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Pytt i Panne – when leftovers will do just fine

Pytt i panne is a dish perfect for when you are stuck with bits and pieces of leftover ingredients in your fridge from a meal you cooked the night before, and you are at a loss of what to make for lunch of dinner. Similar to the English bubble and squeak or hash here in the U.S.,  the name translates to “small pieces in a pan” and the ingredients are chopped and fried all together in a pan.  Grab a saute pan, add some butter and throw in pieces of meat, sausage, vegetables like carrots, potatoes and parsnips and saute, season with salt and pepper and throw a fried egg on top. Serve sprinkled with capers or pickles, a nice loaf of crusty bread and a nice glass of beer.  Tasty and quick, it’s guaranteed to satisfy and you’ll feel even better for making such a great meal from ingredients you didn’t think you could use again!  I find it ironic that stores in Norway have started selling prepared packages of pytt i panne . What a concept – going to the store to buy leftovers! Naturally, I prefer to make my own..

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This is a dish also popular in Sweden (“pytt i panna”) and Finland (“pyttipannu”) and in Denmark it is referred to as ‘biksemad’. Pytt i panne was often made as a staff meal for the employees at the famous Scandinavian restaurant Aquavit in Manhattan, NY, where my husband was a chef for 4 years, and this dish ended up being one of his favorite Scandinavian dishes. In fact, this dish seems to be a favorite among many chefs across the world, I recently saw a recipe for it on Jamie Oliver’s site.  He expressed how he wished he had known about this dish earlier in life, as it represents the kind of every day dish he absolutely loves.

Some people choose to dress up the pytt i panne, adding some dried fruit like figs and and prunes to it, or drizzle it with honey, as well as including soy sauce and a squeeze of lemon juice.  Others will grate some cheese over it and bake it in the oven.  Horseradish cream is also lovely to side as a condiment to this dish.

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Below is an example of a recipe – remember, you don’t need to slavishly follow this and don’t be discouraged if you don’t have these exact ingredients. Use whatever you have in the fridge of vegetables and meat and seasonings.  You no longer have to be at odds about what to make for dinner!

PYTT I PANNE

Serves 4

1 lb sausage of any kind or brisket or sirloin

1-2 carrots, sliced thinly

1 beet, sliced thinly

1 celery root, cubed

5 potatoes, diced

1 red bell pepper, sliced thinly

1/2 cup chicken stock

splash of Worcestershire sauce

Splash of HP sauce

2 tbsp butter

4 eggs

salt, pepper to taste

Melt the butter in a pan over medium heat, throw in the onions and saute until golden and set aside. Throw in the beet, celery rot, potatoes, bell pepper and carrots and saute over medium heat for about 8-10 minutes, add in the chicken stock, bring to a boil, then simmer for a couple of minutes until liquid has reduced. In a separate pan, saute the sausage or meat until browned, throw in the vegetables with the meat and add the worcestershire sauce, hp sauce and season with salt and pepper.  Fry up the eggs in a separate pan (sunny side up) and throw on top of each serving – sprinkle with parsley, serve with pickles, capers, mustard and /or additional pickled beets. YUM!!

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