook everything in one pot on a ship and fresh water isn’t always readily available, hence beer. A bit of googling indicates that there’s an English (or Polish) version that adds mushrooms and trades beer for stock. It’s called Steak à la Nelson. Yes, after lord Nelson, of Trafalgar fame.

I bastardized my recipe further by not only using venison instead of beef, but also wine and stock instead of beer and adding mushrooms and parsnip.

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Frying a chopped portabello mushroom.

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Searing the meat for a more flavoursome stock.

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Thinly sliced potatoes, onions, browned venison and parsnip in a pot, together with mushrooms, various herbs, black pepper, a hint of garlic and a few juniper berries.

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Deglaced pan with wine, stock and bayleaf.

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After simmering everything for 45-60 minutes it’s not the prettiest of sights, but it’s how it’s supposed to look.

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Finished dish along with a dollop of crème fraîche and pickled Hokkaido pumpkin (Many slow-cooked meat dishes in Swedish cuisine are traditionally served with pickled beets. Pumpkin was the least sweet pickle I had in the house. And it’s halloween soon…)

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NYE 2014 Soup

Posted in cod, dairy, leeks, parsnip, potato, shellfish, soup, stock, vegetarian with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 4, 2015 by oskila

It says soup, but the concoction in question has a few similarities to a stew, a casserole, a chowder, a bisque or a bouillabaisse. Anyway, it’s a soup I made for the NYE dinner main course at my mother in law’s. Since it turned out rather excellent I feel like sharing.

The most important ingredient of all is good stock. I had two pints of lobster stock that I forgot to blog when I made it, so we’ll deal with that first.

Lobster stock (serves: you right)

1. Have your mother or similar invite you for a lobster party.
2. Nab the shells.
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3. Lug a bucket of lobster peel home.
4. Cut up some good stock vegetables such as onions, carrots, leeks, garlic, parsnips (fennel, celery and celeriac are good too) and give them a sizzle in a large pot.
5. Cram the lobster remains in. Be as violent as you need. (I used a potato masher). If the shells refuse to be properly seared, oven roasting them first is a good idea.
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6. Top up with water, wine and perhaps a bit of sherry.
7. Simmer for as long as you like I’d say, skimming frequently and seasoning to taste.
8. Strain the solids. I ended up using a pillowcase.
9. Simmer down to a more manageable volume
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10. Use soon or freeze in a suitable container, for example a milk jug.

Freezing it in a milk jug will likely mean you end up using all of it in one go rather than a little here and there, since you’d have to defrost it to get anything out (apart from the bit with all the salt in it sloshing around the bottom unless the freezer is very very cold.

Since I’m a bit of a cheapskate I didn’t want to use this luxurious stock on just any soup and was at risk of waiting for too long when the opportunity of New Year’s dinner came along just in the nick of time. Also, wanting to defrost the stock well in advance of NYE to see if it was OK I took it out a couple of days early and discovered that we accidentally had turned the freezer off some time around Christmas eve and the temp inside was hovering around zero. Without the stock we’d probably gone for another day or two without checking the freezer, spoiling everything in it.

Aaanyway – for this soup you’ll need:

1 tbsp tomato paste
1 onion, finely chopped
4 carrots, cut to matchsticks
3 cloves garlic, minced or finely chopped
3 inches leek, julienned
1 kilo almond potatoes (or other mealy fingerling) cut to pieces or large dice

1 quart stock, for example lobster (see above)
1-2 glasses white wine
½-1 pint double cream
crème fraîche
water (optional)

400 grams fish fillet, diced
100 grams smoked mussels
peeled shrimp

In a pot suitable for soup-making, start by sizzling the tomato paste and onions, then add potatoes and garlic. I left the potato skin on since almond potatoes are very mushy when cooked and will be held together a bit better by the skin. The reason for the comparatively large amount of potatoes is that they absorb salt and the stock was very very salty. Add water as needed.

Deglace pot with a small amount of wine, then add the stock and wine to taste. Bring to a boil and cook until potatoes are nearly done, then add leeks, fish, mussels and cream to taste and cook until everything is nice.

Serve with a dollop of crème fraîche and a few shrimp as garnish. Garlic bread or croutons are nice on the side.

The above recipe was cooked up for five adults as main course, but turned out to be enough for seconds for three and thirds for two and also leftovers for lunch for two a few days later, which should add up to 12 servings, but not the largest ones.

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Yellowfoot Lunch

Posted in italian, mushroom, pasta, pork, sauce, stew with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on October 6, 2013 by oskila

It would seem this year doesn’t offer a lot of time to go mushroom hunting. Apart from the stuff happening at home, having to work an actual job five days a week is unexpectedly tiring. In years like this, it’s always nice to know when yellowfoot season starts. That is, store-bought yellowfoot.

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The yellowfoot mushroom is one of my favourites. It’s abundant (if you know where to look), easy to dry, flavorful and texturally pleasing. If bought it’s also usually cheaper than the other non-farmed mushrooms. (We usually get farmed button, portobello, shiitake and oyster mushrooms and golden chanterelle and sometimes yellowfoot and trumpet of death when they’re in season)

The other principal ingredients of today’s dish are pork loin, cut into strips, creme fraiche and chopped onions and leeks.

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Dry frying the mushrooms for a bit before adding fat.

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Sweating onions and leeks together with mushrooms, while the meat sears in a separate vessel.

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Meat and a whiff of flour goes into the pot. Add a liquid of choice if the pot starts to go dry. I added a bit of stock and then some milk.

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With the stew in a more agreeable mood, season and add the creme fraiche. I often use creme fraiche because, while as fat as double cream, its acidity makes it a bit lighter than heavy, cream-based sauces. Simmer for a while, the longer the better. In hindsight a bay leaf would have been nice.

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In the meantime, some friendly friend has prepared pasta and a salad (actually, it was me, but hey). Slightly fancier than the average saturday lunch, but we had a friend (who was also our wedding photographer) over for lunch and were in the mood for a bit of fancy.

Chowder-like Smoky Salvage Soup

Posted in alaska pollock, american, bacon, beans, discount, leeks, potato, shellfish, soup with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 1, 2013 by oskila

An awful lot of time has gone by since the last post. I’m very sorry for that, and I have a big backlog of meals to blog about. Today’s dish, however, is hot from the stove. (not really, since it’s probably three-four hours since I actually ate it for dinner)

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When my wife’s aunt and uncle moved to Copenhagen they gave away quite a lot of food that wouldn’t keep for the trip over to Denmark anyway. Among the things we were given were a tin of smoked mussels, something I felt we’d probably never use. Until I read some stuff about clam chowder. The soup I’m making today is probably breaking all kinds of clam chowder rules, but that’s never bothered me in the past. I didn’t feel like a big round of shopping, so I used up stuff I found. Ye olde crustacean stock, frozen alaska pollock up the seaworthy proteins a bit, bacon, cos at least it’s never made a dish worse, ever, creme fraiche with herbs instead of cream, because it was expires-tomorrow-cheap, some old frozen fries and some leek.

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Bacon, leeks and diced fries are the first to go in my new nice cast iron pot, along with some white pepper and powdered garlic. Any chowder purists among the regular readers have probably un-followed by now, but in hindsight I couldn’t tell if the potatoes in the soup was hand-peeled and diced, or simply chopped up fries. It’s not cheaper at all, but handy if you’re in a pinch.

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As I added the still frozen stock, the diced fish and the mussels (it’s damn silly, by the way, that the same Swedish company that used to can 1500 tons of locally sourced mussels annually now ships them from Chile instead. Not very sustainable I’d think) second thought struck, and I also added a handful of green beans and a pinch of paprika.

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Good food, but crappy photo. Added water, a bit of milk to counter the rather high saltiness, a dash of lemon juice in lieu of white wine and, after bringing the pot to a boil, the creme fraiche.

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The final result is a soup with quite a few chowder-like qualities, that I hope at least a quite hungry Mainer would agree to eat. And it feels great to be back in the food blog business.

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