Anyone looking to bone up on their Northern European fare would be well-advised to check out The Nordic Cook Book. Written by celebrity chef Magnus Nilsson and published through Phaidon, it does for Scandinavian cooking what Stephanie Alexander did for contemporary Australian. (I.e. it covers virtually every dish of its variety under the sun.)
To celebrate the release of the book (and Nilsson’s current Aussie tour – see below for details), we’ve reproduced Nilsson’s recipe for Swedish taco quiche, a dish that deftly blends the current taco craze with the upcoming Nordic one. It’s delicious, easy to make, and perfect for anyone who can’t decide between Mexican and Swedish food. Because as a wise, tiny child once asked, "Why don't we have both?"
The concept of the taco has been established in Scandinavia for about as long as I have lived. During that time people have found several ways of merging the fake Tex-Mex industrial products sold to them with beloved local classics. One of those is the taco quiche, or as it is locally known, tacopaj. I imagine the reasoning behind it began something like this: we like pie, and we like pie with minced meat, so why not season it with premixed taco seasoning and serve it with some salsa and tortilla chips?
Preparation and cooking time: 1 hour
For the pastry
50 g/2 oz (3½ tablespoons) butter, soft
200 g/7 oz (1¾ cups) weak (soft) wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 good pinch salt
100 ml/3½ fl oz (⅓ cup plus 1 tablespoon) milk
For the meat
500 g minced meat. Beef is an obvious choice, although I have also seen
recipes using moose
Taco spice mix. Follow the packet instructions and add enough for 500 g of meat
1 tablespoon butter, for frying
For the topping
300 ml (1¼ cups) crème fraîche
100 g (¾ cup) grated cheese
2 tablespoons industrial mayonnaise
Preheat the oven to 175°C/345°F/Gas Mark 4.
Add all of the ingredients for the pastry, except the milk, to the bowl of a food processor. Mix for a couple of seconds until everything is almost mixed together, then add the milk and mix a bit more until just combined.
Transfer the dough toa 24 cm spring form mould and press it out in an even but rather thick layer, almost all the way up to the edge of the mould.
Refrigerate for a bit.
Meanwhile, brown the minced meat in a pan over a medium heat.
When cooked through and nicely coloured, add the seasoning and some water. (For the amount, follow the instructions on the back of your particular spice bag.)
Let it simmer for a couple of minutes until the water has almost reduced into the meat again.
As the meat is cooking, mix all of the ingredients for the topping together in a separate bowl. (Do not use homemade mayonnaise, as this recipe needs all the stabilizer in the processed one. Without it the topping will separate in the oven.)
Transfer the cooked meat to the uncooked pastry shell and spread it out in an even layer. Continue by spreading a layer of topping over the meat.
Place the pie in the oven for 35–45 minutes or until golden and crisp around the edges.
Let it sit for a bit and cool before serving.
The Nordic Cook Book is out now through Phaidon.
Magnus Nilsson is touring Australia in November, with multiple dates in Melbourne, Sydney. Check Phaidon’s site for details.