The Food and Wine Hedonist

leave your inhibitions at the door

Escape from Ikea Hell (And Another Gratuitous Pork Recipe)

We’ve been doing some remodeling work here at Casa de Hedonist and part of that included built-in cabinetry in three different rooms. We were going for sleek, modern looks but wanted to make sure we had enough money left over to buy booze or, you know, food and electricity. So you know what that means?

Ikea hell.

Why is Ikea hell?  First off, there aren’t that many of them.   There’s only one in Michigan and luckily it’s only about 25 minutes away. Outside of that one, the four next closest ones are 250 miles away.  And when you get there, it’s always completely packed at all hours.  They can seriously take the Starbucks approach and open one on every block.

And while you’re fighting the crowds, you have to figure out if you’re getting the Gnosjo, Akurum, Framsta, or any other of the completely unpronounceable product names.  I’m sure all those names translate to “chump who can’t afford furniture that’s already assembled.”

At first I wasn’t too keen on paying for someone to put them together, but now I’m grateful someone else had to deal with the instructions that were drawn by a Swede schooled in minimalism with a minor in surrealism.   And I let them deal with the multiple trips back to get missing parts and hardware.

So I thought I’d celebrate the project’s completion by making something Swedish. And of course, being this blog and all, it had a high probability of including pork – Svinemorbrod.

ikea final

Although I’m not entirely sure Svinemorbrad is specifically Swedish.  When I Google it, all references are to a Danish dish, but it’s different than this. Let’s just go with Scandinavian and say I’m close enough.


Svinemorbrad – Pork Tenderloin with Caramelized Onions

I cut out this recipe out of Saveur many years ago.  It was stuck in a folder and it always got passed up for something else. Though after making it, I’m going to make sure I put it in the rotation. It’s terrific.

7 Tbsp butter

2 Tbsp vegetable oil

4 yellow onions, peeled and sliced


1/2 cup plus 1 tbsp. flour

Freshly ground black

1 lb. pork tenderloin, cut into 1 “- thick medallions

ikea sliced pork


1 cup heavy cream

1 – Preheat oven to 200°. Melt 4 tbsp. of the butter and 1 tbsp. of the oil together in a large skillet over medium-high heat, add onions, and cook, stirring often, until deep golden brown, 15–20 minutes.

ikea onions



Season to taste with salt. Transfer half the onions to a large baking dish and the remaining half to a small bowl.

2 – Melt the remaining butter and oil together in same skillet over medium-high heat. Season 1/2 cup of the flour with salt and pepper, then lightly dredge pork and brown in skillet, 2–3 minutes per side. Put pork on top of onions in dish and scatter reserved onions on top of pork. Cover dish and keep warm in oven.

ikea pre bake


3 – Pour off fat from skillet, then heat skillet over medium-high heat. Whisk the remaining flour and 1 1/2 cups water together in a bowl until smooth, add to skillet, and cook, whisking and scraping browned bits stuck to bottom of skillet, until slightly thickened, 4–5 minutes. Add cream, season to taste with salt and pepper, and boil for 1 minute.

ikea sauce


Strain sauce over the pork and onions in dish.

ikea cooked

4 – Serve pork and onions with hot boiled new potatoes, if you like, passing gravy boat of sauce at the table.


Do you have any Ikea hell stories?  





About thefoodandwinehedonist

I don't know everything about the world of food and wine, but I'm not going to let a small detail like that stop me from blogging about it.

15 comments on “Escape from Ikea Hell (And Another Gratuitous Pork Recipe)

  1. El Guapo
    April 23, 2014

    Well caramelized onions are a beauty to behold.
    The inside of an Ikea is not.

  2. Vanessa-Jane Chapman
    April 23, 2014

    Ooh, I bet my son would enjoy this dish, he’s a big pork fan! I’m sure I have a funny IKEA story, but it’s not coming to mind right now! In the UK there’s a bit of a joke that you can’t go to IKEA without buying a pack of tea lights!

    • thefoodandwinehedonist
      April 23, 2014

      or they hazelnut chocolate bars.

    • the winegetter
      April 23, 2014

      Ha, in Germany we say the same thing but with a tiny twist: It’s our girlfriends or wives that make us go to Ikea every six weeks, spend hours and hours looking at stuff, and then go home with tea lights. 🙂

      • Vanessa-Jane Chapman
        April 23, 2014

        Haha, obviously this is an issue the world over then! What do IKEA put in their tea lights to draw everyone to buy them!

  3. ksbeth
    April 23, 2014

    it is always like that for me in ikea, and i still go back a few times a year )

  4. Duff's Wines
    April 23, 2014

    When we rebuilt our cottage, I volunteered to install the kitchen which was purchased at Ikea to save money. Our family’s running joke is that I spent one university summer working for a contractor thus attributing to me a false sense of competence in construction. Well, the construction took on Homer-like proportions – epic. I ended up with extra Schmorgens, too few funny looking bolts, and other stuff that I had no idea where they went. Now during the summer, I still wake up some nights thinking that I hear the cupboards starting to slide off the walls. That’s when I know where those bolts were supposed to go.

    • thefoodandwinehedonist
      April 23, 2014

      Then it would’ve been Homer Simpson-like proportions – d’oh! Our contractors had a couple extra parts, too…

  5. the winegetter
    April 23, 2014

    Weirdly enough, I have never had an issue with Ikea furniture assembly. I know all the horror stories from others, but for me, there was always enough parts and the putting together was easier than I thought…

    The dish looks amazing! In true Scandinavian fashion, you should have had some cranberry sauce on the side though. 🙂

  6. elizabeth
    April 23, 2014

    The only IKEA hell story I honestly have had nothing to do with the store and everything to do with getting a sofa delivered–they lost the damn thing in the giant warehouse and we had to wait a good three extra days to get it to our place, leaving us with no sitting options in our living room in the meantime. Personally, I actually *like* going to IKEA–I love looking at the various configurations they’ve set up and the new products they introduce, and inevitably I end up buying too many picture frames and tea towels.

  7. dwdirwin
    April 23, 2014

    My brother-in-law put my dresser together and put the front part on the wrong end of the drawer so it never moved smoothly. I did get a wardrobe for free- we had bought so much, they forgot to ring it up. I didn’t notice until later because we had spent so much- so that was a nice Ikea story

  8. palmtreesandpeas
    April 23, 2014

    Looks yummy! I’m a huge fan of Ikea! Yes, the crowds can be rough at times (I recommend going during the workweek), but I love the overall experience. Maybe I’m just crazy! 😉

  9. oneorganizedmama
    April 23, 2014

    Last week on a trip to San Diego I took my husband to Ikea. (Since we’re not fortunate enough to have one in Las Vegas). After a quick 2 1/2 hours in the store, going from aisle to aisle picking out boxes which we hope contain what we’re intending to buy, $400 spent at the register, unpacking then repacking the car in the parking lot, the five hour drive home, then having to put the items together, I can confidently say my husband is not a fan of Ikea either.

  10. Antisocial Patty
    April 23, 2014

    Ikea gives me chest pains, just driving by. I’ve only been inside twice. It was horrible! They have cool stuff, but it’s not worth the crowds, and maze-like layout. Way too many people and things.

  11. Max D.
    April 29, 2014

    I’m making this dish before the end of the month (May, not April).

    When we lived in Cleveland, I drove to the Pittsburgh Ikea. When we moved back to Michigan, I drove to the Chicago Ikea. Now that there’s one on the way to work, I don’t even bother to get tea lights.

    (This isn’t quite true, but our visits to Ikea are very rare. My kids loved climbing in a cart as I sped down a dark side corridor on the “warehouse” area. To them, it was like skimming the surface of the Death Star.)

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This entry was posted on April 23, 2014 by in Cooking and tagged , , , , , , , , .
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