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Danish Christmas Side – Browned Potatoes

These sweet and sexy looking spuds are a must on every Danish Christmas table.
By Kalle Bergman

Before I met my Danish wife, I was convinced that the highest level of “fullness” a man could reach was through the Swedish Christmas dinner. In my world, three hours of constant buffet eating had to be the most heavy and numbing food experience anyone could be exposed to. A wall of small dishes, from cold to warm. First an exuberant and almost aggressively hungry pace, the first cold plates of herring are devoured easily. Then slightly slower over the meatballs, Christmas ham and prince sausages. Fork and knife are rested more often than before. Finally, in time for Janssons Temptation, rather desperate expressions are shared across the table. Scattered sighs, as participant after participant realize that there are still dishes on the buffet that has not been tested yet.

The Swedish Christmas fullness is special (and very dear to me). It is numbing, heavy and swelling – and for a long time I believed that this was the Everest of fullness.

But that all changed when I met my wife.

Because I didn’t know that there was another door. That somewhere, right in the very darkest and most distant corner of the Swedish Christmas fullness, was a slightly lit last door. A door with a discrete warning sign. A door with the text “Danish Christmas Dinner”.

The Danish Christmas dinner is a 9 on the Richter Scale. A Defcon 1. Why? Well, first of all it incorporates all the ingredients you need to make a belly bursting culinary atomic bomb. Butter, sugar, potatoes, pork, duck, fat, cream, cherry sauce, red wine, jelly, cream and a little bit more cream. But the ingredients themselves are not the main issue. Because if it was all in the fat and the carbs, you could just eat a little bit less of everything and steer clear of food coma. No, the main problem with the Danish Christmas dinner is that it is so amazingly good that the “eat less method” is almost impossible to implement. A small bite more turns into two small bites more. Two turns into three, and three turns into burst pant buttons, meat sweats and dinner guests lying stretched out on the floor. It is the Danish Christmas Curse.

One of the key players on the Danish Christmas table is the Brunede Kartofler – Browned Potatoes. Christmas time is tater time in Scandinavia (hell, any time is tater time in Scandinavia), and these ones might just be the sexiest spuds alive. Small boiled potatoes, cooked in butter and melted sugar. Golden, sticky and sweet. Wonderful and deadly at the same time. A perfect representative for the Danish Christmas Curse.

5.0 from 1 reviews

Danish Browned Potatoes Recipe
 
Prep Time
Cook Time
Total Time
 
On the Danish Christmas table, this is probably the most classic side dish.
Author:
Serves: 4-6
Ingredients
  • 2 lbs of small potatoes
  • 3 Tablespoons of sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons of organic butter, unsalted
  • 1-2 Tablespoons of water if needed
Instructions
  1. Boil and peel the potatoes. Leave to cool off completely before moving to next step.
  2. In a large frying pan, cook the sugar on moderate heat until completely melted. Do not stir! When melted, add the butter and stir until the two are combined into an almost syrupy mixture.
  3. Add the potatoes, and a little bit of water to the mixture. If the mixture starts to stiffen and form lumps, don’t panic. Turn the heat up and it will melt again. Slowly rock the pan and cover each potato in the mixture, continuing to cook for about 8-10 minutes.
Notes
TIP: During the rest of the year, I like to spruce these potatoes up with a little fresh sage or chopped chili at the end – but for Christmas, I always serve them in this traditional manner.
Kalle Bergman

Kalle Bergman

Kalle Bergman is the Founder of Honest Cooking. He has a lifelong obsession with simple and honest food, and he spreads the gospel wherever he can. His writing has been featured regularly in Gourmet, Los Angeles Times, Serious Eats and The Huffington Post.

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Originally Published: December 19, 2013

11 Responses to Danish Christmas Side – Browned Potatoes

  1. Marsha Reply

    December 19, 2011 at 1:58 pm

    They look gorgeous – wow, stunning!

  2. Nancy Lopez-McHugh

    Nancy Lopez-McHugh Reply

    December 21, 2011 at 3:18 pm

    I love learning about everyone’s holiday dinners. Both the Swedish and Danish Christmas dinners are ones I’d love to take on. Of course making sure to wear a loose and comfortable dress as to make adequate room :) These potatoes surely sound and look sexy. Can’t wait to try them! Happy holidays Kalle & thanks for all the great work.

  3. Jai Winding Reply

    December 24, 2012 at 1:10 am

    My dear Danish grandmother and great aunt made these potatoes with red cabbage at every holiday gathering. Reminds me of Christmas. Chase it with some Akvavit. Life is good. Merry Christmas!

  4. Tifa Reply

    December 19, 2013 at 5:02 pm

    Those look ridiculous!
    What type of potato works best for this? Also, should they be totally cooked once you boil them or should they be undercooked and finish cooking in the sugar?

    Thanks!

    • Kalle Bergman

      Kalle Bergman Reply

      December 20, 2013 at 10:13 am

      Any small, firm potato type will do. Cook them until done, peel them, and let them cool off before caramelizing them.

  5. Kathrine Anderson Reply

    December 21, 2013 at 11:12 am

    TAK!!!!
    min mor always made these – but her recipe was lost to us.

  6. Lena Boscacci Reply

    December 22, 2013 at 5:15 pm

    Har endnu ikke været i stand til at købe de helt perfekte kartofler her i Californien. Står hver jul og skræller til størrelse- men de bliver dog altid gode!

  7. Leif Arildsen Reply

    August 9, 2014 at 7:37 pm

    Lena,
    jeg finder altid en nogenlunde lille nok kartoffel på Pasadena farmers market. Weiser family farms (fra Tahachapi) har normalt de bedste, ellers har Trader Joes, Sprouts eller Whole foods normalt den rigtige størrelse.
    Men nu ved jeg ikke hvor i Californien du er :-)

    Jeg får brunede kartofler til Mortens anden og til Jul.

    Første gang jeg ville servere dansk julemad lød der et ramaskrig fra min kones familie, vi kan da ikke have juleaften uden tamales, men efter den aften spørges der altid: Skal vi have dansk jul igen næste år :-)
    Jeg savner jul i Danmark, og det bliver formentlig heller ikke i år, men jeg tager 2 uger i Danmark om 3 uger :-)

  8. Leif Arildsen Reply

    August 9, 2014 at 7:45 pm

    Kalle,

    a lot of danes are going thru the buffet ritual early December :-)

    And it is nice to have so many choices, but I would not have it as the Christmas dinner on Christmas eve, but more like early December with colleagues and/or friends or on Christmas day with family.
    In Denmark the Christmas dinner is on Christmas eve, and it was not acceptable for me just to have tomales, so I implemented the tradition of my latino family to eat “flæske steg med hele svineriet”

  9. Kim Nielsen Reply

    September 30, 2014 at 2:57 pm

    Hi. This looks so delicious. :-)

  10. Peter Gartner Randrup Reply

    November 15, 2014 at 9:24 pm

    Luv these! My Mom made them for every Christmas dinner! I tried to make them without a recipe and they didn’t work – tasted awful. Ha Ha

    Then boxing Day we had an enormous Smorgasborg of traditional open faced sandwiches on heavy sour ryebread for as many as 23 people. Luv this bread but can’t buy it in BC where I live and it’s made using a “starter” so I’m scared to make it. (The bread must so firm that it does not absorb any liquid such as with pickled herring.) (:

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