This month’s country for Eat the World is Sweden. A few things came to mind when I first thought of Swedish food:
- Meatballs, fish, and things I don’t eat
- Lucia bread that my Swedish aunt used to bring to parties
- Being upset that I’ve already read Marcus Samuelsson’s wonderful memoir because it would be perfect for this
I started to do some research and learned that:
- Marcus Samuelsson’s website has some great recipes but everything I liked was not even remotely Swedish
- Everything I was seeing on other sites seemed so bland.
- Short growing seasons mean that this is a meat heavy cuisine.
Taking inspiration from Swedishfood.com I decided to make Korngryn och rotsaker – Pearl Barley with Root Vegetables – with a few changes.
I started by roasting carrots, turnips, and parsnips. Then I cooked my barley in the instapot. I used high pressure for 18 minutes. I used 1 cup of barley and 3 cups of a combination of mushroom broth, vegetable broth, and water. Basically, I had open containers of broth in the fridge and when I emptied one I went to the next until I had 3 cups. That was the ratio recommended in the book for the instapot. It turned out to be a lot of extra liquid but it was a very aromatic, starchy liquid so I decided to turn it into a sauce.
I drained the extra broth into a bowl. Then I poured enough back into the instapot bowl to have a layer 1/2 inch thick. I used this to saute the mushrooms. I let the liquid reduce as the mushrooms cooked. I added a few more spoonfuls of broth as needed to keep it from all evaporating.
This reduced to a very good sauce that added a lot more flavor to the dish.
Pearl Barley with Roasted Root Vegetables and Mushrooms
- 3 Carrots chopped into bite sized pieces
- 1 Turnip chopped into bite sized pieces
- 2 Parsnips chopped into bite sized pieces
- Olive Oil
- 1 cup Pearl Barley
- 3 cups Mushroom or Vegetable Broth
- 8 oz Mushrooms
- Salt and Pepper to taste
Spray carrots, turnip, and parsnips with olive oil on both sides. Spread on a baking sheet. Roast in an oven at 400 degrees for 30 minutes. Set aside.
Combine barley and broth in an electric pressure cooker. Set on high pressure for 18 minutes. Release pressure manually when done cooking.
Drain excess liquid from the barley, retaining the liquid.
Set pressure cooker to saute. Pour enough of the retained broth into the cooker to cover the bottom of the pot to a depth of 1/2 inch. Saute the mushrooms, adding broth as needed to keep from drying. Allow broth to reduce to a sauce.
Top barley with roasted vegetables and mushrooms. Pour reduced broth over the barley. Salt and pepper to taste.
This still is a little bland for my taste. I didn’t add a lot of other seasoning because I was trying to stay true to the ingredients I was seeing in other Swedish recipes. If I was going to make this again, I would experiment with adding herbs to the broth while cooking the barley and while reducing.
See everyone else’s recipes
Camilla: Fläderblomsglass (Elderflower Ice Cream) for Midsommar
Tara: Våfflor (Swedish Waffles)
Heather: Korngryn och rotsaker (Pearl Barley with Roasted Root Vegetables)
Juli: Färskpotatis – Swedish Dill Potatoes
Evelyne: Swedish Egg Coffee recipe
Loreto and Nicoletta: Smorgastarta – Swedish Sandwich Cake
Amy:Rödbetssallad med Getost (Grated Beetroot Salad with Goat Cheese)
So what book did I read for Sweden? I’ve already read a few very good Swedish books besides Marcus Samuelsson’s. I’ve loved The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared by Jonas Jonasson.
But this month I read a book that was already on my iPad, Never Stop Walking.
Like Yes, Chef, this is a book about an international adoptee. Christina was a street child in Brazil before she and her brother were taken to Sweden and adopted. This is the story of her travel as an adult back to Brazil to try to find her mother. I reviewed it here. This story is absolutely heartbreaking. The life she lived as a child was brutal and hard to read about but I think it is necessary to open people’s eyes to what happens to women and children in these situations.