Saturday, May 3, 2014

Chow Down to Eurovision 2014 - Finland

Hyvää iltaa this is Finland calling.

Home to many wooden spoon performances and one hell of a victory in 2006 with Lordi and Hard Rock Hallelujah (it's a shame you can't hear my intonation as I type this because I'm using my best full monster metal falsetto! Hallelujah!)  

I assume, not being totally au fait with the monster diet that Lordi would devour a Finnish hot pot being meat, meat and meat but it would forever ruin the illusion if I found out they were Paleo Vegans!

Laila Halme was the first Finnish contestant to come last at Eurovision with the dreaded nul points.(zero points) They have placed last 9 times since first participating in 1961 but thankfully only nul points on 3 occasions.

I believe Laila deserved some points in the very least as she does have a touch of the Eleanor LaGore about her, I'm just waiting for the entrance of The Saturday Show Dancers!
 
 
This recipe was inspired by Karelian hot pot from about.com. The quantity of this recipe will feed a Eurovision party crowd, or freeze for later, but once the slow cooker is out you want to make it worth your while.
Finnish Hot Pot
Ingredients
  • 1kg pork fillet
  • 1kg beef chuck
  • 1kg lamb chump
  • 2 tbsp. of black peppercorns
  • 2 tbsp. of whole pimento/all spice
  • 6 large brown onions
  • 5-6 bay leaves
  • 1 tbs. sea salt
  • 2 tbs. cornflour approx.
  • 2 tbs. verjuice
  • Olive oil

Method
  • Thinly slice the onions, a food processor is a joy to be hold at this stage 
  • Cut the meats into equal(ish) 2cm cubes
  • With a splash of olive oil brown off the meat in batches
  • Make sure to render the lamb fat well (or leave it out)
  • In a slow cooker add 1/4 of the onions and 1/4 of the meat and repeat layers till used
  • Add the pepper, pimento/all spice, salt, bay leaves and 600ml of water
  • Cook for about 6 hours on low till meat is tender and the stock is glorious (I believe that is a culinary term)
  • When it's ready you can thicken the sauce with cornflour, but I prefer separate the meat from the stock and leave both overnight
  • The next day you can remove a layer of fat from the stock and strain away any excess spices 
  • Heat the stock and thicken with a paste of cornflour and a touch of water
  • Add a couple of tablespoons of verjuice to the sauce and adjust the seasonings
  • Reheat the meat gently through the sauce so it doesn't dry out
Serve with a rustic mash potato, skin on, manual masher, no fine dining passing through drum sieve here, just salt, pepper and enough butter to......actually I'm not sure I should publicly speak of the amount of butter used...use your own judgment here.

Traditionally the dish is served with cranberry sauce but my twist and revelation is a good handful of dried cranberries through the mash potato takes it to the next level as they say would on reality TV cooking shows. The cranberries offer a tart yet fruity accompaniment to the meat and potatoes, and possible an extra vitamin or two.

Another option is to use ground spices if cooking for children, older people or you can't be bothered eating around the whole spices.
 

This year Finland doesn't want to risk coming last for the tenth time so they have decided to send Something Better, performed by Softengine.
Onnea!

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