Side dishes – often the most important part!

Up until now, we’ve focused on the main elements of the Norwegian Christmas table; the meats/protein. Today as promised, I’m bringing you all the ‘accoutrements’ – the sides that accompany the mutton and the pork. When I was younger, growing up – I often looked more forward to my mom’s rutabaga mash than the star of the evening; the mutton ribs.  As I’ve become an adult, I’ve adapted my own recipes and touches to the original dishes which I hope you will enjoy!


Serves 4-6

1 ½ lb head of red cabbage, thinly sliced

2 shallots, thinly sliced

4-5 figs, chopped small

2 tbsp butter

2 tbsp white wine vinegar

salt, pepper to taste

Heat up butter with 1-2t tbsp of oil in a large pot, and saute the shallots, cabbage, and figs for a few minutes, then add vinegar, salt and pepper to taste.



Although the traditional recipe for this sauerkraut contains caraway seeds, I’ve been experimenting with several other spices and ended up preferring the one below.  Try it out and let me know how you like it!

Serves 4-6

4 tbsp butter

1 head cabbage (about 2 lbs)

1 tbsp whole juniper berries, crushed

1 tbsp cumin

½ bottle dry white wine

4 tbsp honey

4 shallots, thinly sliced

4 Granny Smith apples, cubed
Add butter to large pot over medium heat, add cabbage and sauté while constantly stirring. Add the apples and shallots, continuing to stir. Towards the end once the cabbage is getting soft, turn up the heat to extract as much water as possible from the cabbage. Add the white wine, juniper berries, cumin and salt and pepper to taste.


Mashed Rutabaga

Serves 4-6

2 lbs rutabaga

2 large carrots

4 cups water

2 tsp salt

1 tsp pepper

1 tsp mace

½ cup heavy cream

3 tbsp butter

Peel the rutabaga and carrots and dice into cubes. Add into pot with the water and boil until soft, about 20 minutes. Drain the rutabaga and carrots, add some of the water from the pinnekjøtt pot that will be steaming away, this will add some delicious flavor to the mashed rutabaga. Taste to with the mace, salt and pepper and add some butter and heavy cream to your liking until a fluffy, light mash. Personally I don’t think the heavy cream is necessary, but if you are going for a rich mash, heavy cream is your friend!



Serves 4

1 lb ground pork/beef/veal mixture

2 tsp salt

2 tsp cornstrarch

½ tsp ground ginger

½ tsp ground nutmeg

½ cup milk

Mix all ingredients together until a sticky dough, shape into small balls and fry them in a sauté pan with butter or fat from the pinnekjøtt/mutton ribs until golden on both sides.


Lingonberry jam

Realizing most people won’t have access to lingonberries in this country, you can substitute fresh cranberries – no problem!

2 lbs lingonberries (or cranberries)

1 lb sugar

1 tbsp cloves

1 cinnamon stick

Add everything in a medium sauce pot and bring to a near boil.  Let it simmer for about 15 minutes, then cool.


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