Wednesday, February 8, 2017

The Swede!










     A Kielbasa Grinder with Swedes, Potato, Onion, Mushroom and Hovmästarsås! 
     In old spaghetti westerns and classic western movies, there often was a character named Swede.  The Swede character in a western movie was usually either a loner, blacksmith, gold prospector, brewer or gunsmith.  Sometimes the Swede was a good guy and in some westerns the Swede character was on the wrong side of the law.  Western movie characters like the Swede added a mysterious dimension to old western films.  The audience in the theater sat in the edge of their seats, when the marshal in the western movie said something like, "Round up a posse.  We are goin' to get the Swede, dead or alive!"
     The Swede was not just a fictitious character added to the script of a western movie to make the film more entertaining.  During the late 1800's, many Swedish immigrants settled in the American west and Mexico.  There were tales and real stories about Swedish immigrants in the wild west that Hollywood script writers modeled their Swede characters after.  
     The most popular silent movies in the late 1800's and early 1900's were westerns.  Those who lived the wild west in the 1800's wasted no opportunity to let their stories be known to Hollywood film makers.  Back in the turn of the 20th century, Hollywood film makers actively sought out real life western people that had stories to tell.  Writing a western movie that was based on legends that many people knew, ensured that a western movie would become a popular success.  People liked to see the events of the old west on film, that they previously only heard about second hand. 
     In modern times, the days of the old west are still alive in some places.  While working in Death Valley a few years ago, driving back and forth from Nevada to California made it easy to identify the kind of people that would stick around in these desolate areas of the west, if the modern age of technology suddenly came to an end.  Most of these people had generations of family that have been in this region since the days of the old west.  Those who were down to earth seemed like the least likely to leave this region for an easier life if the world came to an end.  
     Oddly enough, many down to earth folk in remote small communities between Nevada and California are of Swedish descent.  It looks like the marshall and his posse in the old western movie never caught the Swede, because there are plenty of Swedish names in these parts.  Maybe this was where the tale of a bad guy named the Swede was told by veterans of the old west to Hollywood western film makers way back when.  The Swede actually may have been more than just a Hollywood western legend! 
     Street food sandwich makers depend on some hype to make sales.  The imagery of Swedish heritage in the old west and the Swede character in Hollywood westerns was the only thing that I could think of for creating some hype for today's sandwich creation.  Oddly enough, the Swede Sandwich has a flavor that would be right at home in a big city tavern or a saloon out in the middle of the Desert Southwest.  
     Of course today's sandwich creation was named after rutabaga and not the Swede in old western movies.  Rutabaga are called Swedes in British countries and many parts of Europe.  Every ingredient on this sandwich is popular in Sweden too.  Hovmästarsås is a Swedish sweet mustard sauce that is usually served with gravlax.  Hovmästarsås also tastes great with the potatoes, mushrooms, onions, kielbasa and rutabaga on today's Swede Sandwich.   
     When watching westerns on a Saturday afternoon and a craving for a sub sandwich strikes, put on a ten gallon hat and say, "Round up the posse.  We're goin' to the kitchen to get the Swede!"

     Hovmästarsås:
     This recipe yields about 1 1/2 cups.  (Enough for about 6 large sandwiches.)
     Swedish Sweet Mustard or Smooth German Mustard can be substituted for Dijon Mustard.
     Step 1:  Place 1/3 cup of Dijon Mustard in a mixing bowl.
     Add 2 tablespoons of red wine vinegar.
     Add 1/3 cup of granulated sugar.
     Whisk the ingredients together.  
     Step 2:  Measure 1/2 cup of vegetable oil.
     Add a few drops of vegetable oil at a time while whisking, till an emulsion starts.
     Add a thin stream the rest of the oil while whisking to make a translucent sweet mustard sauce.
     Step 3:  Add sea salt and black pepper to taste.  (About 2 to 3 pinches)
     Add 1/4 cup of chopped fresh dill weed.
     Stir the ingredients together.
     Place the Hovmästarsås in a container and refrigerate the sauce till it is needed.   

     Grilled Potatoes:
     This recipe yields 1 sandwich garnish portion.  
     Step 1:  Heat a sauté pan over medium low heat.
     Add 1/2 tablespoon of vegetable oil.
     Add 1 teaspoon of unsalted butter.
     Add 4 to 5 ounces of peeled russet potato slices that are about 3/16" thick.
     Lightly season with sea salt and black pepper.
     Step 2:  Sauté the potatoes till they are fully cooked and golden brown highlights appear.
     Keep the grilled potatoes warm on a stove top.
   
     Roasted Kielbasa:
     The Kielbasa in the photos was a Large Smoked Kielbasa Link that was made with no sausage casing.  This kind of Kielbasa has become popular at street vendor sandwich stands.  The same technique used to make hot dogs with no casing is used to make this sausage.  These Smoked Kielbasa Links resemble a large hot dog, but they have a good flavor.
     Step 1:  Select an 8" long Smoked Kielbasa Sausage Link.  (A Smoked Kielbasa that was made with no sausage casing.)  
     Place the Kielbasa on a roasting pan.
     Lightly brush the Kielbasa with vegetable oil.
     Step 2:  Place the pan in a 300ºF oven.
     Roast till the Smoked Kielbasa Link is hot and lightly browned.
     Keep the Smoked Kielbasa Link warm on a stove top.

     Rutabaga:
     This recipe yields 1 sandwich garnish portion.
     Step 1:  Heat a small sauce pot of salted water over high heat.
     Bring the water to a boil.
     Add 1/2 cup of thin rutabaga strips. 
     Blanch the rutabaga strips till they are halfway cooked.  (About 1 minute.)
     Step 2:  Drain the water off of the rutabaga.
     Return the rutabaga to the sauce pot.
     Step 3:  Place the sauce pot over low heat.
     Add 1/2 tablespoon of unsalted butter.
     Add 1 pinch of sea salt and white pepper.
     Gentle sauté till the rutabaga is tender, but not too soft.
     Keep the rutabaga warm on a stove top.
     
     Sautéed Mushrooms and Onions:
     This recipe yields 1 sandwich garnish portion.
     Step 1:  Heat a sauté pan over medium/medium low heat.
     Add 1/2 tablespoon of vegetable oil.
     Add 1/2 tablespoon of unsalted butter.
     Add 1/2 cup of thin sliced onion.
     Sauté till the onions turn clear in color.
     Step 2:  Add 1/3 cup of sliced button cave mushrooms.
     Sauté till the mushrooms are tender and the onions start to caramelize.
     Lightly season with sea salt and black pepper.
     Keep the mushrooms and onions warm on a stove top.

     The Swede!:
     This recipe yields 1 hearty sandwich.
     Step 1:  Split an 8" sub roll open.
     Warm the sub roll in a 300ºF oven.
     Step 2:  Place the sub roll on a cutting board.
     Spread a thin layer of the Hovmästarsås Sauce on the sub roll.  (About 2 tablespoons.) 
     Step 3:  Place a layer of the warm grilled potatoes on the sub roll.
     Place a layer of the onions and mushrooms on the potatoes.
     Place the Smoked Kielbasa Link on the sub.
     Drape the thin rutabaga strips over the Kielbasa.
     Drizzle about 1 or 2 teaspoons of the Hovmästarsås sauce over the ingredients on the sub.
     Step 4:  Place The Swede on a plate.
     Garnish the plate with baby sweet gherkin pickles and an Italian Parsley sprig.

     The Swede is big, bad, tough and hearty, just like in the old western movies!

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