If you are like me, you probably think Swedish food consists of meatballs, gummy fish, and desserts with lots of marzipan. Today my eyes were opened to the inaccuracy of that assumption. I’ve just been introduced to something delicious! Of course, that means I need to share it with you.
While at a friend’s house, I was offered soup and bread for lunch. Simple and perfect for the type of weather we’ve been having. Split pea soup…in log form and bread that has to be frozen as soon as it is baked. Also, apparently the full meal for 3 people only cost about $1.50. Hmmm…at this point, one would think I would be a bit nervous. Was I? Heck no! The only thing better than a bargain like that is a tasty bargain; which I was told to expect.
So, here’s the skinny. Apparently this type of soup, called Ärtsoppa, is a staple of the Swedish diet. Unlike the pea soup I’ve had in America; this pea soup is yellow. Perhaps due to the variety of pea, I like it a lot more than the pea soup I’ve had in the States. I had a similar soup in the UK and liked that better than the green pea version as well. According to the website www.swedishfood.com, this soup was traditionally served on Thursdays to prepare for Friday fasting. As is customary, cubes of ham were added and mustard was provided at the table. I did not try the mustard this time; but next time I will definitely give it a go. Apparently this meal is usually followed by pancakes. To be honest, I ate so much soup that there is no way a pancake would have fit in my belly. It is that good!
My friends tell me this soup is available at every store. To prepare, they just cut open the tube, plopped it into the pan, and added a touch of water and a smudge of ham.
Providing crisp bread with the soup is also customary. In this case, we had a thin, not so crisp bread called rag kaka made by a company called Polarbröd. It is delicious! Light and fluffy, with just a hint of sweetness; it is the perfect complement to the salty soup. As far as I can tell (thank you Google Translate), rag kaka means rye cake. That said, this is definitely not a rye bread. The cake portion of the name refers to the bread’s round shape.
Not in Sweden? That doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy this delicious meal too. This recipe I found for Ärtsoppa looks delicious and is a good place to start. Wait! We can’t forget the bread! Instead of popping to the local store for pita, which is not the same; I found this recipe for a similar bread from www.weekendbakery.com that looks promising. Alternatively, the same website hints that you may be able to track down a bag at IKEA. Worthwhile to check it out. 😉
I leave you with a picture of Ärtsoppa and rag kaka in all their splendor. Hopefully you too will be warmed by this delicious meal in the near future.
Until next time…