Ok… another Swedish recipe with a little bit of a twist! A Swedish twist, but still a twist. Let’s start with the two different parts of this recipe: (1) the roast beef and potato salad, and (2) the tunnbröd (Swedish flat bread).
Roast beef, potato salad, and horseradish together is a classic Swedish meal. We’d often have this as a quick dinner growing up using regular roast beef from the deli and pre-made potato salad. When I was walking in the store the other day, here in Sweden, I saw they had set out some deli-style roast beef, potato salad, and horseradish in the quick, semi-prepared meals section. So I think it’s safe to say that this is one of those go-to quick and easy dinners for most Swedish families.
But I wanted to be a bit different, so I decided to roll it up in a Swedish-style wrap called a tunnbrödsrulle! Typically (at least the way I’ve always eaten it) is with hot dogs. Here in Sweden they go BIG with their hot dogs…. usually served with mashed potatoes, shrimp salad, crunchy onions, and vegetables, all wrapped up in tunnbröd. Hence the term tunnbrödsrulle…. or thin bread roll-up… ok it sounds a bit silly translated.
Ok, now stay with me as I make a big stretch between this meal and this week’s blog topic… so tunnbröd kind of sounds like “tunnelbana” (the name for the subway system in Sweden). Ok, that’s it… that was my random connection to talking about the subway system in Stockholm…
I am making a stretch to connect it to the subway system, really just because I wanted to write about how much I LOVE living in a city with good public transportation! For the life of me, I can’t figure out why some cities in the US, like Seattle, haven’t figured out how wonderful it is. We live a little bit outside of the city, but because we live about a 5 minute walk to the nearest subway station, we never feel disconnected. We can leave our front door, get on a subway, and be in the city center in 20 minutes.
And all the subway stations are creatively decorated and its considered one of the longest art installations… throughout this post I’m going to share some pictures of some of my favorite stations :).
Ok, back to how much I love the subway system…
We never have to think about parking. We never have to argue over who’s going to be the designated driver (or paying for an uber and picking the car up later, which is always a hassle). You can get work done (or sleep or be on Facebook!) while you commute. We don’t pay car insurance, or car payments, or gas… just $80 per month (or $50 per month for me as a student!) to have unlimited rides on the subways, buses, commuter trains, and even a few ferries.
Now, to it’s credit, Seattle does have some public transportation… but it is not very user friendly. When I was visiting a year ago, I decided to take the bus from Seattle to Bellevue to visit a friend… about the same distance that we live right now from Stockholm’s city center (which remember takes me 20 minutes tops!). First of all, I had to get someone to drop me off at the bus stop in Seattle… there are not enough stops in the neighborhoods! Then, there were no direct buses to the area of Bellevue I wanted to go to… not a huge deal, it’s not always direct in Stockholm either. But when I got on the bus and paid with my coins, I asked for a transfer ticket, but was immediately told, “Sorry, I ran out,” and when asked what I should do and if I should tell the next driver that I paid on this bus, the reply was, “I don’t care, you can tell them whatever you want.” WHOA. I didn’t have enough coins to pay for the next bus, but I figured I’d just deal with the situation when I got there. Well, this first bus was late, causing me to miss the connection to my next bus. When I got to the connection point, I was hit was a lump in my stomach when I realized the next bus wasn’t leaving for 45 minutes or so. It start to rain, then pour. I had no phone, no internet, nothing. I was not close to any shops or cafes. I knocked on the door of a bus driver on his break and he hesitantly opened for me. I asked to use his phone, explaining my situation, and despite his skepticism, gave me his phone. I dialed my friend, got no answer, left a stressful message describing where I was and asking if she could pick me up and then had to walk away. Luckily I have the most amazing friend who got my message and picked me up 15 minutes later… major crisis averted!
But it was after this experience that I felt even more annoyed that Seattle has not got their public transportation down. I was so used to buses and subways running so smoothly in Sweden that I felt no stress about taking the bus in my old hometown, something I rarely did while living there… and for good reason, I now know! In Seattle, public transportation is seen as something you HAVE to use if you don’t have a car…. in Stockholm public transportation is seen as something you GET to use, as an asset. Everyone rides the subway here… old, young, rich, poor… and it allows people to live and work wherever they want, without having to worry as much about how they will commute. There are even commuter trains that go pretty far outside the city, even about an hour or so outside. They stop less often, but allow people to live outside the city and work inside the city. Even in smaller cities, you have some form of functioning public transportation.
It’s wonderful. Honestly, it makes it hard to imagine living anywhere that does not have this system.
And so hopefully now you can see why I HAD to make some connection to this week’s meal… no matter how thin :).
But I also want to spend some time raving about this meal! Chris and I decided we wanted to make the roast beef from scratch, to make it a bit more fun. He’s the meat expert, so he was a big part of making this. He did a wonderful job as it was so juicy and flavorful….
I also knew I wanted to make the potato salad from scratch! This blog recipe wouldn’t be very exciting if it said: (1) buy deli roast beef and potato salad; (2) put it in a tunnbrödsrulle; (3) eat. And plus, we like challenge!
The potato salad was pretty simple though… a sour cream base with most of the flavoring coming from the mustard and chives. I didn’t want the potato salad to overpower the other flavors in the roll, so I made it pretty simple.
Then there’s the horseradish, my favorite part! I love how spicy and tangy it is… especially when your mouth cools off with the potato salad. I bought a creamy version of the horseradish, but I think it would have been just fine with the normal spicy version. You can add as much or as little (or none) as you want!
And finally, the tunnbröd…. I know this will probably be hard to find in the states, but I think you could make a similar style wrap with just about any thin-bread…. even tortilla or pita would probably work! It is really just a vessel for all the deliciousness inside :).
So there you have it! Two (or three?) things I love about Sweden: The subway system, roast beef with potato salad, and tunnbrödsrulle. Hope you are able to make this at home and get to enjoy a little piece of Sweden!
Roastbeef, Potato Salad, and Horseradish Tunnbrödsrulle
- Roast Beef:
- 2.5 pound boneless prime rib / 1.1 kg högrev
- Salt and Pepper Potato Salad:
- 10 cups cut potatoes / 24 dl potatis
- ⅓ cup mayonnaise / 0.8 dl majonnäs
- 1¼ cup sour cream / 3 dl gräddfil
- 2 teaspoons mustard / senap
- Salt and pepper
- Chives / gräslök For the Roll:
- Tunnbrödsrulle (or other flat bread)
- horseradish / pepparrot
- lettuce / sallad
- Pre-heat oven to 375°F / 190°C.
- Rub the beef with salt and pepper and place in a foil-lined pan.
- Bake the roast in the oven for about 45 min to an hour (or 20 minutes per pound).
- While roast is cooking, chop the potatoes into 1 inch chunks and boil for 15 – 20 minutes.
- Drain the potatoes and run under cold water to stop them from cooking.
- Mix together the mayonnaise, sour cream, and mustard in a small bowl.
- Add potatoes and dressing together in a large bowl and stir until the potatoes are coated evenly.
- Add salt and pepper and stir again.
- Cover the potato salad with plastic wrap and chill in the fridge.
- When the roast is finished, let it cool on the counter, then place in the fridge for at least an hour.
- When all components are chilled, slice the roast beef into thing slices (cutting against the grain).
- Add chopped chives to the top of the potato salad.
- Start with spreading horseradish to one side of the flat bread, then layering with lettuce, beef, and potato salad.
- Roll up, repeat, and enjoy!