A revbensspjäll winter medley.
Text & Photo © CM Cordeiro & JE Nilsson 2020
Jultide along the Swedish west coast city of Gothenburg is characterized by long winter nights, the warm glow of street lamps over cobbled stone streets and its markets.
From about the second week into December every year, the city comes alive with julbord events or Christmas table sittings. The julbord or Christmas smörgåsbord is something to experience because it contains quintessential Swedish traditional foods that you can try in one sitting. From various flavours of preserved herring, warm prinskorvar snipped at each end to resemble tiny pig trotters, Swedish meatballs served with lingonberry jam, lutfisk served with green peas, winter spices and a copious amount of melted butter, to Ris à la Malta with the hope of finding that one almond in the entire pot for dessert, the julbord is a feast for the palate and a culinary narrative in itself. And yes, I wouldn´t forget, the neat display of double chocolate fudges at the dessert table.
While I remain uncertain about how many Christmas markets will open this year in Sweden, and how many restaurants will choose to hold Christmas table sittings or julbord events, I think we can generally keep buoyant, the Christmas spirit by visiting the everyday market or Saluhallen in Gothenburg, and planning a julbord at home. Saluhallen Gothenburg is still where most would go, to do any kind of year-round food shopping.
In the video attached to this blogpost, is a medley of photos from Saluhallen Gothenburg, and the preparing of revbensspjäll or spareribs, Swedish style. While there are many producers and butcher counters from which to buy fresh produce, some offer quite interesting alternatives such as wild game and meat pãté from wild boar, hare and pheasant, in addition to the Scandinavian traditional reindeer and moose products. So at this year´s julbord, why not try something more Scandinavian exotic?
The Swedish style revbensspjäll or spareribs has several variations in recipe to be found on the Internet. The ribs are usually sweetened by grilling with onion, plums or in this version, with slices of apple. Whole apples are also baked alongside ribs in some recipes. To get the ribs pull fork tender, they are simmered in a pot, prior to a last step of top grilling and glazing before serving at the Christmas table. While revbensspjäll is not absolutely reserved for the Swedish julbord, it is one of those dishes that you can delight in when come jultide at home, or in a restaurant.