I have been in the kitchen most of the day, preparing our traditional Finnish Christmas dinner. We usually cook the Finnish dinner on Christmas Eve and then we cook American style Holiday dinner a day or two later. My ham is in the oven (I buy a whole raw ham and cook it myself and then make a mustard breadcrumb crust on it), but it will take a few more hours to cook. We just had some porridge for lunch.
RIISIPUURO – PORRIDGE
5 cups of water 1 3/4 cups rice (Sushi rice or Risotto rice, any type of soft sort grain rice) 6 cups milk 1/2 tsp salt
Boil the water, add rice and let it boil. Add milk and watch it until it starts boiling and but the heat down to medium, and stir constantly for about 10 minutes. There is a lot of liquid, but it’s ok, the longer the rice cooks and the more liquid there is, the better the porridge. Turn down the heat to low and let it cook for about 30-40 minutes, stirring every now and then. Serve hot with milk, cinnamon and butter or with Prune Soup. Also – add ONE almond to the porridge, who ever gets it will be lucky next year and will have her/his wish to come true.
LUUMUKIISSELI – PRUNE SOUP 1 1/2 cup prunes 4 cups water 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon 3/4 cup sugar 3 tbs potato starch
Boil the dried prunes in water together with a cinnamon and sugar for 15 minutes. Set aside to cool for a while. Dissolve potato starch in a drop of cold water and add to prune soup. Bring to boil. I forgot to buy potato starch and used regular flour instead, and we also like mixed dried fruits better than just prunes. To really get the “right” texture for the soup you need the potato starch or potato flour, but you can also make this using regular flour, then the consistency is just thicker, like in my picture on the top, but it was still delicious.
Rosolli is one of my must have Christmas dishes! I’m not that big of a fan of beets, but this salad is so traditional in Finland during Christmas, that I couldn’t imagine having Christmas without rosolli.
ROSOLLI – BEETROOT SALAD
2 cans of beets 2 carrots 2 potatoes 1 onion 1 apple 1 whole pickle 1 teaspoon salt 1 pinch white pepper
DRESSING half pint heavy cream 1 teaspoon white vinegar 2 teaspoons beet juice 1/2 teaspoon sugar 1 pinch salt 1 pinch white pepper
Boil carrots and the potatoes (with peels on to get better flavor). Let them cool down. Peel and chop the carrots and the potatoes to small. The smaller you chop the ingredients the better this salad will be. Chop beets, onion, apple and pickle. Mix everything well, add salt and pepper to taste. Put the salad to fridge and let it sit at least an hour before eating.
I took the above picture right after I had made the salad, but the color will get deeper red after you’ve let the salad sit for a while.
The dressing: whip the cream and then add other ingredients, make this right before serving.
LANTTULAATIKKO – RUTABAGA CASSEROLE
2 large rutabagas 2 tsp salt 2/3 cup bread crumbs 1 egg half pint of heavy whipping cream 3 tablespoons of molasses / corn syrup 1/2 teaspoon ginger or cinnamon 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg 1/4 stick butter 1 small onion 1/2 teaspoon white pepper
There are several variations of rutabaga casserole, and if not done well, it can be very bitter. My tricks – cook for long time, and add corn syrup and cream. The original Finnish recipe calls for molasses, but the American type molasses is more bitter than the Finnish molasses, so I use dark corn syrup or even better the brown sugar corn syrup.
Peel the rutabagas, chop in fairly large cubes. Boil in water (add some salt) for almost an hour until they are super soft. Pour the water out but save about 3/4 cup of it and smash the rutabagas and add the water in the mashed rutabagas. In a separate bowl mix egg, breadcrumbs, cream, syrup and spices and let them sit for about 15-30 minutes. Chop the onion to very small and then saute it in plenty of butter to make it nice and golden. Then mix well the mashed rutabagas, cream/breadcrumb mix and the sauteed onions. Place in greased casserole dish, the deeper the better. Make spoon marks on the top of the dish and sprinkle with breadcrumbs. You can bake it in 400F in less than an hour, but to get better flavor, I recommend baking in 325-350F for about 2-3 hours.