What Is Danish Roast Beef? A Full Guide

Are you a fan of hearty, comforting meals that are easy to make? Look no further than Danish roast beef!

This traditional Danish dish is a simple yet delicious combination of thinly sliced beef, slow-roasted in au jus until it falls apart, and served over creamy mashed potatoes.

With only a few ingredients, it’s a perfect meal for busy weeknights or lazy weekends. But what makes Danish roast beef unique?

In this article, we’ll explore the history and preparation of this classic dish, as well as some tips for making it at home. So grab a fork and let’s dig in!

What Is Danish Roast Beef?

Danish roast beef, also known as “banke kod” in Danish, is a traditional dish that has been enjoyed by generations of Danes. It consists of thinly sliced beef that is lightly seasoned and slow-roasted in au jus until it becomes tender and falls apart.

The dish is typically served over creamy mashed potatoes, making it a hearty and comforting meal that is perfect for colder months. Despite its simplicity, Danish roast beef is a beloved dish in Denmark and has become a staple in many households.

The History Of Danish Roast Beef

The tradition of roast beef in Denmark dates back to the Medieval Ages, where pork was the celebratory meat of choice. However, as stoves became more commonplace in Danish households, roast beef began to gain popularity as a special occasion dish.

During the fall months, pigs were fattened in the woodlands and slaughtered in November. By December 24th, the pork roast hadn’t been in the brine for too long and was a delicious treat. However, with the convenience of freezers, pork roast became an all-year occurrence and was served every day of the year by any self-respecting smørrebrødsbutik (open-faced sandwich shop).

As for beef, it wasn’t until the early 1800s that it began to gain popularity in Denmark. Roast beef was mostly used in open sandwiches called “smørrebrød,” which are a staple in Danish cuisine.

To make Danish roast beef, garlic is rubbed onto the surface of the roast before being seasoned with pepper and salt. The meat is then wrapped in buttered foil and roasted in a preheated oven at 375°F for 45 minutes for rare or 1 hour for medium-rare. The drippings from the meat are then boiled until they are reduced to a shiny glaze, which is then drizzled over the roast before serving.

Ingredients And Preparation

To make Danish roast beef, you will need the following ingredients:

– 1 kg roast beef

– 1 clove of minced garlic

– 1 tablespoon of olive oil

– A handful of fresh or dried rosemary and/or thyme

– 1 tablespoon of cooking oil

– Salt and pepper to taste

– Whole peppercorns, more or less to taste

To begin, preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C). In a small bowl, mix together the crushed peppercorns, minced garlic, and olive oil. Rub the mixture all over the roast beef, making sure to coat it evenly.

Next, place the roast beef in a roasting pan and add the fresh or dried herbs on top. Pour in enough water to cover the bottom of the pan and create a small layer of au jus. Cover the pan with aluminum foil and place it in the oven.

Roast the beef for about 2-3 hours, or until it becomes tender and easily falls apart with a fork. About halfway through cooking, remove the foil and baste the beef with the au jus in the pan. This will help keep it moist and flavorful.

Once the beef is cooked to your liking, remove it from the oven and let it rest for about 10-15 minutes before slicing it thinly. Serve it over mashed potatoes with additional au jus and whole peppercorns on top for added flavor.

Variations On The Classic Recipe

While the classic recipe for Danish roast beef calls for just a few simple ingredients, there are many variations that can be made to add extra flavor and texture to the dish.

One popular variation is to add root vegetables such as carrots, parsnips, and potatoes to the roasting pan along with the beef. These vegetables will absorb the flavors of the beef and au jus as they cook, creating a delicious side dish that complements the roast beef perfectly.

Another way to add extra flavor to Danish roast beef is to use different herbs and spices in the seasoning. While rosemary and thyme are traditional choices, other herbs such as oregano or basil can be used to give the dish a unique twist. Similarly, adding different spices such as cumin or paprika can add depth and complexity to the flavor profile of the dish.

For those who prefer a bit of heat, adding sliced jalapenos or red pepper flakes to the roasting pan can give the dish a spicy kick. Alternatively, for a sweeter flavor, adding sliced apples or pears to the pan can create a delicious contrast with the savory beef.

Finally, some chefs choose to sear the beef before roasting it in order to create a crispy crust on the outside of the meat. This can be done by heating up a cast iron skillet on high heat, adding some oil, and then searing each side of the beef for a few minutes before transferring it to the roasting pan.

Tips For Making Perfect Danish Roast Beef At Home

Making Danish roast beef at home can be a challenge, but with the right techniques and ingredients, you can achieve a delicious and authentic dish. Here are some tips to help you make the perfect Danish roast beef at home:

1. Choose the right cut of beef: For Danish roast beef, it’s important to choose a lean cut of beef, such as eye of round or top round. These cuts are tender and flavorful when cooked properly.

2. Season the beef well: To enhance the flavor of the beef, rub it with minced garlic and sprinkle salt and pepper onto its surface before roasting.

3. Slow-roast the beef: Slow-roasting is key to achieving tender and juicy Danish roast beef. Preheat your oven to 375°F and roast the beef for 45 minutes for rare or 1 hour for medium rare.

4. Use a meat thermometer: To ensure that your roast beef is cooked to perfection, use a meat thermometer to check its internal temperature. For rare beef, the temperature should be between 120-130°F, while medium-rare beef should reach 130-135°F.

5. Let the beef rest: After roasting, let the beef rest for at least 20 minutes before slicing it. This allows the juices to redistribute throughout the meat, resulting in a more flavorful and tender roast.

6. Make a gravy: To add even more flavor to your Danish roast beef, use the drippings from the meat to make a delicious gravy. Simply boil the drippings until they reduce into a shiny glaze, then pour over the sliced beef before serving.

By following these tips, you can make a delicious and authentic Danish roast beef that will impress your family and friends. Enjoy!

Serving Suggestions And Pairings

If you’re looking for the perfect way to serve Danish roast beef, there are a few options to consider. One classic way to enjoy this dish is to serve it over creamy mashed potatoes, as mentioned above. This creates a rich and satisfying meal that is sure to please. However, you can also get creative with your serving suggestions.

For example, Danish roast beef can be used as a filling for smørrebrød, which is a traditional Danish open-faced sandwich. Top the beef with pickles and shredded horseradish for a tasty blend of textures and flavors. Alternatively, you can use the roast beef as a filling for wraps or sandwiches, adding lettuce, tomato, and other toppings as desired.

When it comes to pairing Danish roast beef with wine, there are several options to consider. Tannic red wines such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Shiraz, Malbec and Barolo pair well with fattier cuts of beef like prime rib. For leaner cuts of roast beef, aged wines with softened tannins work best. Light and fruity red wines with a hint of earthiness such as Pinot Noir, Barbera, or Chianti Classico pair well with extra lean cuts of beef.

How you cook your roast beef also makes a difference in the wine you select. Rare cuts of roast beef pair better with young wines as the bolder wine can hold up to the extra flavor of rare roast beef. The more you cook your roast, the more fat you cook out, which means less flavor. Roast Beef that is cooked medium to medium-well will pair better with mature red wines or wines with softer tannin.