Thursday, September 15, 2016

Week 35 - Nordic

Our feast for the Week 35 Nordic challenge didn't fully come together until the day I made it. I had decided earlier that I would make some Lindström patties (based on this Guardian recipe page, but with turkey instead of beef), and figured I would follow the Guardian's suggestion and just serve it with pan-fried potatoes and a vegetable side dish (although I planned to do peas instead of mangetout, which I hadn't known at first were snow peas). The day I was going to make the patties, I decided to search to see if there were any Scandinavian potato recipes and came up with a recipe for sugar-browned potatoes on Epicurious. Since that only had basic ingredients that were already in our pantry, I decided to do that for our potatoes side, especially curious about how it would be since it had been published in House & Garden back in 1964.

Lindström Patties

The ingredients for the Lindström patties (adapted a bit) were:

- 1 lb ground turkey ($4.99)
- salt and pepper ($0.05)
- 2 egg yolks ($0.20)
- a little more than 1/4 cup of cornichons ($1.35)
- a little more than 1/2 cup of pickled beets ($0.85)
- 2 spoonfuls of capers ($0.25)
- about 1 tbsp dried chives ($0.10)
- 1/2 medium onion ($0.25)
- butter for pan-frying ($0.25)

The total for the patties was about $8.29, not too bad for turkey burgers.

The steps for making the patties were:

1. Prep - finely chop onions, finely chop cornichons, chop capers, finely chop beets, and measure out chives.

2. Add ground turkey to mixing bowl, season with salt and pepper, and add the 2 egg yolks. Lightly mix together with hands.

[Note: The original recipe said to also add some water here, which I did, despite my instincts telling me not to. I thought the vegetables had more than enough water content, but followed the recipe anyway. As soon as I poured the water in, I knew it was a mistake (at least for the ingredients we had), as it was like the ground turkey was swimming in soup. It was going to be way too watery after mixing in the ingredients, as there would be nothing to bind it or soak up the water, so I drained most of the water out, and then added more pepper to replace the stuff that got washed away.]

3. Add all the chopped vegetables into the turkey mixture and mix together well with hands. (Don't overmix, but just make sure everything is evenly distributed.)

4. Form the turkey mixture into patties. (To make them all fit on one plate, I made them into meatball shapes and then flattened them out when pan-frying them. I had to squeeze the water out when making the meatballs and then again when flattening the patties. Way too much water.)

5. Melt some butter in a frying pan, and then pan-fry burgers, a couple of minutes on each side until cooked through. (I had so many that I ended up doing them in 3 batches.)

It was sometimes hard to tell whether the patties were done because they were still pink from all the beets. I ended up cutting one patty from each batch open to check them, and they were cooked through. (It also gave us an excuse to eat a few patties before dinner since it was late.)

Overall the patties were really good. There was sweetness from the beets, saltiness from the capers, and a nice sour flavor from the cornichons that all worked together really well. It was nice eating patties with so many vegetables inside, as they tasted so healthy.

Sugar-Browned Potatoes

I followed the original recipe for these potatoes pretty closely, other than using baking potatoes instead of small boiled potatoes, mostly because we had the giant bag from Costco. The ingredients I used were:

- 2 large baking potatoes ($1)
- 2 tbsp sugar ($0.15)
- 2 tbsp butter ($0.20)
- sprinkling of salt ($0.05)

The total for the potatoes came out to $1.40. Paired with our vegetable side (5 large mushrooms, a couple cups of frozen peas, and the other half of the onion cooked in olive oil) and the patties, the total for dinner was approximately $12.94. It made a lot of food, and there were some potatoes and vegetables left over for lunch the next day, so it seemed worth it.

As far as making the potatoes, the process was pretty easy. Boil the potatoes until fork tender and then drain. Melt butter in a pan, add the sugar, and stir constantly as the sugar browns (but doesn't burn). Add the potatoes, coat them in the sugar, and keep stirring until potatoes are browned or as done as you want them to be. When they're done, take them off the heat and sprinkle with salt, and mix some more. Because of the constant stirring, I was really glad I had A's help so I could fry the patties at the same time.

The potatoes were really good, and when we first tried them, we could definitely taste the difference. I wasn't sure how I'd feel about sugar-browned potatoes, thinking they might be too sweet, but I was pleasantly surprised by how much I liked the taste. They weren't super sweet (not like candied yams or anything), but the mild sweetness of the sugar helped the flavor of the potato come out. The subtle sweetness was really good. We were impressed. No wonder this recipe from 1964 is still floating around out there.

Overall, our Nordic night dinner was a really good meal. We would make both of these dishes again (the vegetables are pretty standard and we make stuff like that all the time). It was a little time-consuming making 3 different dishes at once considering the size of our kitchen and amount of usable counter and stove space, but it was really delicious.

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