November 2011/Prepared Foods -- A love of nutmeg with beef is one of the flavor characteristics of Swedish cooking. So also is dill with a variety of foods. And, allspice in pickled dishes and meats. And, cardamom in baked goods, along with cinnamon and nutmeg.
Meatballs become Swedish with the addition of nutmeg. The beef stew called kalops (pictured here) carries this theme a bit further, by combining the heady fragrances of nutmeg and allspice with the “savoriness” of dill, a bay leaf and the nip of black pepper. This spicing is especially effective with the recipe’s marriage of sour cream and beef.
Dillkott pa lamm spotlights the flavor of Sweden’s “national herb” (as dill has been called). In this recipe, dill weed goes into a bouquet garni (along with a bay leaf and parsley) to season the meat as it cooks, and then becomes the featured flavor in an accompanying sauce.
Pea soup is popular in Sweden, made with a yellow pea, which is somewhat different from American peas. However, to take a leaf from Sweden’s seasoning book, using domestic peas reproduces an excellent soup. The spicing consists of thyme, marjoram and whole cloves. A generous amount of salt pork also contributes to the flavor. When the soup is cooked, the pork is often served in a separate dish, with a spicy mustard.
Jellied veal is a staple of the smorgasbord table and another of the Swedish specialties which calls for flavoring meat with allspice. Additionally, it is typical to use bay leaves, onion and white pepper in the total seasoning.
Cardamom, the exotically aromatic and traditional flavoring for coffee in the Middle East, is also a favorite for cakes and cookies in Sweden. Kardemum-makaka is a cake which frequently relies solely on cardamom for its spicing. Otherwise, its batter is simply butter, sugar, flour, cream and baking powder. pf
The pilot recipe for kalops was originally adapted and tested for Prepared Foods by the American Spice Trade Association. (FR0283)
Kalops (Swedish Beef Stew)
2 tbsp vegetable oil
2 lbs boneless beef chuck, cut into 1in cubes
2 ½-cups of beef broth
1 ¼-cups water, divided
¼-cup instant minced onion
1 tsp salt
1 tsp ground allspice
1 tsp dill weed
¼-tsp ground nutmeg
1 bay leaf
2 cups carrots, cut in 1in lengths
¼-cup dairy sour cream (room temperature)
a dash of black pepper
In a medium saucepan, heat oil until hot. Add beef; brown on all sides. Add beef broth, 1 cup of the water, minced onion, salt, allspice, nutmeg, dill, black pepper and bay leaf. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, until beef is almost tender, about 50 mins, adding more water, if needed. Add carrots. Simmer, covered, until beef and carrots are tender, about 5 mins. Combine remaining ¼-cup of water and flour; stir into saucepot. Cook and stir until thickened, about 2 mins. Remove from heat. Stir in sour cream. Serve with boiled new potatoes sprinkled with parsley flakes, if desired.
Yield: 6-8 portions (6 cups)
Sweden: Land of Vibrant Flavors
November 8, 2011