How did we ever come across this dish? My younger daughter’s bestfriend, Iya, has moved to Finland and she’s having a ball discovering a new cuisine. What she enjoys, she passes on to my daughter. Laskisooki is one dish she couldn’t stop raving about. My daughter, Alex, Googled the dish, found some recipes, but had to do a lot of tweaking to create one that we liked.
Traditionally, the way to cook laskisoosi is to heat pork belly until fat is rendered. The pork is scooped out, flour is added to the fat to make a roux, chopped onions are thrown in and they cook together until a brownish mixture is formed. The pork is added back, water is poured in and the pork cooks until tender and the cooking liquid has thickened into a gravy.
But that, of course, is not a cooking procedure set in stone. When the pork is not fatty enough and renders an insufficient amount of fat, either lard or butter is added to make the roux.
When Alex cooked laskisoosi, she was already aware that the pork wouldn’t render enough fat to make a roux. So, she melted butter in a wide pan, threw in the pork and let the pieces of meat brown in the butter while, at the same time, rendering fat.
Why not use lard instead of butter for a more traditional flavor? We’ve made lard several times at home (mainly for making empanadas) and we know that lard has an almost neutral flavor and aroma. Butter, on the other hand, is rich, tasty and aromatic. So, butter was the better choice.
When the pork was scooped out, there was still very little fat left to made a roux. More butter was melted, flour was stirred in and the process of scraping the browned bits stuck to the pan began. It is important to get those browned bits mixed in because that’s flavor!
Chopped onion was added and cooked until softened. As the onion emitted its water content, it became easier to scrape more of the browned bits and coax them to become part of the roux.
The pork went back into the pan and broth was drizzled in while stirring continuously. When the broth had been integrated into the roux, the mixture was allowed to reach boiling point before the heat was turned to low. The pan was covered and the pork was left to cook slowly. By the time the meat was tender, the liquid had reduced and thickened to the consistency of gravy.
Full recipe below
- 1 kilogram pork belly - cut into small pieces
- 2 tablespoons rock salt - or 1 tablespoon refined salt
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- ¼ cup butter - divided
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 cup chopped onion
- 3 to 4 cups vegetable broth - or chicken broth
- salt - only if the vegetable broth us unseasoned
- mashed potatoes
Season and marinate the pork
- Place the pork in a bowl, and add the salt and pepper.
- Mix well, working the salt and pepper into the meat.
- Cover the bowl and leave the pork to marinate in the fridge overnight.
Cook the stew
- Melt half of the butter in a wide thick-bottomed pan.
- Spread the pork in the butter and cook without disturbing for a few minutes.
- Stir the pork and continue cooking, stirring once in a while, until lightly browned.
- Scoop out the pork and transfer to a bowl.
- Melt the remaining butter in the pan.
- Add the flour and stir to make a roux. Cook, stirring and scraping the sides and bottom of the pan, until the butter and flour have come together.
- Add the chopped onion and cook, stirring often, until softened and the edges are starting to brown (or cook the roux to a deep brown color for a darker laskisoosi).
- Dump in the browned pork and stir.
- Pour two cups of broth in a thin stream, stirring as you pour.
- Bring to the boil, set the heat to LOW, cover the pan and cook the pork until tender. Stir, scrape and check the liquid once in a while. Add more broth (and salt, if needed) if the mixture dries out before the pork is done.
- When the meat is fork tender, uncover the pan, turn up the heat to medium and leave to boil gently to reduce the liquid to the consistency of gravy.
Serve your laskisoosi
- Scoop the laskisoosi into shallow bowls.
- Place mashed potato and pickles on the side.