Saturday, 19 January 2013

Finnish comfort food for a chilly night in London

I know I wasn't going to blog, but due to popular demand…. ;-)

Last night when the weather in the UK became decidedly Nordic, I fancied a traditional Finnish comfort food dish, Kaalilaatikko. This is a stew with mince and cabbage baked for a long time in the oven, which I've been craving since Big Sis mentioned it during her recent visit. I cannot remember when I last made this dish, but helpfully Big Sis (she works in the food industry in Lapland) gave me great ideas how to adapt the old recipe into a modern British kitchen. I added a few of my own tweaks, and the result was really quite delicious (the Englishman had three helpings).

When I posted a picture of my Kaalilaatikko on Twitter, I got requests of the recipe for the dish, so here it is:

A small white cabbage, cut into slices
500 grammes (1 lb) of mince
1 onion, chopped
1 packet of cooked Uncle Ben's rice
150 g tub of creme fraiche
1 cube of chicken stock
1 tbs maple syrup
1 egg, slightly beaten
1 tsp of dried thyme or 1 tbs of fresh thyme
1 tsp of vegetable stock powder
sunflower oil

Heat the oven to 170 C.

Chop the cabbage and fry quickly in a little sunflower oil. Pour over boiling water to cover, mixed with the vegetable stock powder and cook for about 10 minutes until the cabbage is getting soft.

Drain the cabbage, reserving the water and mix in a stock cube into the liquid. (I used Oxo Reduced Salt Chicken only because that was all I had.)

Heat a little sunflower oil mixed with a little butter and fry the onion and mince until the meat is brown and cooked.

Mix meat with the cabbage and the rice. Combine the egg with the creme fraiche and blend into the meat and cabbage, also adding the maple syrup. Season with salt and pepper and the thyme. Mix well and put into a deep buttered oven dish. I used an oval pie dish. Add enough of the cabbage liquid so that you can just see it on top of the dish. (This prevents the dish from drying out in the oven). Dot a few knobs of butter (or omit if you're counting the calories) over the dish and bake in the oven for about 45 minutes, or until the top is nicely browned.

Serve the dish with some cranberry sauce, or if you can get hold of lingonberry jam (I get mine from The Scandinavian Kitchen), so much the better.



Catherine said...

Looks very tasty. How much in quantity is a cooked packet of Uncle Ben's rice - do you mean long grain rice? Haven't ever bought pre-cooked rice.

Helena Halme said...

The one I had happened to be ready-cooked Uncle Ben's basmati 250 grammes. It just needs to be heated up, so very handy in other recipes too!