Food and Agriculture Minister Dan Jørgensen launched an initiative in September to find Denmark’s national dish. After more than 63,000 votes, the clear winner among 24 initial candidates was stegt flæsk med persillesovs og kartofler, thick fried slices of pork served with boiled potatoes and parsley sauce.
Just under 28,000 Danes expressed their love for stegt flæsk, earning it 44 percent of the vote and the right to be called Denmark’s national dish.
“The declaration of Denmark’s national dish initiated a debate on Danish produce and our common food culture. The national dish topped the agenda at workplace canteens, around Danes’ dinner table and in the media,” Jørgensen said in a press release.
Traditional Danish open-faced sandwiches, smørrebrød, received the second highest number of votes, with 17,041.
The national dish competition was the culmination of Jørgensen’s ‘food revolution’, an effort to get Danes to focus on eating healthier and more local foods.
“Danish and New Nordic Cuisine have become known the world over. But here at home in our own kitchens, we often forget our culinary roots. The national dish has helped us to rediscover and develop our food traditions,” Jørgensen said.
All hail Denmark's national dish. Photo: Jens Morten/Scanpix
So, want to eat like a Dane? Here is an English-language recipe for stegt flæsk from Mikkel Gadegaard, the co-founder of recipe site Pabular:
600 g pork belly in slices
1 kg potatoes
3 tbsp wheat flour
5dl milk (approximately)
2 handfulls chopped parsley
Peel the potatoes unless you prefer your potatoes with skin. Put them in a pot and cover them with water, add salt and put on stove. They need to boil 15-20 minutes.
Meanwhile you should prepare the pork. Dry the slices (they should have a thickness of 5mm) and season them with salt and pepper. Then fry them for one minute on each side on moderate heat, lower the heat and keep turning the slices until they are golden and crispy. Put them on a piece of paper when they are done to drain a bit of fat. Keep them hot in your oven while you prepare the parsley sauce.
Melt the butter in a pot. Once it is melted, add the flour and stir until the butter and flour is a coherent mass. It shouldn't take long and make sure that it doesn't burn so and turn brown. This should be a white sauce, with sprinkles of green. Add a little bit of milk and stir. When the milk is mixed in and has reached the boiling point stir for a few seconds and then repeat. Add milk stir, boil, stir. Repeat until the sauce has a consistency that you like.
Add the parsley and season to taste with salt and pepper.
Prep time: 15 minutes. Cooking time: 30 minutes. Serves 4.
And just how much do the Danes love stegt flæsk? Enough that Danish duo Jimi & René had a breakthrough hit in 1988 with an ode to the dish: