Malm. Ektorp. Pokal. Basically the only Swedish words I know – all of them IKEA products. I guess once you think of Sweden, also the meatballs come to mind, or an IKEA, or ABBA. After this post Einar’s name will come to mind as well!
My chef for the day is studying with me in Vienna, is 21 years old, and he’s from the city of Linköping. He always has a smile, and already just his presence cheers you up right away. Seriously, no kidding, I have hardly ever met such a positive person before! He is very enthusiastic about travelling, meeting new people, and sports. And he misses his doggie so much! Special about this post is that we didn’t cook something very typical Swedish – but still very Swedish in heart. Let me explain. We made chicken lasagne with some nice salad. But this recipe doesn’t just come from a cooking book – Einar and his friends came up with it themselves two years ago. Sooo, as the Swedish came up with the whole idea, I think it represents the local cuisine just enough.
We start with the lasagne, will do the salad later. (My greatest excuses if the label ‘lasagne’ hurts the Italian, it’s nothing against you guys!) If you’re a regular visitor here, you probably already know the drill – always start by chopping up every ingredient. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees. You fry the onion, garlic, paprika, and mushroom pieces in a pan. Later you do the same with your tiny pieces of chicken and the bacon. You put both in a bowl and mix it with creme fraiche, salt, pepper.
Once done, get a frying pan and cover it in some oil. Put a layer of your mix on the bottom, cover it with lasagne, and keep repeating – we had 3 layers at the end, but the more the merrier. Top the whole thing with more creme fraiche, spinach, and a lot of cheese – and goes in the oven.
I can really recommend a glass of wine for the process, as well as a lot of Swedish music. We listened to Avicii, First Aid Kit, The Cardigans – and, naturally, ABBA! No wonder why Einar is so energetic, the combination of cooking, wine, and this music also made my day!
While the lasagne is in the oven, make your salad quickly so you have some time to dance around for the great background songs. Basically you just got to grab a bowl, put the rocket salad in there, the leftover spinach, pieces of tomato and radish. You mix it with some honey, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper. Done!
While we ate this amazingly tasty dish, we had a great talk about our countries, food, student life in Vienna. I also got a suprise dessert – real Swedish candy! Yum yum. It was butterscotch, one of my favorites. We ended our night by playing some pool with friends, so we kiinda worked off the dinner.
Enjoy the dish, and please, try to look for your own Einar! As a matter of fact he has a twin brother, so you may try to meet him as well. Thank you for cooking, Swedish friend!