As you probably guessed, the Finnish Christmas ham (joulukinkku) does not arrive at the table alone. The main accompaniments to the ham are called laatikot, which could be described as root vegetable puree casseroles. We had three different kinds– lanttu (rutabaga), porkkana (carrot), and I believe the third one was turnip. I don’t know what goes into them exactly, but the vegetable puree mixture is baked in the oven until it gets a nice brown crust on top. They have the same texture as mashed potatoes (except for the carrot one, that had more distinct pieces in it) and are lovely comfort food. I especially liked the turnip one– something about the taste of turnip, sort of fresher, sharper than you’d expect from a root vegetable. I didn’t get a picture of the ones we ate, but here’s a photo for illustrative purposes.
Carrot and rutabaga casseroles, photo from Katariinan keittiössä
Other accompaniments were gravy (most likely made from the ham drippings) as well as a green pea sauce, which was pretty much a smooth pea soup that was to be put alongside the ham (when I, as the guest, was handed the pea stuff first, I paused with the spoon in mid-air to ask, “Um, does this go on the ham? Next to it?” I wanted to do it right :-)). There were also the peas and dried plums that came on the platter with the kinkku. I don’t always like fruit with savory things, but a bite of plum with ham with a little bit of plum and turnip casserole was just the right combination of textures and flavors.