Swedes don’t tend to go in for cooked vegetables. In the days when I looked after Swedish students visiting the UK I was always listening to moans about why Brits insisted on cooking vegetables. Why can’t you just serve raw carrot or cauliflower they would ask. My answers never really satisfied the students. As with most cultural clashes the experience was good as it did make me think as to whether I really do need to get the steamer out quite so much.
One of the exceptions to eating raw vegetables is rotmos (root mash). It is something Swedes prepare with care and pride. On one occasion I was even taken to a restaurant just to try their rotmos!
Parsnips, swede, turnips and Hamburg parsley are all used for the base, or indeed a combination. For some reason that I’ve not understood, Hamburg parsley is particularly popular in Denmark and so inevitably it is often used in southern Sweden. I don’t often see it in British supermarkets, but if you have an allotment or space in your garden it is worth growing for a nice change. John Duxbury
• Carrots are optional but are worth adding for a little extra colour and flavour.
• You can add some milk or even cream for a richer rotmos.
|1 kg||(2 lb)||Hamburg parsley, swede, parsnip or turnip|
|600 g||(1¼ lb)||floury potatoes|
|1-2 tbsp||butter or margarine (optional)|
|freshly ground black pepper|
1. Peel the vegetables. Cut them into large evenly sized pieces, about 4 cm (1½ cm) across.
2. Place the Hamburg parsley, swede, parsnip or turnip into a saucepan and cover with lightly salted water. Bring to the boil and simmer for about 30 minutes.
3. Add the carrots and simmer for another 10 minutes.
4. Add the potatoes and let everything boil together for about 15 minutes, until the potatoes are soft, without disintegrating.
5. Drain the vegetables but keep the broth.
6. Mash the potatoes with a potato masher or using a hand-held electric whisk. Whisk in some butter, if using, and then a little of the reserved broth until you have the right consistency to go with the rest of the meal. Have a taste and season with a little more salt, freshly ground black pepper and more butter, if desired.
1. Rotmos goes well with many dishes including some roast ham, knäckebröd and mustard as it is a delicious combination.
2. Rotmos also goes well with venison.
3. In the UK, we tend not to think of pairing fish and mashed vegetables together but the combination is actually rather good.
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