Presenting the Romjul Taco

Pork tacos with Christmas spices and a bright cabbage slaw for an easy holiday week meal

romjul taco

Photo: Sara Johannessen / MatPrat
Pulled pork tacos are seasoned with a lively blend of Christmas spices, like ginger, clove, and allspice.

CHRISTY OLSEN FIELD
Taste of Norway Editor

One Norwegian tradition that I admire—and want to embrace more of—is romjul: the space of time between Christmas and New Year’s to relax at home with loved ones.

Preparing for Christmas festivities feels anything but relaxing to me (can you relate?), but I will get real practice with romjul this year, since this will be the first time that my family is staying home for the holidays. With that in mind, I am excited to share a fun, low-stress meal: Taco med julesmaker, tacos with Christmas flavors.

I came across the idea on MatPrat, one of my favorite Norwegian culinary websites, for braised pulled pork tacos with Christmassy spices, such as cloves, allspice, and ginger. It’s a fun holiday twist on Norway’s love of tacofredag, the tradition of eating tacos on Fridays.

Pork simmers on the stove for a couple of hours in a rich blend of spices, and topped with a red cabbage slaw is bright with mango, lime, and cilantro. Serve with tortillas or lefse, and you have an easy meal that is packed with flavor.

Make it vegan: Instead of pork, use jackfruit as a plant-based option! Jackfruit is a large green fruit from South and Southeast Asia, and canned young jackfruit is beloved by plant-based eaters around the world for its meat-like texture and ability to absorb flavors. Use three 20-ounce cans of jackfruit (available at specialty groceries and Asian markets)instead of the pork. Drain and pat dry, cut off the hard inner core, and partially shred into smaller chunks. In a large skillet, sauté the jackfruit chunks for five minutes. Add ¾ cup of the Christmas spice rub, apple cider, vinegar, and salt, and simmer for 25 minutes, stirring occasionally so the jackfruit becomes tender. Use two forks to pull apart. Serve with slaw and tortillas!

Make it easy: Sometimes the last thing you want to do during the holidays is cook. I hear you! You can easily swap precooked pulled pork from the store. Combine the ingredients in the pot and simmer on low for 20 minutes, or until heated through. Serve with the slaw.

Taco med julesmaker

Tacos with Christmas flavors
Adapted from MatPrat

2 1/2 pounds pork shoulder
2 tbsps. Dijon mustard
1 1/4 cup Christmas spice
rubmix (recipe follows)
1 1/4 cup apple cider
2 tbsps. applecider vinegar
8 taco-sized tortillas (or lefse!)
1/2 cup chopped cilantro

  1. The day before you want to cook, marinate the pork.
  2. Cut the pork into four pieces and place in a cooking dish. Sprinkle with kosher salt, and rub all sides with Dijon mustard.
  3. Coat the pork in the Christmas spice rub.
  4. Cover with a lid or plastic wrap, and let sit in the fridge for 8 hours or up to 24 hours.
  5. In a 5-qt. dutch oven or heavy pot, combine the apple cider, vinegar, and salt.
  6. Add the pork pieces. Cover and bring to a boil, and reduce to simmer for 2 ½ to 3 hours. The meat is done cooking when it yields easily to a fork.
  7. Shred using two forks or tongs, and stir back into the liquid.
  8. Serve with warmed tortillas (or lefse), red cabbage and mango slaw, and chopped cilantro to garnish.

Julerub

Christmas Dry Spice Rub

1/3 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup granulated white sugar
2 tsps. ground cloves
1 1/2 tsp. ground allspice
1/4 cup smoked paprika
2 tbsps. garlic powder
1/4 cup kosher salt
2 tsps. fresh ground pepper
1 tsp. ground ginger
1 1/2 tsp. onion powder
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. chili powder

  1. Whisk together the ingredients in a small bowl.
  2. Store in glass jar until needed.

Rødkål-ogmangosalat

Red Cabbage and Mango Slaw

2 tbsps. olive oil
1 tsp. sugar
Two limes, zested and juiced
1 tsp. salt, or to taste
1/2 head of red cabbage, thinly sliced
1/2 sweet onion, thinly sliced
2 mangos, peeled and chopped into 1-inch chunks
1/2 bunch of fresh cilantro, chopped

  1. In a large bowl, whisk together olive oil, sugar, lime zest, lime juice, and salt.
  2. Add the cabbage, sweet onion, mango, and cilantro, and toss together.
  3. Taste for seasoning, and add more salt if needed.
  4. Serve on top of tacos and enjoy!

Do you have a favorite meal to make in romjul days? I’d love to hear from you! Write to me at food@na-weekly.com.

This article originally appeared in the Dec. 25, 2020, issue of The Norwegian American. To subscribe, visit SUBSCRIBE or call us at (206) 784-4617.

Christy Olsen Field

Christy Olsen Field became the Taste of Norway Editor in April 2019. She worked on the editorial staff of the Norwegian American Weekly from 2008 to 2012. An enthusiastic home cook and baker, she lives north of Seattle with her husband and two young sons. She is also a grantwriter for small nonprofits in the Seattle area.

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