Food Blog | Expressing your gratitude to your hosts

As a general rule, it’s wise to bring a little gift to the host/hostess of a party, as a way of expressing your gratitude. The most common gifts include flowers or chocolates, or maybe even a bottle of wine. But it wasn’t until recently I had ever received such a unique gift from my guests: a large piece of salted and boiled meat called rullepølse.

Our guests had driven from their home in Jutland complete with a few choice chunks of their neighbour’s locally-acclaimed homemade rullepølse.

Rullepølse, usually made from pork breast, is rolled jelly-roll style until it resembles a large sausage, similar to Italian pancetta, and thus giving it the name which literally translated is ‘rolled sausage’.

In Denmark, rullepølse is eaten as a cold cut, served sliced thinly on rye bread. Smørrebrød queen Ida Davidsen features hers at her restaurant, with the addition of pickles, horseradish and tomato to create the trademark dish ‘Per Henriksen’.

We opted for the less embellished route of buttered rye bread and raw red onion. And just one bite made us instantly understand how someone could become known for their infamous rullepølse – it was leaps and bounds from the prepackaged, preserved slices of leather one finds at the supermarket.

Just yesterday, I decided to make my very first rullepølse. And with a bit of luck, I’m hoping it will taste half as good as the one we were given by our friends.

Danish Rullepølse

2 kg veal breast
5 tbsp coarse salt
8 bay leaves
10 black peppercorns
1 tbsp dried thyme
1 bunch flat leaved parsley, leaves only

  • Place the veal breast flat on cutting board. (It’s worth noting at this point that I work as a kitchen chef on a daily basis, making food for many, some of which don’t eat pork, thus my decision to utilise veal instead of pork. However, pork breast – svineslag in Danish – can easily be used instead.)

  • With long chef’s knife, butterfly the breast horizontally, so as to make it half as thin and twice its length.

  • Place salt, four bay leaves, peppercorns and thyme in coffee grinder and blend to fine sand consistency.

  • Season meat completely with salt. Place in bowl, cover with plastic wrap and place in refrigerator for one to two days.

  • To cook rullepølse, chop parsley finely. Place meat on cutting board, put a strip of parsley down middle of meat, longwise, and roll meat up tightly like a jelly roll.

  • Bring five litres of lightly salted water to a simmer. Add remaining four bay leaves. Use butcher’s twine to secure meat, and add to hot water. Simmer two hours.

  • Remove meat from water and set in dish with heavy, flat weight on top, for example a cutting board topped with a heavy pot.

  • Allow the meat to cool completely, remove from press, remove twine and slice thinly.

Bon appetit!