Janssons frestelse - Janssons Temptation

Finally it is time for this lovely time we call Christmas! This year my husband and I will be able to relax for once; we are celebrating the holidays in the Stockholm Archipelago with two of my daughters and their families. We are delegating the responsibilities of shopping and cooking, so it will be an easy time for us old folks. The downside is that we will be without our beloved dogs. They are staying at home, guarding the house and spending the holidays with my youngest daughter and son, and their partners.

This year one of my son-in-laws is responsible for the herring dishes. He is very skilled, so I'm sure he'll do just fine.

I thought a great Christmas gift for the readers of this blog would be my recipe for one of the classics of the Swedish julbord; Janssons temptation! 

It is a lovely dish, supposedly created by Swedish opera singer Per Janzon, who would have his friends over after performances and needed to serve something that could accompany a lot of beer. Still today it is common to be treated to this dish after working up an appetite from an evening of drinks and merriment. And it will always make an appearance, along with pickled herring, on the Christmas and Easter smorgasbord.

Since I'm not making a Janssons Temptation this year, the picture is from this year's Easter dinner. There is a little song in Sweden: "It's Christmas again, and Christmas will last 'til Easter".

Here is the recipe: Please note that for Jansson you need Swedish anchovies, not the mediterranean kind in olive oil, but tinned, cured, spiced "Sprats", in brine. They ought to have them in IKEA or in special shops with Swedish food.


1 kg potatoes
2 large onions
250 g Swedish anchovies: sprats in brine
3 dl cream + 1 dl milk
approx. 0.5 dl breadcrumbs
3-4 tbsp butter + butter for frying + butter to grease dish


Set the oven to 200 degrees C (390 F). Grease a large, deep oven proof dish.

Peel the potatoes and cut into sticks, slightly larger than juliennes.

Peel and slice the onions. Fry it in butter until it is golden but not browned.

Now layer potatoes, onions and anchovies (sprats) in the dish. The first and last layer should be potatoes. 

Pur over as much of the cream+milk mixture as needed. You want to glimpse the liquid underneath the potatoes. Leave a margin of about 1 cm to the rim of the dish, otherwise it can bubble over and burn on the bottom of your oven.

Sprinkle the breadcrumbs over the top and dot with dollops of butter all over.

Bake in the oven approx. 45-60 minutes. The potatoes should be totally soft. Add some more liquid in needed, a proper Jansson is very creamy.

Good Luck and Enjoy! And Merry Christmas!


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