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How to Make Scandinavian Potato Sausages

How to Make Scandinavian Potato Sausages

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Potatoes and sausages not only make great side dishes for breakfast, but in Scandinavia, they’re one and the same thing. While you might think that potato sausages would be of Irish heritage, they’re actually a popular delicacy throughout Sweden, Norway, Finland, and Denmark. In fact, they are perhaps the most popular kind of sausages in these Northern European countries.

What Are Potato Sausages?

Like the origins of many sausages, potatoes were originally used to extend the meat, and they were first grated, mashed, and minced as fillers. Most traditional Scandinavian sausages use pork as the meat of choice for sausage making, but some use a combination of pork and beef. Elk, veal, and fish are also used in some sausages, as are lamb and mutton. But the most unusual meat used in Scandinavian sausages is reindeer meat imported from Lapland. Those sausages, which reportedly taste like richer hot dogs, are called poromakkara.

Scandinavian sausages are highly aromatic affairs, usually incorporating allspice and sometimes using cardamom, cloves, and ginger. Besides meat and potatoes, these sausages also usually call for whole onions to be ground into the sausages instead of just mixing in onion powder.

Recipes for potato sausages vary. Some recipes call for a ratio of meat to potatoes as one to two, while others incorporated equal amounts of meat and potatoes.

Potatis Korv (Swedish Christmas Sausage)

This traditional Christmas sausage boasts a peppery bite of allspice, mace, and nutmeg. It also offers a more unusual texture, similar to that of mashed potatoes.

  1. Peel and dice potatoes into 1-inch pieces. Keep potatoes in water once peeled to prevent browning.
  2. Add potatoes to an unheated pot of water and bring to a boil. Boil for 15 to 20 minutes or until just tender to a knife but still firm. Drain and store in a refrigerator until cooled, about an hour, or you can store them overnight.
  3. In a small bowl, combine salt and dry spices. Set aside.
  4. Cut meat and onion into cubes for grinding. Toss with garlic and spice mix until evenly dispersed.
  5. Store in covered container in refrigerator or freezer.
  6. Grind meat and onions through a medium plate, see cookbook. Then grind cooled potatoes into same container.
  7. Add milk, mix lightly then add flour. Mix until the texture is consistent, about 5 minutes. Chill in a covered container in refrigerator or freezer.
  8. Stuff in hog or collagen casing. See cookbook.
  9. To cook, place sausages in a pot and cover by two inches with water. Bring water to a simmer on medium heat. Simmer sausages for 30 to 40 minutes on medium-low heat. If cooked at too high of a temperature, the casings will burst.
  10. Cool and store in a covered container in the refrigerator.

Chef’s Choice: These sausages are traditionally served cold or reheated. For a crisp casing, heat ½ inch of vegetable oil in a skillet on medium-high heat. Add sausage and brown on all sides, turning every 2 to 3 minutes. Do not over-brown or casing may burst.

Note: Some versions of this sausage use as little as 1 lb of potatoes per 2 pounds of meat. Adjust the ratio to fit your tastes.

Perunamakkara (Finnish Potato Sausage)

This sausage’s texture is much softer than most other sausages because of the large amount of milk used. It is mildly spiced, with notes of ginger and nutmeg.

  1. Peel and dice potatoes into 1-inch pieces. Keep potatoes in water once peeled to prevent browning.
  2. Add potatoes to an unheated pot of water and bring to a boil. Boil for about 15 minutes or until just tender to a knife but still firm. Drain and store in a refrigerator until cool, about an hour or store overnight.
  3. In a small bowl, combine salt and dry spices. Set aside.
  4. Cut meat into cubes for grinding. Toss with garlic and spice mix until evenly dispersed.
  5. Store in covered container in refrigerator or freezer.
  6. Grind meat through a medium plate, see cookbook. Then grind cooled potatoes into same container.
  7. Add milk. Mix until the texture is consistent, about 5 minutes. Chill in a covered container in refrigerator or freezer.
  8. Stuff in hog or collagen casing. See cookbook. Store in a covered container in the refrigerator over night.
  9. To cook, place sausages in a pot and cover with two inches of water. Bring water to a simmer on medium heat. Simmer sausages for 20 to 30 minutes on medium heat.
  10. Grill or brown in a sauté pan before serving.

Chef’s Choice: For a stronger seasoned sausage try adding ½ tsp. each of any combination of white pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, and/or additional black pepper.

These delicious sausages can be served as a breakfast side dish—either poached or poached and then sliced and fried in butter—or as entrées, and can even be incorporated into creamy soups. Enjoy!

by Jeff King and Jeanette Hurt, authors of The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Sausage Making