Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Thanksgiving Eats and Treats!

Thanksgiving is almost here! In a little over 24 hours I'll be knee deep in turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, cranberry sauce, lefse and pumpkin pie. Unlike past years I am hosting the dinner this year and that means I'm responsible for sending everyone home stuffed and satisfied. Kind of nerve wracking but I think I've got a good game plan in place. I've got it figured out as to when I need to start the turkey, then when I have to get the pie and stuffing cooking.

There's so much to plan out that it makes my head spin and I've gained a whole new respect for the folks who, year after year, host large family Thanksgiving celebrations. Seriously, it took me until this week just to decide on what I would serve , then it took me 3 days to figure out which recipes I would use!

So, in the spirit of the season, and in hope of helping others out there make it through Thanksgiving unscathed, I have put together a full Thanksgiving menu to use if you are running out of time or nerve. Enjoy!

Let's start with a traditional Lefse recipe.
2 quarts potatoes
1 tbsp lard
3 tbsp sweet milk

Run potatoes through a meat grinder, set aside to cool. Heat lard and milk. Pour over the cold potatoes. Knead well in flour, enough to roll out very thin. Bake on lefse iron.

Next, we need something warm to sup on (yes, I really did use the word "sup." And in the proper, not-greeting sort of way, too) since it's supposed to get pretty chilly around here on Thanksgiving. The following recipe for a warm Rhubarb Soup should do the trick.
12 ounces of Rhubarb
3 pints of water
6 ounces of sugar
3 tsp potato flour

Clean and cut fine the rhubarb. Bring to a boil in the water, then dissolve the potato flour in two tsp of water and stir into boiling soup. Bring the mixture to a boil again and add the sugar. This recipe will serve 6, so you can adjust up or down as needed.

Now that we have the soup course out of the way it's time to bring out the main course! If your family is anything like mine, that means that cooking a meal that appeals to everyone can be tricky. I've learned over the years from watching my mother and aunt cook for the fam that it's just a better idea to have a couple of entrees. That way everyone has a great Thanksgiving feast. So, in the interest of keeping the peace, I've got two different entrees that should work great for a traditional Norwegian Thanksgiving dinner.

The first entree is Faar I Kaal
4.5 to 5.5 lbs of lamb or mutton
1 large head of cabbage

2 oz butter
2 oz flour
1 tablespoon whole pepper corns

Wash the meat in lukewarm water. Cut into suitable pieces and place in just enough boiling, salted water to cover the meat. Skim when it rises to a boil and let simmer for for half an hour; then remove meat from water.

For the saus, melt butter and stir in flour. Add the strained broth. Place the meat in this mixture in alternate layers with the washed, parboiled and cut up cabbage together with the pepper tied in a cheese cloth pouch. Boil under cover until all is tender; usually 3 hours.

The next entree is the one I KNOW you ALL have been waiting for: LUTEFISK! Yes, the smelly, jelly-like fish dish that has numerous songs devoted to it! Unfortunately the recipe I have for it takes up to 2 weeks to prepare, but if you need a faster way to get this delicacy, then check out the Sons of Norway recipe box here for a great recipe.

9 lbs dried cod
2 lbs slaked lime
1 and 1/3 lbs washing soda (if you can't tell yet, this is a very old and traditional recipe)

Saw the fish into convenient pieces and place in a wooden receptacle and cover with cold water. Let it lie for a week changing water every day. Make a solution of the slaked lime, soda and fifteen quarts of water. Place the fish in this solution under weights to keep the pieces in position as they swell. Add more water if necessary to keep the pieces covered. In about a week, or when properly softened through, take out and rinse thoroughly and place in cold water for eight days, changing the water twice daily during the first few days.

Cut in pieces the size you wish to serve, skin and wash. Tie in a cloth and place in boiling water to cook for 10-15 minutes until tender. Serve with melted butter.

Now that's over, it's time for desert! Today I bring you a traditional Riskrem.

1 qt cream
2 cups cold boiled rice
2 tbsp gelatin
1 cup cold water
2 egg whites
1/2 cup blanched almonds
Sugar to taste

Soak gelatin in water, then put over heat to melt. At the same time, whip the cream until thick. When the gelatin is cold, add to the whipped cream. Add sugar, almonds and whites of eggs and beat until stiff. Serve very cold, and, if you like, add some grated pineapple for color and texture.

So there we have it--a four course Thanksgiving meal that will pull at the heartstrings of any Norwegian American family.

If you have your own recipes or Norwegian American family traditions for Thanksgiving, why not share them in the comments section below.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

1 comment:

Ingrid said...

Are you sure about the lefse-recipe? It seems to me you might have mistaken it for "lompe". Lefse, as I know it (and being Western-Norwegian, I know it pretty well), does not contain potatoes. It is served for coffee, and often with a local speciality called gomme/gome.