19 January 2011

19 January - Saint Canute; Burning Love

AstronomyFull Wolf Moon

Even a man who is pure in heart and says his prayers by night...
Feast of Saint Knud (Canute) IV, King of Denmark.

Knud was king at a difficult time in Danish history, as he used various methods (none of them popular) to strengthen the Danish monarchy against the wealthy landowners.  He was not above a bit of strong-arming when necessary.

For instance, in response to one of his demands, the people decided that they would stand on their rights and refuse.  He then said that they could stand on their rights, and he would also.  This took the form of forbidding the people to use his lands for grazing their animals, and since this was important to their survival, the people capitulated.

In strengthening the monarchy, he also strengthened the Church in Denmark, ordering the building of churches, monasteries, and hospitals.   He is described here as a Champion of Catholic Orthodoxy: "He had every quality which forms a Christian prince: he was a zealous propagator of the Faith of Christ, he was a brave warrior, he was pious, and he was charitable to the poor. His zeal for the Church (and in those days Her rights were counted as the rights of the people) was made the pretext for putting him to death: he died in the midst of a sedition as a victim sacrificed for his people’s sake."

Killed in 1086 by rebellious subjects, as he and his followers took sanctuary in a church, he was canonized almost immediately in 1101 as the patron saint of Denmark.
An easy and filling Danish dish (and one suitable to winter) is BRAENDENDE KAERLIGHED (Burning Love):

The amount of each ingredient is up to you and how many you are feeding. Try to keep everything hot. 

Make a batch of creamy mashed potatoes.  Season well with butter, salt, and pepper.

Fry several slices of bacon, Danish bacon if you can find it, regular bacon otherwise.
Fry a couple of onions as follows: cut large onions into halves from stem to stern; remove skins and slice about 1/8 inch thick.  Heat fat in a deep fryer or skillet to 370 degrees F.   Fry onions, one at a time, in hot fat for about 5 minutes.  Drain on paper towels and sprinkle with salt.

Mound the mashed potatoes on a round platter and make a depression in the middle.  Surround with crumbled bacon, and fill depression with fried onions.  If you need to, put the platter in a 350 degree F. oven for about 5 minutes to heat.

Slices of cold pickled beets are the usual accompaniment.

And for dessert?  Danish (Wienerbrod) of course.