When I was a new bride, I went through a period of rapid family recipe acquisition. I was determined to be a real cook. By real cook, I mean one that followed trusted recipes, and delighted others with her meals. Until that point in my life, I just kind of “winged it” throwing stuff together and hoping it turned out. Sometimes I succeeded. Other times the outcome was a little scary. Bless Hubby’s heart, now matter the result of my early cooking efforts, he never once complained. (He still doesn’t.)
But there had to be a better way. I was doing it all backward. Before I could effectively rely on my instincts to cook, I needed to learn how to cook with a recipe. I decided to learn how to cook my favorite family recipes, which naturally brought me to my Grandmother’s kitchen. Grandma cooked some of my most favorite meals, and I was determined to learn to make them.
We talked for hours over tea and cookies. I hung onto her every word, all the while I diligently scribbled her recipes onto index cards. I
thought I was very thorough. However, when Grandma mailed the recipe cards to me–I had a habit of leaving things at her house–her corrections jumped out at me.
So much for hanging onto her every word.
Banke Kod (pronounced bunk-ke-kurr) was my favorite dish that Grandma cooked. The traditional Danish meal consisted of thin slices of lightly seasoned beef, slow roasted in au jus until it falls apart, and served over mashed potatoes. It’s super simple, with few ingredients, and easy to make. Consequently, Banke Kod was the first of Grandma’s recipes that I attempted. I served it up to Hubby with a huge grin of anticipation on my face. I wanted him to love it as much as I did.
It was abysmal.
I sliced the meat too thick, I forgot to add the beef broth, and I cooked it for 3 hours on high heat rather than 8 hours on low heat. The result was a dry, chewy mess that closely resembled beef jerky. Only not as tasty. Blech!
Lucky for us, I was tenacious and tried again a few days later. That time, I followed the recipe to the letter. That was the whole point of this journey, after all.
The second attempt was perfect. Hooray!
Banke kod started as my family’s favorite, but quickly became our family’s favorite. Hubby requests it almost as much as meatloaf.
Start with a 3-4 pound eye of round roast. Now the preparation of the beef takes a little time, but only because the beef has to be mostly frozen in order to get ultra-thin slices. I usually pop the roast into the freezer for two or three hours before slicing.
Use a large bread knife to thinly slice the semi-frozen beef into very thin slices–between 1/8th and 1/16th of a inch thick. The serrated edge will help cut through the frozen meat.
Once all of the beef has been sliced, put it into a gallon sized storage bag and pop it in the refrigerator overnight, so that the meat can thaw.
The next day, drizzle a teaspoon of olive oil in a large skillet (or spray with with cooking spray) and heat it over medium-high heat. Once the pan is nice and hot, add several slices of beef to the pan. Make sure the slices have a little wiggle room–we don’t want them to feel crowded, so work in batches.
Sprinkle on a little kosher salt and black pepper. Sear the beef for about 30 seconds, or until the beef is browned on one side. Flip it over, and sear for an additional 20 seconds to brown the other side.
Place the seared beef into the crock of a slow cooker, then brown the remaining beef.
With all that browning going on, the pan will look like an epic disaster when you are done. No worries. There is a lot of flavor in that crusty brown stuff.
Pour some beef broth into the pan, and heat it over medium heat until it begins to steam. The broth will deglaze the pan, which means it will loosen all of the stuff that is adhered to the bottom of the pan.
Scrape the bottom of the pan with a spatula to loosen all of that brown goodness, and pour the mixture over the seared beef in the crock. Toss in a couple of dried bay leaves before placing the cover on the crock, and putting it in the slow cooker. Cook on the low heat setting for 7 to 8 hours.
The Banke Kod will easily break apart with a fork when it is done.
Serve Banke Kod over mashed potatoes, egg noodles, or spaetzle. Don’t be shy with that au jus, either! Ladel that juicy goodness all over the place!
(pronounced bun-ke-kur) Danish Roast Beef
4 lb. eye of round beef roast
1 Tbs. olive oil or cooking spray
16 oz. beef broth
Salt and pepper to taste
2 dried bay leaves
- Freeze eye of round roast until not quite frozen. (About 2 hours.)
- Using a large bread knife, thinly slice the nearly frozen beef into very thin slices. (about 1/8th to 1/16th of an inch thick.)
- Place slices in a gallon sized plastic zippered bag and store in the refrigerator until beef has thawed. (OR freeze for later use.)
- Once thawed, spray a large skillet with cooking spray, or 1 Tbs. olive oil, and heat it over high heat until very hot.
- Working in batches: place slices of beef in a single layer in the hot pan, being careful not to crowd the pan. Sprinkle a pinch of salt and pepper over the beef. Sear for 30 seconds, or until browned on one side.
- Flip the slices over and sear the other side for an additional 20 seconds, or until browned. Once browned on both sides, move slices to the crock of a slow cooker.
- Repeat the process until all of the meat has been seared and seasoned.
- Reduce the heat to medium.
- Pour the beef broth into the skillet, and heat until steaming.
- Once the broth is hot, deglaze the pan by scraping the browned bits loose from the bottom of the pan.
- Turn off heat, and pour the broth and bits over the seared beef in the crock.
- Cover and cook on the low setting of the slow cooker for 7-8 hours. Beef should break apart easily with a fork, when done.
- Serve ladled over mashed potatoes, egg noodles, or spaetzle.
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