Danish style pork rib roast – Ribbensteg (rifjasteik)

You may ask why I am publishing a recipe for Danish food when this is an Icelandic recipe blog? Well, this is something that has become an inseparable part of Christmas in my family, ever since I returned from a six month stay in Denmark and offered to cook rib-roast on Boxing Day. I have done it every year since then, and I know other Icelandic families serve rib-roast for Christmas, New Year’s or Easter. This is my variation of the recipe:

Recipe (serves 4)
1 kg pork rib-roast, with skin and fat and with or without bones. I don’t know if this cut is available in the USA, but from having looked at American posters of pork cuts I don’t think so. This is what it looks like:

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2 bay leaves
Whole cloves

Take the roast and make cuts into the skin and fat almost down to the meat, with about a finger width between the cuts. Make either strips or diamond-shaped pieces (see images below). Do not cut into meat.

Heat the oven to 250°C. Boil some water, put the roast into an oven pan skin side down and pour boiling water into the pan to cover the skin and fat up to the line of meat. Bake in the oven for about 20-30 minutes. Remove the roast from the oven and lower the temperature to 170°C. Turn the roast around, sprinkle with salt and ground pepper, and put cloves and little pieces of 1 bay leaf here and there into the cuts.

Parboiled roast with spices, skin cut into strips:

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Add a bit of salt, pepper and cloves and one bay leaf to the cooking liquid. Return to the oven and roast for 1 1/2 hours. Replenish the water whenever it begins to boil down. Remove from the oven, pour the water into a saucepan (through a sieve) and return roast to the oven while you make the sauce.
If the skin is not bubbly and crackling by the time the sauce is ready, turn on the grill for a short while until the skin bubbles, but be careful not to burn it.

The same roast as above, ready to serve (only needs to remove cloves and bay leaf). As you can see, not all of the skin bubbled up:

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Gravy: This is all in approximates, as I never measure for the sauce.
Cooking liquid from roast
Sauce colouring
Extra spices (if needed)

Make a thick paste from flour and water. Bring cooking liquid to boil in a saucepan and slowly add the paste, stirring all the time. When you feel the gravy begin to thicken, stop adding paste. Bring to the boil again and cook for a couple of minutes to remove raw flour taste. Test for taste and thickness and thin with water and add spices as needed. Add a little cream, add as much sauce colouring as needed to give the gravy a nice brown colour and remove saucepan from heat when the gravy starts to boil.

Remove the roast from the oven and allow to cool for about 15 minutes. While it cools, remove the cloves and pieces of bay leaf.
Serve with gravy, potatoes (plain or caramelised), green peas, redcurrant jelly, pickled red cabbage and cooked vegetables or a fresh salad.

Roast with skin cut into diamond shapes:

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Anonymous said…
The roast you are describing is called "FLÆSKESTEG" in Danish, and if you copy the photo of the uncooked roast and take it to an upscale butcher shop they will most likely optain the required cut.

Maggie said…
My daughter cooked this for Christmas 2010 in Cambridge; it was delicious. She has just sent me the link so I can cook it sometime too.
Pawel said…
Well... It's looks delicious. I'll try this roast during this Christmas. I moved to Iceland half year ago and I want to serve, beside my traditional food, Icelandic one also and this blog is a real treasure. Thank you.
Bibliophile said…
Thank you Pawel. Good luck with your Christmas cooking.

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