It’s Thanksgiving week with is a HUGE time for food bloggers, and while I could be using it to push a turkey recipe, I’m pumping out yet another #GentGoesGlobal post to freshen up your festive spread with something different. Last time we went to Estonia, and we’re not headed very far today – we’re visiting Finland, and making porkkanalaatikko.
Contrary to what the name might make you believe, porkkanalaatikko has nothing to do with pork. No meat at all. Rather, it’s a bit like an American sweet potato casserole, with carrots subbed in for the sweet potatoes. Sweet, orange, and seasoned with festive spices, this dish absolutely fits into any American Thanksgiving spread. It makes sense – this is popularly eaten for Christmas in Finland!
Like with my Estonian leviasupp, I stumbled upon this recipe by casting a wide Google net for Finnish recipes. When I found out it was a holiday dish, I wanted to make sure it was up on the blog in time to add something different to your holiday meal plan. After looking at the recipe, the similarities to sweet potato casserole jumped out – brown sugar, warm spices, and a crisp topping that adds texture to every bite (though I’m a marshmallows-on-top person when it comes to sweet potato casserole, fight me). The breadcrumbs I used for the topping on this came from the crusts of the bread used to thicken the leviasupp. I promise Estonia and Finland are their own unique and wonderful countries, but I love all of the overlap that I’ve been finding when researching their cuisines!
Unfortunately I found it difficult to find anything on the history of the dish. What I did find was a glossary of Finnish dishes which, like the cookbook I used in my Estonian research, just served to whet my appetite for a cuisine that I don’t eat in my everyday life. Though my initial goal for this post series is to make one dish for every country in the world, there’s no reason why I have to stop at one. Reading this list encourages me to keep learning about Finnish food. I mean how delicious does the Aland pancake sound?? Who knows, I might feature something else from the list on the blog before long!
I used this recipe as a jumping off point but halved it to make it fit in an 8×8 square pan, since we’re all keeping our holidays small this year, right? Hopefully by next year we can be with loved ones again; if you’re reading this in a blessed year that is not 2020, feel free to double it to fill a 9×13 pan and feed the lovely people you’re surrounding yourself with. For my fellow passengers on the 2020 Hellscape Express, shovel this in your face while watching The Crown from start to finish and keeping a tally of historical inaccuracies. You’ve earned the right.
Here’s to good drinking, great eating, and even better living!
- 1 cup white rice
- 1 lb baby carrots
- 1 cup milk
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 egg
- 1/2 Tbsp brown sugar
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp nutmeg
- 3 Tbsp butter
- 1/3 cup bread crumbs or crushed crackers (I used rye, but any work)
- Make the rice using your preferred method (I used a rice cooker so I could multitask) and set aside. Preheat your oven to 375°F.
- Soften your carrots by either roasting or boiling. I 100% recommend roasting because it keeps more nutrients than boiling, but either method works. No matter how you softened them, when they are done let them cool momentarily before pureeing in a food processor.
- Add the carrot puree, milk, salt, egg, brown sugar, and spices into a bowl and whisk together. Add the rice and stir in. Pour the mixture into an 8×8 pan. Melt the butter in a small saucepan and stir in the breadcrumbs to coat. Cover the top of the casserole with the breadcrumbs.
- Bake for 35-40 minutes, until the top is golden brown (if using rye breadcrumbs like I did, check earlier for doneness as the dark color of rye won't give you any visual cues). This casserole isn't meant to be overly dry or overly wet – really you just want to make sure the egg is fully cooked and the casserole is heated through. Serve warm alongside your favorite holiday dishes and enjoy!