An ode to Copenhagen, the Chicken Smorrebrod

chicken smorrebrod

A few weeks ago, with my mother visiting, we embarked on what seems to be a classic trip in our household: a international day trip. The idea is that we take an early flight out, and the last flight back at night. You end up cramming two+ days worth of stuff into one day and no hotel. This time, we treated my mother to a day trip to Copenhagen. This Copenhagen Chicken smorrebrod is one of three smørrebrød I made as a result of this trip.

Now, one of the first places we visited was the food market of Torvehallerne. It is a beauty, and well worth a visit. It was so good, we visited again before flying back that evening. Lots of cafes, butchers, cook shops and food vendors. It was there I snapped this picture of smorrebrod which would later become our lunch.

The lunchtime smorrebrod in Torvehallerne, Copenhagen
Lunchtime smorrebrod in Torvehallerne, Copenhagen

So enticed were we with how stunning they looked, we bought four pieces for three of us. Then we hit up a beer shop for some local beer. This may have been an error, as frankly we couldn’t finish all four pieces. It was perfect though, as we took the meal to go and ate it down on the harbour front. Such simple, but powerful combination of flavours.

So, when I got home I took the loaf of rye bread I purchased from the market (and flew with) and set out making my own. So, this Copenhagen chicken smorrebrod is an ode to that meal. One of three I created. This seemingly simple dish, actually has several key elements, but are worth the prep time. A homemade spiced mayo, with roast chicken, mushrooms and bacon. All on a buttered slice of rye. Perfect lunch, every time.

You can read more about our trip to Copenhagen here.

RoughEats Pairings


We had ours with a sessions IPA from To Øl brewery. It was delicious, a hoppy beer would be best here. Alternatively, some sparkling water with a squeeze of lemon will provide a good pairing.


This is food that is meant to be enjoyed, in the sun, with something that you want to sing along with. In this case, the Mowgli’s San Francisco should do the trick.

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Copenhagen Chicken Smorrebrod
Prep Time
1 hr 15 mins
An ode to Danish smorrebrod (open sandwiches), this seemingly simple dish, actually has several key elements, but are worth the prep time. A homemade spiced mayo, with roast chicken, mushrooms and bacon. All on a buttered slice of rye.
Servings: 4 -6 servings
  • 5-6 chicken thighs
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 tsp dijon mustard
  • 200 ml olive oil
  • 200 ml vegetable oil
  • 2 Tbs white wine vinegar
  • 1 garlic clove finely diced
  • 3 tbs chopped parsley
  • ½ tsp smoked paprika
  • ½ lemon juice and zest
  • Salt and pepper
  • 6-8 strips of streaky/plain smoked dry-cured bacon
  • 2 Tb of unsalted butter
  • 10-12 button mushrooms cleaned and quartered
  • 4-6 slices of German rye bread
  1. First, slow cook the chicken thighs in an oven heated to 180c. Season chicken with salt and pepper and cover with foil. This will help keep the steam in and make the chicken tender. Bake for 20-30min - or until juices run clear. Cool and separate meat into a separate bowl, use the bones for your own stock. Shared this with two forks until you have small bitesize pieces.
  2. For the bacon, heat the oven to 180C. Between two sheets of parchment paper, place the strips of bacon (streaky if in the UK, or regular if you are in North America). Place this on a baking sheet, and place an oven proof dish over top to keep it flat. Bake for about 10-15min, or until crispy. The fat should have rendered, making this a crisp shard of bacon. Remove to a drying rack quickly and save until plating.
  3. In a frying pan, heat ½ the butter until it is foaming, and toss in the garlic. Once this starts to be fragrant, add the quartered mushrooms. Turn down the heat and slowly cook this until the mushrooms are cooked. Drain and let mixture cool.
  4. In a clean bowl, add the egg yolks with mustard. While whisking vigorously, and slowly start to add the oils. Once you have a good mayo, add the vinegar, juice and zest of ½ a lemon, spices and the parsley. Then mix in the chicken and mushrooms and season with salt and pepper to taste. Put this into the fridge for at least 30min to ensure it is cool.
  5. To construct, take a slice of good rye bread and put a thin layer of butter. Take a scoop of the chicken mixture on top. Top this with the bacon shards and few leftover herbs.

Chicken Bacon Smorrebrod
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  • I’ve been to Copenhagen only once, and this city is so charming. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to try any authentic food that time. This open sandwich sounds and looks great, and the combo of flavors is just fantastic and well-balanced. Now I’m going to regret not trying this during my trip:)

    • Thanks Ben, sounds like a good excuse to go back. We can’t wait to go back and try even more, especially with restaurants like Noma there.

  • So I’ve never heard of smorrebrod, but my Mom actually told me the other day that she wants to plan a trip to Copenhagen next Spring. So this is actually perfect timing! I’m totally bookmarking this post…not only to make the smorrebrod but also for ideas for our trip. Thanks, Matt!

  • I’ve never been to Copenhagen and what fun to take your mother there for the day and flying too! That’s my idea of a great day with time spent in a market and then ending with a visit to a garden. We always did this no matter where we traveled. The smorrebrod looks delicious too!

  • We were in Copenhagen for Christmas a couple years ago and I’ve been wanting to return ever since! We couldn’t resist going back to Torvehallerne multiple times on our visit! And I agree about the beer from To Øl. Good stuff! This is such a great recreation from what I’m sure was an excellent trip!

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