" everybody says that Jeppe drinks, but nobody asks why Jeppe drinks "
This is the most famous line from the 1722 play by Ludvig Holberg called "Jeppe På Bjerget"
it's about an alcoholic farmer and the mess he makes of his life. It's a comedy.
Every New Year's Eve Danish families will get together and sing special songs based on Jeppe På Bjerget. The words are quite difficult and if someone messes them up they become "Jeppe" for the evening and they have to wear a special hat that has been passed down in the family for generations. Snaps are served and finally the evenings dish Jeppes Kål is served. The family hold hands and do a counter-clockwise dance around the table while reciting the "Hilsen Til Jeppe's Kål" a poem which translates something like this:
Happy are our hearts this night
hop round the olden chair
feast we now cabbage and meat
the Dansk sol skinner over Jeppes bjerg
|Photo of Jeppes Kål from the Danish national cookbook|
The recipe for Jeppes Kål is something every housewife knows by heart. I used the recipe out of the standard Danish chef textbook Kokke Bogen. Jeppe's Kål is basically a giant family size cabbage roll surrounded by medister sausage and topped with super delicious poutine like gravy. Boiled potatos and beets are served on the side. A special knife is used to slice and serve the dish at the table. Hidden somewhere inside the dish is small piece of red LEGO. Whoever finds it gets a special prize. Usually a type of very salty liquorice.
First you need to cook cabbage leaves whole like for cabbage rolls. Next a mixture of ground pork, chopped roast pork (usually leftover from Christmas dinner), sauteed chopped parsnip, carrot, leek, and spices are formed in a farse and wrapped in the leaves. The entire thing is braised for a few hours and the juices are turned into the gravy. Medister pork sausages are fried and placed around the stuffed cabbage.
Here is the recipe from the cookbook
This is the spice blend #3 the recipe is referring to
The recipe calls for 50g of Snowflake which is a modified cornstarch. I think regular cornstarch will work just as well
I hope you make this delicious Danish dish a part of your New Year's tradition.