Danish cooking: Sweet potato “biksemad”
As you know, I like to post the occasional recipe here on The Copenhagen Tales, and I also like to try my hand at classic, traditional Danish recipes. I’ve given you my version of spiced-up frikadeller, and boozed up another staple of Danish cuisine, rabarbergrød, last summer. Now, with this cold and dreary winter weather upon us, don’t we all need some real comfort food? I know I do!
What I have for you today is a freshened-up version of something your Danish grandma would have cooked for you as a child, if you had a Danish grandma: biksemad! It was invented as a way to use leftover ingredients like pork and potatoes, and its origin is believed to be in sailor cuisines, but today, it’s a classic Danish dish that you can even get frozen and pre-made (although I wouldn’t recommend that, you can make a much better version of it at home!). Basically, it’s a sort of hash, with cubes of potato, bacon, onions, and pork, served with a sunny side up egg on top. Sometimes it comes with a slice of bread, and people love to put HP sauce, ketchup, or even béarnaise on their biksemad.
Seeing as it’s the cold season and I’m a huge fan of sweet potatoes, I decided to replace the classic white potatoes in the original recipe. I’ve also added some red bell peppers for a bit of extra color and healthiness! This is a great dinner for two on a rainy day, or for your next brunch – then it’ll easily serve four.
Sweet potato “biksemad”
(serves 2-4, depending on portion size)
450g sweet potatoes
2 red bell peppers
150g bacon or pancetta, cubed
1 medium red onion
1 cup of leftover cooked meat, if available and desired
salt, pepper, paprika, chili powder to taste
Peel the sweet potatoes and cut them into small cubes (ca. 1cm/ half an inch). Wash and core the peppers and cut them into small cubes as well. Chop the onion into cubes – they don’t have to be super small. In an oven-proof frying pan, heat the bacon cubes over high heat and fry until crispy. Transfer them out of the pan onto a sheet of kitchen paper and set aside. Preheat your oven to 200 degrees Celsius. If there isn’t enough grease from the bacon left in the pan, add some more cooking oil or butter and add the onions. Cook over medium heat until translucent, or about 2 minutes. Then add the sweet potatoes and pepper and stir continuously. Add some salt, pepper, paprika, and chili powder to your liking. Cook until sweet potatoes begin to soften, or about 5-8 minutes. Stir in the bacon/ pancetta as well as any leftover meat you might want to add. Make four little wells in the pan and gently crack the eggs into them – make sure the yolk stays intact. Place the pan in the oven and bake for 8-12 minutes, depending on how cooked you want the eggs to be. I recommend to check frequently! Serve immediately with whatever condiments you’d like!
If you bake the whole thing for about 8 minutes, you’ll get deliciously runny egg yolks – and who doesn’t like a bit of #yolkporn?!
For those who like to spice it up a little bit, top your biksemad off with some Sriracha hot sauce – I also tried the chipotle tabasco sauce my sisters gave me for Christmas, and the smokey, spicy aromas worked amazingly.
So why don’t you give this easy recipe a try for your next dinner, or maybe even for brunch? If you like sweet potatoes, I’m sure this will be right up your alley!
This recipe was inspired both by the classic Danish “biksemad” as well as this recipe for a sweet potato breakfast skillet.