Thursday, 6 September 2012

Swedish Thursday



  Ärtsoppa och Pankaka, pea soup and pancakes to all of you non swedes, has been a long running tradition every Thursday for as long as I can remember. I hope it is still a tradition for most swedes. The origins of this dish and why it was always eaten on a Thursday, is not clear, some believe that Swedish catholics would eat a very filling and hearty meal on a Thursday to prepare for Fridays meat fast and some believe it was because Swedish maids would only work half a day on Thursday so the household would prepare yellow pea soup as it was extremely easy. All I know is that my mother was brought up eating this soup and pancakes every Thursday, whether it was at school or at home. This was a tradition that she brought with her from Sweden to our home in England. I'm not entirely sure if the tradition has been maintained in all Swedish households, I know it is still very popular and that the Swedish army still serve this meal every Thursday. This is a dish that makes Thursday seem like the weekend has come early, it is a religion that I will be passing onto my children so they can feel how I felt when I knew what we were eating. This is one of my favourite childhood meals, I have to confess that I never filled up on the soup because I knew that my mothers pancakes where winking at me beneath the foil on her pancake platter. I can understand why people do not like the English pancakes because they are dry and very bland, but these pancakes are like fine silk handkerchiefs, they convert pancake haters to worshippers. Each week my father brother and myself would compete to see who could eat the most pancakes whilst my mother would remain glued to the hob frying pancake after pancake if her grandmother blackened cast iron pancake pan, the kind that you would image Thor to use. This is a true treat and very simple to put together, try an scandi-Thursday for a change.

This soup serves 6 people

For the soup you will need:
250g of dried whole yellow peas (if you cannot get whole you can use split)
1 raw ham hock
4 bay leaves
1 white onion
1 teaspoon of cumin
3.5 pints of water
a pinch of salt is sometimes required but not always if the hock is very salty

The peas need to be soaked overnight so I start preparation on a wednesday. When soaked drain the water away and place in a very large saucepan along with the ham hock, onion, bay leaves, cumin and water. Bring to the boil and then cook on a medium heat for three hours with the lid on, stir occasionally so the peas can break down. If the peas are still hard carry on cooking and check every 15 minutes. Pull the hock out of the soup when the meat is falling off the bone and shred. Put the meat back into the soup, taste for seasoning, if you need a little salt add this now and serve. We always serve our soup with cracked black pepper and a dollop of mustard.

Serves 6 people
Makes 20 pancakes
For the pancakes
You will need:
3 large eggs
600ml of whole milk
1 tsp of salt
1 tbsp of caster sugar
1 tsp of vanilla extract
2 tablespoons of melted butter
275g of plain flour sieved.

Add all of the wet ingredients into a bowl and add the flour, sugar and salt into the bowl a bit at a time. Whisk until smooth.
In a pancake pan or non stick frying pan add a small knob of butter and a ladle full of the batter, cook on a medium heat. Flip the pancake when the underside is golden. Cook the other side for a further minute. Repeat until the batter has gone.



1 comment:

Keith Wardale said...

I have to say never been keen on soups but this opens up an entirely new prospect for me. I will try this next week (Thursday obviously) and feedback my tounge tasting comments. Keith.