Wednesday, 24 December 2008

Sausage is Better Than Lutfisk: How Holiday Traditions Change

Lutfisk is what Lee's family always had for Christmas Eve dinner. It's a form of dried and lyed and otherwise tortured cod which is soaked and boiled and served with white sauce. Dreadful stuff, if you ask me: one source prefaces a recipe by saying that is "also served in Norway but the Danes have more sense." When we discovered that we couldn't find it the Christmas after we arrived in Montreal decades ago I cheered, and went looking for something to substitute for it.

What we have now is a real Swedish dish, but one that Lee's family sometimes had for Christmas dinner, not Christmas Eve: potato sausage. It's terrific and not hard to make, even though stuffing the meat into the sausage casings is daunting the first time you try it. So here's our contribution to a holiday feast.

Soderstrom Potato Sausage

2 1/2 pounds lean ground pork
1/2 pound ground beef
6 medium raw potatoes, ground in grinder or grated, then cut into small pieces with scissors
l large onion, ground or grated (don't include large pieces)
3 tsp pepper
4-6 tsp salt
2 tsp ground allspice
3 tsp ground ginger
4 meters of sausage casings (available in specialty butcher shops: we have a neighborhood Italian one where the staff is much amused that I make Swedish sausage once a year.)

Mix together thoroughly and stuff into casings either using a cookie press (use a tipwith an opening about a half inch in diameter) or a two litre soda bottle with the bottom cut off:. In both cases you must hold the casing over the opening and push the sausage mixture through the opening. The amount fills about 4 meters of casings; if there's any of the misture left over it can be cooked as patties or formed into sausage shapes.

When ready to cook the sausages, prick them all over with a coarse needle. Bake in a covered pan for 1/2 hour at 350 F, then uncover and cook until brown, 15 - 20 minutes. Or steam for an hour.

Serve with pickled herring as a first course, and accompanied by mashed potatoes, a couple of good winter vegetables (I think we'll have beets and broccoli this year,) a green salad and a favourite holiday dessert. This year Sophie's making her Grandmaman Mercier's mocha cake which is fast becoming another Soderstrom tradition.


Martin Langeland said...

If any are left for breakfast, try these on Lee.
Real Swedish Pancakes.
Oh Welcome Light!
And the very best possible 2009.

Mary Soderstrom said...

Thank you, Martin. We'll have to try them.

Now, are you of the lutfisk persuasion, or not?

Happy holidays.


Martin Langeland said...

Sausage every time. I'm Dutch!
Seriously, your recipe went into the data base instantly. I have been after a likely recipe since discovering the product of a local grocery store meat man.
Thank you!