Ain’t no dinner, like a Sunday dinner, and ain’t no Sunday dinner like a Scandinavian Sunday dinner. And if I can have my way, there will be some part of a pig on the table. Because what’s more Sunday then a big ole’ pork roast? I love it the way the Danes make it, with the rind all crisped up like cracklin’, and some sweetness to balance the rich taste of the pork. Now, there’s probably as many recipes for Danish pot roast as there is grandmothers in Denmark, but generally the idea around it is about the same, and most recipes can be easily tweaked to suit your particular preferences. Now there’s a number of way to get that crispy finish on the rind, but one of the simpler, if it doesn’t crisp up as you want it in the oven, is to use one of those little butane torches that chef’s use to make burnt sugar on top of crème brûlée (it sounds fancy, but they’re usually around $20). Meat is cut differently in different countries, but as long as you use a fatty part of the pig, like pork butt or ham that still has the rind, you’ll get pretty much the same results. Since my Danish is far from perfect, I borrowed the outlines of this recipe from the Swedish journal Hemmets Journal. As usual in our Scandinavian cooking section, we’ll be working in metric.
1.5 – 2 kg of pork butt or ham (with rind!)
3 tsp of salt
A few pinches of pepper
1 tsp of ground ginger
Juice from one orange
0.5 l of drippings and water
2 tbsp of butter
3 tbsp of flour
1.5 dl of heavy cream
Additional fresh squeezed orange juice
- Score the rind with a sharp knife, or if you’re at the butcher, ask them to score it for you. This can be done in lots of different ways, most common is etiher making parallell cuts, or making a grid pattern.
- Heat up your oven to between 480 and 485 (250 celsius), and put in a roast pan fill to about a third with water. Let the water boil and put the roast in the pan with the rind facing down. Leave it in for about 15 minutes, take out the roast and pat it dry with some paper towels. Lower the temperature to 320.
- Mix salt, ginger and pepper. Pat the pork dry again, and then rub it with the spices. Make sure the spices gets in between the scores.
- Put the roast on a rack over the roast pan. Put a thermometer in the thickest part of the roast, and wait til it reaches 185 (between 1 and 1.5 hours).
- Strain the drippings, and dilute them with water if there’s not enough. To really get the flavours from the pan, it sometimes helps to pour some water directly in to it, and wisk it around, and along the edges of the pan. Melt butter in a sauce pan, and sprinkle the flour over it. Mix and let brown a little bit, but not burn. Pour in the drippings and let boil for 5 minutes. Add cream and taste with salt, pepper and orange juice.
- Let meat rest for a while, and serve with your favorite sides. Goes well with brussel sprouts, caraway potatoes, apple slaw and prunes.