Pork, Potatoes and Quail! Oh My!

I round out my Scandinavian countries with Finland and yet another pork/potato/cabbage dinner.  Though, if I’ve learned anything from all this, it is how to be a lot more creative with simple ingredients.  There are plenty of complicated dishes that looked so good but I was a little strapped for time last week, so I will have to save leipäjuusto (bread cheese) and homemade rye bread for another time.  I read that Finnish cuisine is very similar to Sweden’s but less sweet.  So even though they still eat everything with lingonberries, the food is traditionally not that sweet, even a little bit on the bitter side.  Blood sausage is a popular item, along with pickled herring, which I swear is haunting me, but they both seemed slightly too adventurous for me.  Looking through traditional recipes, I found that there was a lot of bread, dairy products, and root vegetables (if only you could see my surprised face).  There were also lots of stews and fish I could choose from, of course, but I guess I’m turning into quite a “meat and potatoes” kind a girl.

My Finland dinner consisted of pork chops, mushrooms in cream sauce, and my own version of bubble and squeak, or as they say in Finland, pyttipannu.  Pork is one of the most popular meats eaten in Finland.  Granted, it is  usually eaten in sausage form, but the pork chops worked just as well.  I decided to make mushrooms in a cream sauce, partly because dairy and mushrooms are both integral parts of Finnish meals and partly because it is delicious.

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I sauteed the mushrooms with onions, garlic, salt, and pepper in some butter and then added cream and Parmesan cheese.  You should let the mushrooms cook until the cream thickens just a little.

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I made the mushrooms to serve over the pork chops since I prepared the chops very simply.  I seasoned with salt and pepper and just pan seared the chops so the mushrooms were the perfect sauce to pair with it.

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The other thing I made was a variation of pyttipannu.  This is kind of similar to bubble and squeak, which is not only a hilarious name for food (or anything) but is also quite delicious and made up completely of food that is popular and common in Finland.  It is basically a hash that can be made up of leftovers, so I made mine with sweet potatoes, carrots, and onions.

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Obviously, you can add other things like cabbage, Brussels sprouts, peas, and even meat.  I chopped up all the vegetables and cooked them with butter in a frying pan, seasoned with salt, pepper, and some garlic powder.

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Bubble and squeak is served in England as a breakfast so it is often accompanied by eggs.  My version included hard boiled quail eggs.  Finnish cuisine has a lot of game, and even though you probably don’t find a lot of quail, I happened to have quail eggs and they are like a little treat for me so I figured it was close enough.  Quail eggs are nice because they only take three measly minutes to hard boil and they are so rich and delicious, that they made the perfect finishing touch to my pyttipannu.

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Quail eggs are just so adorable and they added a nice look for my photos also!

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I’m running a little behind schedule with my blog posts but the cooking has not slowed down, so prepare for a couple posts in a row.  I cooked a very challenging Polish dinner the next week, so stay tuned!

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