Heavenly flavours need time

The chef of the Pelikan and his job is responsible to make sure that the plain food tastes as heavenly as possible.

Plain food is the heart of Swedish cooking, he says. Originally it was meant for manual labourers, but the modern form of plain cooking will never disappear even if manual labour no longer would exist. It takes over more and more space on the menu even in finer restaurants. Let us hold on to this tradition, which was brought to life again by chefs like Tore Wretman and Werner Vögeli in the 1960th.

You could say that plain cooking during centuries has been using methods that now are popular again when it comes to trendy cooking.

- The food of the farmers had to be non-perishable and last throughout the winter. You had to salt, sour and preserve vegetables. On today’s menus you often can read that the vegetables are pickled which is the same thing as preserved. The vegetables are pickled in one part of vinegar, two parts of sugar and three parts of water. Nowadays, however, you leave them in for a shorter time.

Farmer’s food like cabbage pudding and fried, salted herring is no fast food. This is no food that any normal family with kids cooks during weekdays.

But out Chef is hoping for to recreate the kind of Sunday meals at the Pelikan that he remembers from his childhood. The menu has to be worth its price and affordable for families with children. Why not a favourite like boiled knuckle of pork with mashed turnips.

Boiled knuckle of pork and meatballs big as golf balls

Boiled knuckle of pork takes time to prepare. In order to get it real tender it has to be baked in an oven overnight at low temperature, let’s say 90° C. Every knuckle of pork is good for three big portions. And the meat has to fall off the bone.

The golf ball-sized meatballs at the Pelikan are also a trade in itself. It happens that a group of Japanese tourists enter the big Beer Hall and point at a picture of the meatballs in their guide books. The monster balls are formed by hand several times each week. They are best sellers and the forcemeat weighs at least 50 kilos every time.

-The future of plain food is bright.

Young people are more aware of the food’s quality than earlier generations. And they want to try the kind of food that they don’t cook at home. Things like the Pelikan’s salted herring that is flushed under running water for fourteen hours before it is fried and served with onions the next day.

The spring-lamb of the season (which was just taken off from the menu) was a long-time baked neck of lamb with tongue. It took one week to refine this raw material which was baked in the oven for 10 hours at a temperature of 62,1 °C. The tongue was lightly salted for 3-4 days and thereafter boiled for 3-4 hours. The skin was removed and it was fried in order to get the right, crispy surface. The meat gets tender with a very mild taste of lamb.