Tjuendedagen is the 20th day of Christmas on the Primstav (Nordic Runic calendar) or 13 January. It is marked by the symbol of the "sopelime", the broomstick and it's time now to chase out Christmas and even dance it out in some places in Norway.
With it reminding us that Christmas is finally over, tjuendedagen is a great example of one of the primstav days that we still recognise today as it was recognised hundreds of years ago.
Apart from chasing away Christmas, there are many traditions associated with this day and they vary greatly from one region of Norway to the other. My favourite is from Østerdalen, where it was customary to eat rømmegrøt on Tjuendedagen. Rømmegrøt is a rich sour cream porridge and is a very popular and traditional Norwegian food and a favourite for special days. It is usually eaten sprinkled with sugar and cinnamon and the melted fat (like butter) that is saved from the making of the rømmegrøt, accompanied by "fenalår" , cured leg of lamb, that is served much like prosciutto.
On Tjuendedagen rømmegrøt is eaten at the hour of "dugurd", the time between breakfast and lunch (usually about 10am). It's certainly a snack to satisfy any hunger and is perfect for cold winter days when a few extra calories won't go amiss.
Rømmegrøt (Sour Cream Porridge) Serves 5 people with good appetites
1500ml 50 fl oz double or heavy cream
300ml / 10 fl oz sour cream (35% fat is ideal)
250g / 9 oz all purpose flour
Approximately 400ml / 13.5 fl oz milk
For serving (a combination of the following):
Salami and cured meats
Put the cream and sour cream into a heavy bottomed pan and gently bring to boiling point. Stir from time to time and keep an eye on it so it doesn't boil over! Once it's boiling, turn the heat down to low and simmer for 15 minutes.
Remove from the heat and add the flour, stirring quickly and continuously to blend it in. Return to the heat and bring back up to the boil to thicken it and cook out the flour. Stir all the time. It'll get quite thick. Once it's thick allow it to continue cooking on a really low heat for the fat to come to the surface. The fat will look like melted butter and you need to skim this off with a spoon. Be patient, because it might take a few minutes, but it's worth it. Keep it in a bowl or small pan because you will need it to serve with the rømmegrøt later.
Once you have skimmed off as much fat as possible, gradually add the warmed milk until you have a consistency that appeals to you. I like it a little runnier, but you may prefer a thicker porridge.
Serve hot with some of the melted fat drizzled over, a sprinkling of sugar and ground cinnamon.
Rømmegrøt is traditionally eaten with "spekemat", salamis and cured meats, but you might like to try it with raisins on the top, or berries or even a spoonful of jam.
If you don't manage to eat it all at once you can store it in an airtight container in the fridge. Reheat as much as you want at a time, thinned down with a little milk.
Rømmegrøt can even be frozen with great success.
Vær så god!
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