Wednesday, 26 December 2012

Anna's Recipe for 'Holiday Spirit Blog Fest' - RFW Challenge No 48 - Beginning, December 12th, 2012

Here is my recipe for Jansson's Temptation, a very Swedish potato casserole:

If you ever get to visit Sweden and don't know what to eat, you can always eat potatoes. Ever since Jonas Alströmer (1685-1761) introduced the potato to Sweden, it has been the mainstay for generations of Swedes. Swedish potatoes are special to me. They are firm in consistency and have a mild taste that complements any meat or fish or sauce that you serve with them. New potatoes (the first potatoes in the early summer) are best. This recipe may not be so easy to make outside of Scandinavia, but here it is, my own recipe for Janssons Frestelse, (=Jansson's Temptation), a potato casserole better than any other potato-casseroles; taught to me by my mother and grandmother:

[This is a post from 2010.]



 All photos copyright Christina Wigren 2010

'Jansson's Temptation' is a very Swedish potato-casserole called 'JANSSONS FRESTELSE' (which means literally 'Jansson's temptation'), that is a must for every genuine Swedish Christmas buffet (smörgåsbord).

Please don't ask me who 'Jansson' was/is. I don't know at this moment. But if anyone does know, you are welcome to leave that information in a comment. It was probably some chef who invented this recipe. Wait a moment, here is what I found on Wikipedia:

It has often been claimed[1] that the name originated with the opera singer Pelle Janzon (1844-1889), remembered as a gourmand. However, another claim[1] for the origin of the name has been made by Gunnar Stigmark in an article – "Så var det med Janssons frestelse" – which appeared in the periodical Gastronomisk kalender. According to Stigmark, the name was borrowed from the film Janssons frestelse (1928) featuring the popular actor Edvin Adolphson; as a name for this dish it was coined by Stigmark's mother and her hired cooking lady for the particular occasion of a society dinner, whence it spread to other households and eventually into cookbooks.
The dish is also very popular in Finland as Janssonin kiusaus, which also means literally "Jansson's temptation".

This is a photographic/pictorial step-by-step recipe using pictures taken by me in my humble kitchen. (No Googling or Wikipedia-help here! No, wait... For Wikipedia's recipe please click here and for information, and about the name Jansson's in English here and in Swedish please click here.)
These are the utensils that you will need:

Some kind of oven-proof glass or material baking dish that is low and long. I am making a two mini-temptations using smaller baking dishes, for the photos to save time, and you can do the same if you just want to test the recipe or make a variation of it. The large dish is approximately 11 x 7 1/8 inches (28 x 18 cm) and the smaller one is 5 1/2 x 7 1/8 inches (19x14cm).

A good potato-peeler and a kitchen knife and a cutting-board.

(You can also use a handkrank or machine cutter.


Make sure you choose the right setting, approximately for 'shoe-string french-fries'.)

A large enough bowl of cold water. (The bowl in this photo is too small. It only serves as an illustration.) I usually peel all of the potatoes first and put them in cold water so that they do not turn brown in the time it takes for me to peel and cut all of the potatoes into strips.

You can use a special separate cutting-board to cut, slice or chop the onion, or you can use an onion-dice if you have one. I do not. I cut everything by hand with just a knife and a cutting board.
Ingredients for 4 portions:

8 to10 medium-sized firm potatoes. No floury over-sized Idaho baking-potatoes. Choose potatoes that have a firm consistency that could be used in, for example, potato-salad.

A tin of anchovy filets (20 filets). This may be hard for you to find depending upon where you live in the world. I have actually taken tins/cans with me on trips to visit relatives and friends in the US. If you have an Ikea-store near you, they may be able to help you. (But I don't know for sure, since I never have tried to ask them for help.)

Using the filets saves time. But, my mother taught me how to clean and filet the whole anchovies, so I know it is possible to use them if you only have un-fileted, whole ones. It's like cleaning any fish except that these are very small.

Do not throw out the saucy liquid that the filets come in. We will be using it for flavouring. It's the ingredient that 'makes or breaks' this dish. So it is important that you find a tin of anchovies. (I have tried flavouring Jansson's with capers, and it just does not work! It is not the same to take any old salty thing! But there is a recipe for 'vegetarian' Jansson's Temptation! )

Approximately 1 1/3 cup (3dl) of heavy cream or cream with milk or milk.

Two medium-sized yellow onions/Spanish onions (allium cepa), sliced or finely chopped.

One or two tablespoons of butter or margarine. (I prefer butter.)

One tablespoon bread crumbs, unseasoned. (I usually take piece of crisp bread (knäckebröd) and crush with a mortar and pestle.)

What to do:
1. Grease your oven-proof dish.

2. Peel the potatoes and put them in the cold water bowl while you do the next step.

3. Chop your onion(s).

4. Cut the first potato(s) into the right size strips and lay them in the bottom of your baking dish.

If you find that the knife sticks to the potatoes when cutting making it difficult, wipe your knife between cuts with a little salad oil. Put some oil on a 'Wettex'-cloth on a flat dish by your cutting board. It makes cutting easier.

5. Sprinkle pieces of onion over the thin layer of potato-strips.

6. Lay the anchovies filets over the onions and potatoes.

7. Lay more layers of onions and potatoes until you don't see the anchovies anymore.

8. Mix the liquid from the anchovies tin with the heavy cream and pour it all over the potato-onion-anchovy-layers. It will sink to through to the bottom of your dish.

9. Put some bits (about a tablespoon) of butter here and there over the potato-onion-cream-anchovies mix.

10. Distribute some finely crushed bread crumbs over everything.

11. Bake in oven at 225 degrees Celsius (437 degrees Fahrenheit) for 45 minutes.

(Cover with aluminum foil for the first 35 minutes and then remove for the last 10 minutes to get a golden brown colour.)

12. You can eat it warm or cooled to room temperature. You can reheat it the next day. (Add milk for moisture.) And you can freeze it in a couple of plastic bags for a couple of months.
Jansson's Temptation is a great as a side dish for a Christmas buffet (smörgåsbord) or main dish with sausage or a cold slice of Christmas ham, a tossed salad and a glass of beer for a midnight snack on New Year's Eve.

Try making this well ahead of time first, if you have never made this or even tasted it. Not everybody outside of Sweden likes it. Please follow the recipe before you start experimenting. Do not add extra salt or peppar. The cream, onions and anchovies are the only seasonings you need.

Smaklig måltid! (= [approx.] Wishing you a tasty / delicious,  meal / repast! or Bon Appetite!)

Best wishes,

First Commenter:

Aduro Ojo 


Aduro Ojo Presents

CHALLENGE NO 48 - Beginning December 12 - 21


Memoir, Fiction, Recipes, Traditions...and more

This is a holiday blogfest with a difference! Please join in the fun!

For this Holiday Spirit blogfest, we are looking for excerpts of up to 800 words involving fiction or non-fiction stories of family tradition, favorite/unique recipes, inspirational articles, etc.; that involve the essence of the holiday spirit.   (Recipes and news articles do not have to adhere to the 800 word limit.) RFW, and the blogsphere itself, include a multitude of countries, cultures, and citizenry of the world.  Not every culture celebrates Thanksgiving, Christmas, Yom Kipper, or any variety of holidays of the “giving spirit” during the same season.  Because the RFW hosts are a part of western civilization, we choose this month for our yearly celebration, Christmas, and would like you to post whatever passes for the Holiday Spirit in your neck ‘a the world.

For once, your submission does not need to include an element of romance; however, we at RFW acknowledge that ANY writing involving family (their values, traditions, and conflicts) is a Romantic writing.  What is more romantic than Family?

Because of the special nature of this Holiday Spirit blogfest, we are allowing up to two submissions; however, they must be in two separate categories.  Meaning, you could post your favorite recipe AND an inspirational 800 word excerpt; or a link to an inspirational news/magazine article and a recipe or true story; but not two of each (two recipes, two memoir posts, two articles). If you are posting two separate submissions, please add your blog link twice and add to your name/link what it contains - eg - Donna Hole, Recipe, so participants know to look for two separate posts.
The linky will open on December 12 and remain open thru December 31 to encourage linking to the direct post.  However, if you decide to link then schedule a post (or two) later, just leave a comment to let everyone know when your excerpt will be available.  The RFW hosts will be checking the comments and links, and if a direct link is available, we will edit your link(s) if you haven't done so.

Please join us in celebrating life, love, presents, good food, and of course Family Traditions of all types of all cultures.

This is not a competition - it is a sharing. We hope we'll all get to know each other better!


Adura Ojo said...

Hi Anna,

Interesting dish and blogfest. Just came to say hi. Got my hands full this December, so I'll have to see about the blogfest.

Hope you're doing well with your NaNo story. I managed to do a first draft but there's still a lot of work to be done. I decided to change pov to first person. I've rewritten one of my previous excerpts from the WIP in first person POV. Please check it out if you can. Let me know what you think. Greetings to your family.



Tina said...

Oh what wonderful memories! Jag alskar Jansson's Frestelse! Vi ater den jul ock pask (Jag har ocksa serverat den nar jag had hand om maten aret vi hadde Svenskt julbord pa kyrkans julfiriring.)

Skoj att halsa pa igen! Min mac dog, och pa denna har jag inte hittat Svenska vocalerana annan. Denna ar 8 ar gammal...stackars mig :-)

Jag har en van som behover lite forsknings hjalp. Jag skicker hennes email till dig. Om du kan hjalpa skulle jag upskatte de sa mycket. Hon ar en kar van some hjalpte mig borja blogging med Alphabe-

Min lilla syster kom och hjalpte mig pynta igar - jag har varit jatte sjuk med asthma och bronchitis. Jag gjorde granen i morse.

God Jul till dig och dina.
Manga kramar,
Tina @ Life is Good

Scheherazade said...

Hi Anna,
You did a wonderful job presenting this recipe. Unfortunately, when I learned anchovies were a main ingredient, I decided that I probably would not be making this recipe. I'm usually not finicky, but anchovies--no, can't go there. My childhood tradition was always oyster stew on Christmas eve, unfortunately my family feels the same way about oysters as I do about anchovies so over the years a compromise has evolved: salmon. We all love grilled salmon.

I hope you will be posting a Christmas memoir or fiction.


dolorah said...

Anna honey I'm usually a fan of all things potatoes. When you started about the onions I knew I'd just skip that (totally allergic), but when you staid with anchovies for some reason my mind read artichokes. Then you showed the picture.

Um, sorry . .

However; I know some people who would drool over this recipie (my exhusband being one of them and he'll spend the holidays with us) so I'll be sure to share this.

I just love the awesome detail you put into this post. Wow, almost makes me want to cook it. Such attention to detail makes me think of you as an extremely patient person. I can see you in your kitchen or craft room with your kids, calmly teaching them your traditions/craft.

There is a lot of your personality wrapped up in this posting. Thank you for sharing this. I've been missing you Anna.


Nilanjana Bose said...

Hi Anna,

Beautifully presented recipe, enjoyed the pics and the informative tidbits you've inserted. And I love potatoes, my whole family does, so I'll be trying this, though not necessarily for Christmas.

Wishing you very happy festivals!


Anne said...

This one looks really appetizing but I'm just not so good with anchovies. But who knows, maybe this one will be different. Thanks for sharing and have a wonderful Christmas!

Charmaine Clancy said...

You've gone to a lot of trouble to share this Anna, so many photos! Great job. I'm not a fishy person, but I think if use bacon instead I might try this! Thanks for sharing :)

Unknown said...

Loved the presentation! A very different dish indeed and I do like anchovies.

Sally said...

Hi Anna, what a lovely clear recipe and instructions you have given us. I really appreciate the step-by-step photographs. My family are rather staid in their tastes and wouldn't even touch it with anchovies in it.

I hope you have a great time over the Christmas period and wishing you a very Happy New Year.

dolorah said...

Hi Anna;

That's weird; I remember coming by last week to read this, and I was sure I left a comment. I've had lots of blogger problems though.

That is an excellent recipe; and I love how well you explained the procedures and steps. I can see so much of your patience and love of teaching in this tradition.

Thanks for sharing this with RFW Anna. I've missed you, and I'm glad to see you are still working away on your projects.


Tami Von Zalez said...

Oh lawd, you lost me at the anchovies ...

Visiting from The Holiday Spirit blogfest.

Michael Di Gesu said...

Hi, Anna,

Happy Holidays!

What a terrific presentation of your special holiday dish.

It looks really delicious. I am not a big anchovy lover, but I certainly would try it!

I hope to have my post up sometime later tomorrow... the 21st.

kjmckendry said...

I would love the vegetarian version. It sounds yummy. I love trying dishes from different countries. Merry Christmas.

Li said...

Hmmm, I might try this for my Dad, it sounds like something he might like, and not too difficult to make. Merry Christmas!

Kiru Taye said...

Stopped by to say a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

It's been lovely getting to know you this year, Anna. I hope to read more from you in the New Year.

Thanks for sharing the recipe. Will have to give it a go some time. I love Swedish meatballs though.

Unknown said...

To All of my Wonderful Blogging Friends,

Thank you so much for your kind comments on this recipe post for my very Swedish potato dish, Jansson's Temptations.

I was living out of a suitcase from December 4th to 17th and had no time to write or prepare for the holidays. My son is presently celebrating Christmas with his father, but my daughter wasted no time in getting back with me as soon as I had landed on Swedish snow-covered soil, in spite of the fact that I have no Christmas tree or decorations up or not even any really good Christmas food to offer her. (I went to the store to buy a Christmas ham only today, Boxing-Day! So late!)

I have always been a lover of the Christmas holiday and hate not being able to do it right. But my eight year old daughter, Elisabet, has been very patient.

I have vowed to do better next year. This has really been a year when almost everything has gone wrong, except for our health, for which I am very grateful.

I had hoped to write a Christmas story for this challenge, considering all of the drama that I witnessed earlier in December, but I just have not had the time or the wherewithal to put pen to paper or fingers to computer-keys. It has been less of a nightmare than the one I experienced this summer when I was travelling in July; but it has been a nightmare, none the less.

Please be patient with me. I will try to visit every one, who has stopped by my potato-post, in the coming days before the Year's end.

Please think about me on December 28th. It's my birthday, and it is a number with a zero after it!

Best wishes & hugs for the holidays! I hope everyone stays well.

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