When you think of noodles, you probably conjur up images of Italian pasta or Asian noodles or perhaps even German spätzle. The thought of a Norwegian noodle would probably never come up, and rightly so. Therefore, you might be wondering why I am posting a pasta dish.
I was invited to take part in @noodleholicsparty, a virtual gathering of fellow food bloggers celebrating noodles from all around the globe. That is to say, food lovers from all over expressing their versions of this cross-cultural staple. See the bottom of this post for all the participants and their dishes. I have a love affair with noodles, so I was immediately interested, but also hesitant at the same time because Norway does not have a version of the noodle. In fact, the macaroni did not enter Norway until 1913. Nowadays, noodles are borrowed and usually kept within their respective countries framework.
However, the more I thought about it, the more I wanted to showcase just what a Norwegian noodle dish might look like. Because, after all, noodles are made with simple base ingredients. The same ingredients that are the building blocks for Norwegian breads, like lefse and flatbrød. So even though there has never been a distinctive Norwegian noodle, there is no reason there shouldn’t have been or should be one now.
I acutally tested two recipe ideas for a Norwegian pasta dish and loved both for different reasons. I will be sharing the second recipe next week as a ‘Part 2’ of my noodle-themed posts. For now, let me introduce you to the first, Juniper Berry & Barley Noodles with Creamy Chanterelles (Bygg og Einbær Nudler med Kantareller).
Norway might be an underdog when it comes to the culinary powerhouses of the world, yet it boasts some of the best ingredients, both in quality and exclusivity. This dish is merely an example of the elegance and rustic charm that exudes from Norwegian ingredients. It is a reflection of the mountain and farm landscape, which is only a part of the greater landscape which includes the lakes and the seas.
The reasoning behind this dish is quite simple and can be explained in each of the main ingredients.
One of the oldest grains in Norway, and possibly the oldest cultivated plant in the world. When one mentioned the word grain (korn) in Norway one would naturally assume barley, while in Germany one would assume rye and in England, wheat. It’s a proper Viking grain, used to make flatbreads, porridge and beer. Following the 19th century, it took a backseat and was more commonly used for animal feed and brewing beer. It is still the largest crop grown in Norway (about 500,000 tons annually). With its positive health effects, barley is being encouraged once again to be added back into the diet. It’s also very versatile and barley flour is a good alternative to non-wheat flours.
Juniper Berry (Einebær)
Juniper grows widely across Norway. The dried berries are used in stews, sauces, herring dishes and as a way to flavour liquor. The tree itself is deeply rooted into folklore, with some being considered sacred. The bark and berries were used in medicine and to protect against evil. It was also thought that by giving the berries to the lambs before they would graze freely in the summer would keep the foxes away.
Cream (fløte ) & Goat Cheese (geitost)
Norway takes great pride in its dairy products, ensuring quality and purity. The practice of summer farming is said to be as old as farming in Norway. In older times, cows produced two-thirds of their annual milk production during the summer farming period, which could then be turned into food products that could be stored and used during the long winter months. This was a vital process to the country of Norway because of the harsh winters. In the 1800s, there were close to 50,000 mountain farms in operation throughout Norway, with most farms having one or more seter (summer farm) with a part of the population of the villages spending the entire summer on the seter with the animals. Today, there are around 1,000 mountain farms in operation. In addition, 800 farms herded their animals to shared summer farms. This means that around 15-20,000 goats and 35-40,000 cows in Norway spend their summers happily grazing and being milked at the pastures.
Known as Skogens gull, or the forest’s gold. These brightly colored, golden mushrooms are a treasure to hunt for in the mossy landscape of Norway. Norway boasts a great number of edible mushrooms and foraging for them is one of life’s great excursions. Chanterelles are chewy and meaty with a fruity and earthy aroma.
Together, these ingredients make up a simple, yet distinguished and elegant (very) Norwegian noodle dish.
The homemade (and hand-cut) noodles are made with a mix of barley flour and white flour and crushed juniper berries. It gives great texture without being too hearty and the juniper berries add a lovely earthy flavor when you eat the pasta alone, and a very subtle undertone when served with the sauce. The cream and chanterelles add a touch of elegance. Topped off with some grated goat cheese and you have a rich and tasty dish which brings a touch of the Norwegian mountains and pasteurs to your plate.
Juniper Berry & Barley Noodles with Creamy Chanterelles
- 1 cup (140g) fine barley flour
- 1 cup (140g) flour (if using all purpose, then you will need to sift it first)
- 2 eggs
- 10 dried juniper berries, crushed
- 5 Tb water
- 3 handfuls of chanterelles
- 2 Tb butter
- 1 1/2 cups (3dl) heavy cream
In a bowl, blend the barley flour and white flour (tipo 00 is a good choice) with the crushed juniper berries, breaking up any large berry skins with your fingers. Pour out onto a clean surface. Make a well in the middle of the flour with your fingers and crack both eggs inside. Add 2 Tb of the water. With a fork, begin to whisk the eggs gradually adding a little flour from the sides of the well from time to time until it makes sense to stop using the fork and dive in with your hands. Add the remaining water as you go along if the dough is too dry (you might find you need more or less liquid depending on the size of your eggs, the humidity, etc.). Begin kneading the dough by hand until it is firm, but smooth and elastic. This is a tough job, but quite fun. It should take you about 10 minutes. Let the dough rest, covered with a cloth, for at least 30 minutes.
Divide the dough into 2 pieces. Flatten the first dough, just thin enough to fit through the first setting on a pasta machine. You will want to make your way through each setting a couple of times (folding the dough in half per setting) until you make your way to the third to last setting (#3 if using a 1-7 setting machine). You’ll notice the dough getting quite a bit longer as you proceed. And you will probably only need to put the pasta through one or two times on the final settings. Keep some flour on hand to lightly sprinkle across the dough if it begins to get a little sticky as you pass it through the machine. Repeat with the second piece of dough.
Cut each rolled-out dough in half. Sprinkle a little flour over each one. Take one section of dough at a time and begin to roll it from the shorter side over. You should end up with a 5/6 inch wide scroll. Take a sharp knife and cut 2/3 inch strands. Unravel each strand and repeat with the remaining dough. Cover. Place a large pot of water on the stove over high heat.
In a large frying pan, melt the butter over medium-high heat. Add the chanterelles and sauté until all the liquid they have released has evaporated. Add the cream and cook until slightly thickened, about 2 minutes. Season with salt.
The water should be boiling by now. Add a tablespoon of salt and toss in your homemade pasta. Cook until al dente, about 1 minute. Drain the pasta and toss it in the skillet with the chanterelles and cream. Gently mix to evenly coat the noodles with the sauce.
Serve immediately and sprinkle with grated goat’s cheese if you desire.
Join in the noodle celebration (#noodleholicsparty on Instagram) and check out what’s cooking around the globe with these participants:
Beyond Sweet & Savory – Pho ga (Vietnamese chicken noodle soup)
Box of Spice – Vegetarian Manchurian with Stir Fry Noodles
Cloudy Kitchen – Beef Ragu with Pappardelle
Pique Cooking – Indonesian Boiled Moodles (Mie Rebus)
Vermillion Roots – Malaysian Laksa with Pumpkin
Cuoco Contento – Chestnut Tortellini & Fettuccine in Sage Cream Sauce
Husbands that Cook – Vegetarian Tteokbokki
Up Close and Tasty –Shrimp Scampi with Tagliatelle
The Korean Vegan – Vegan Jjajangmyeon
Lindsays Feast – Duck Noodle Soup
Lyndsey Eden – Avocado pesto cream sauce with homemade fettuccine noodles
Twigg Studios – Homemade soba noodles in a lapsang souchong broth with crispy tofu
Passmethediumsum – Malaysian Laksa
Omnivores Cookbook – Shanghai Scallion Oil Noodle (Cong You Ban Mian)
Harvest and Honey – Oaked Smoked Pasta Cacio e Pepe
Lime and Cilantro –Noodle in Burmese coconut and chicpea broth (Oh- noe-khawswe)
What to Cook Today – Aceh noodles (Mie Aceh)
Noghlemey – Persian Noodle (Reshteh)
Sources : https://brodogkorn.no/fakta/bygg/