LTH Home

For Better or Wurst: Swedish Sausages

For Better or Wurst: Swedish Sausages
  • Forum HomePost Reply BackTop
  • For Better or Wurst: Swedish Sausages

    Post #1 - September 21st, 2007, 1:06 am
    Post #1 - September 21st, 2007, 1:06 am Post #1 - September 21st, 2007, 1:06 am
    I'd like to start a post about a subject that took me some time to discover and appreciate in Sweden - sausages. Perhaps due to it's not-too distant roots as an agricultural society, there's a pretty heavy-duty sausage tradition in Sweden. I think what made me miss this during my first years here was the huge amount of cheap, nasty sausage and hot dogs that abound on the Swedish market. However, with some careful searching, one can still find some special and tasty remanants from Sweden's sausage past.
  • Post #2 - September 21st, 2007, 1:34 am
    Post #2 - September 21st, 2007, 1:34 am Post #2 - September 21st, 2007, 1:34 am
    Number 1: Stångkorv

    Stångkorv (or, literally, "pole sausage", I think) is a pretty unusual sausage (and presentation) to begin with but, heck, it's what I had for lunch yesterday...

    First, the purchased product:

    Image

    The producer ("Wurst Master" - you gotta love it!) is one you'll likely be seeing a lot of in these posts. They produce incredible sausages and are widely available in the Stockholm region. The ingredient list on this particular sausage borders on "Too Much Information" but I do respect a producer that doesn't shy away from it's humble ingredients. Random translations: "beef tendons", "pig hearts", "connective tissue"...

    Stångkorv has a unique semi-soft texture that can be seen in a few later pictures after it's been cut. Traditionally, it contains whole grains of barley but it looks as if Wurst Master has replaced the barley with buckwheat (perhaps to make the product gluten-free). I'm not positive of the seasoning but the flavoring is peppary (black peppar) and I tasted cloves and/or allspice, nutmeg and/or mace and I swear a bit of juniper berry lodged itself in one of my molars as I was eating.

    You probably can eat stångkorv as you would any other sausage. Traditionally, it's probably sliced in rings, seared in a hot pan and served with pan-fried potatoes. However, the variation I prepared yesterday is called "Stångkorv special".

    Start with: equal weights of sausage and cold, cooked potatoes, about 1/2 onion, an egg and some butter for frying.

    Image

    The "special" preparation involves removing the casings on the sausage. After doing that, slice the sausage in 1/2 inch pieces. Dice or slice the onion.

    Image

    Pan-fry the potatoes in the butter.

    Image

    After they have browned (5 minutes), lower the heat and add the onions:

    Image

    Let the onions soften and add the sausage:

    Image

    It will immediately begin falling apart. What we're making is essentially a sausage hash. Let it brown, scrape up the crusty bits and let it brown some more.

    Meanwhile, gently fry an egg:

    Image

    When the egg is done, serve the hash with the egg on top and with a healthy portion of pickled beets:

    Image

    Image

    Connective tissue never tasted so fine!
  • Post #3 - September 21st, 2007, 7:43 am
    Post #3 - September 21st, 2007, 7:43 am Post #3 - September 21st, 2007, 7:43 am
    My breakfast of toast is really not holding me over as I look at these pictures.
  • Post #4 - September 21st, 2007, 9:11 am
    Post #4 - September 21st, 2007, 9:11 am Post #4 - September 21st, 2007, 9:11 am
    Funny, that looks very similar to brunch at Patty's the other day:
    G Wiv wrote: And Patty's Hash
    Image


    Although I'd imagine that the texture and flavor of that sausage, especially considering the high offal content, makes it something completely unheard of on our side of the pond. Beautiful.
  • Post #5 - September 25th, 2007, 1:48 am
    Post #5 - September 25th, 2007, 1:48 am Post #5 - September 25th, 2007, 1:48 am
    Number 2: Isterband

    If this post's first entry featured an uncommon sausage, this entry's focus is still quite popular in Sweden. Isterband translates to something like "lard sausage" - "ister" meaning lard. It is not an emulsified sausage and therefore should have a grainy consistancy. The mixture of beef and pork is also given a healthy addition of barley groats.

    Isterband has two defining features. Firstly, this sausage is slightly dried and cold-smoked. The majority of smoked sausages over here are otherwise warm-smoked. Secondly, isterband is a fermented sausage. Depending on the manufacturer, these things can be sour! So the major tastes here are smokey and sour with perhaps a little peppar or allspice in the distant background. It's actually a pretty complicated sausage, flavorwise. I've found a recipe(in English, even) for isterband but I'm not certain as to how easy it is to get the fermentation going at home.

    While there are normally 3 or even 4 different brands of isterband available at nearly every grocery store in Sweden, I went the hard route and tracked down an exclusive, handmade version. What I ended up with was the meanest, sourest and smokiest isterband of them all. I've forgotten the manufacturer's name (some small farm in the deep forests of South Central Sweden) and it may not look like much but these babies packed a punch!

    Anyway - the preparation:

    Ingredients for a (hearty, artery-clogging) lunch of isterband with creamed potatoes:

    Image

    Butter, milk and flour for a bechamel sauce, parsley, cooked potatoes*, a carrot and two isterband sausages.

    Start by making a bechamel. Peel and slice the potatoes. Add the thinly sliced carrots to the bechamel sauce and let bubble for a minute or two. Add the sliced potatoes to the carrots and bechamel and let the potatoes get warm.

    Meanwhile, prick the sausages and put them in a dry pan. Heat slowly at low to medium low temperatures (you'll want to render some of their fat before they get too brown).

    Image

    When the sausages are warmed through and brown (about 20 minutes), add the parsley to the creamed potatoes and carrots. Serve with pickled beets:

    Image

    The isterband's texture:

    Image

    You can see how soft this sausage is. It's difficult to cut through the skin without the filling falling out. In fact, many people split the isterband lengthwise and scoop out the filling to eat.

    This particular version of isterband is excellent but certainly nothing for the non-initiated. They were smokey enough to leave my clothes smelling of smoke despite having the exhaust hood on medium. And the sourness was, once again, extremely powerful. However, all in all, isterband is another throwback to Sweden's agricultrual past that somehow still lives on. And, as proof of how effective smoking and fermenting can be in preserving food, these sausages had sat in my refridgerator (merely wrapped in butcher paper) for nearly a month before I got around to cooking them!

    * These are "Cherie" potatoes
  • Post #6 - September 25th, 2007, 7:54 am
    Post #6 - September 25th, 2007, 7:54 am Post #6 - September 25th, 2007, 7:54 am
    I'm fascinated by this thread--as with all your Swedish food posts, Bridgestone. In the Upper Peninsula it's common to find a sausage called a "Swedish potato sausage" in the stores. Is that still common in Sweden or is it one of those things that left with the emigrants?
  • Post #7 - September 25th, 2007, 8:48 am
    Post #7 - September 25th, 2007, 8:48 am Post #7 - September 25th, 2007, 8:48 am
    Are pickled beets a common side in Swedish cuisine, or just a favorite of yours?
  • Post #8 - September 25th, 2007, 9:04 am
    Post #8 - September 25th, 2007, 9:04 am Post #8 - September 25th, 2007, 9:04 am
    Ann Fisher wrote:In the Upper Peninsula it's common to find a sausage called a "Swedish potato sausage" in the stores.

    Ann,

    It's available at Tre Kronor as an optional breakfast side and part of my typical breakfast order.

    Swedish Potato Sausage
    Image

    Enjoy,
    Gary

    Tre Kronor
    3258 W Foster
    Chicago, IL
    773-267-9888
    Sauce on the side, always, implied, axiomatic..........never a doubt, BBQ sauce without.

    Low & Slow
  • Post #9 - September 25th, 2007, 9:05 am
    Post #9 - September 25th, 2007, 9:05 am Post #9 - September 25th, 2007, 9:05 am
    Bridgestone wrote:If this post's first entry featured an uncommon sausage, this entry's focus is still quite popular in Sweden.

    Bridgestone,

    Thank you for yet another window into your Swedish Kitchen, the view is spectacular and the glass clear and clean.

    Enjoy,
    Gary
    Sauce on the side, always, implied, axiomatic..........never a doubt, BBQ sauce without.

    Low & Slow
  • Post #10 - September 25th, 2007, 9:06 am
    Post #10 - September 25th, 2007, 9:06 am Post #10 - September 25th, 2007, 9:06 am
    brandon_w: Well, I do like pickled beets a lot but they are definately common for this type of food in Sweden. Their sweetness and sourness acts as an excellent foil to the fatty, rich sausages. Beets (both red and sugar) are, in general, very common in Sweden. They must like the soil!

    Ann Fisher: From what I can tell, the product known as "Swedish potato sausage" still more or less exists in Sweden. Here's it's occasionally called a "potato" sausage but more often simply a "pork" or even "meat" sausage. They are sold raw and then poached before serving. One will probably and eventually show up in this post!

    Thanks for the interest!
  • Post #11 - September 25th, 2007, 9:21 am
    Post #11 - September 25th, 2007, 9:21 am Post #11 - September 25th, 2007, 9:21 am
    Bridgestone wrote:Their sweetness and sourness acts as an excellent foil to the fatty, rich sausages.

    Bridgestone,

    As an aside, it seems quite natural to me to serve pickled beets with Wisconsin brats.

    9.23.07 (Link to post )
    Image

    Beets, in various forms, seem to go with most anything. Hummm, beet ice cream anyone?

    Enjoy,
    Gary
    Sauce on the side, always, implied, axiomatic..........never a doubt, BBQ sauce without.

    Low & Slow
  • Post #12 - September 27th, 2007, 2:35 am
    Post #12 - September 27th, 2007, 2:35 am Post #12 - September 27th, 2007, 2:35 am
    Number 3: Falukorv

    There are two different ways to describe falukorv:

    The Swedish -

    Falukorv, by far Sweden's most popular sausage apart from the hot dog, is a sausage with a long, distinguished history and a proud torchbearer of Swedish tradition. Falukorv (literally, "sausage from the town of Falun") is forever linked with the town where it was first produced: Falun. Specifically within Falun, the sausage is essentially a by-product from the town's illustrious, UNESCO-listed copper mine.

    Retreiving the copper ore from the deep mining pits required oxen. Lots of oxen. Starting in the 1500's, they were driven up in herds from southern Sweden and slaughtered upon arrival. Why? Well, it was their hides that the miners were wanting. The hides were made into ropes and the ropes were used to bring the ore out of the mine. The meat, much too much for the miners themselves to eat, was salted, smoked and preserved.

    However, German engineers were brought to the mine and at least a few of the brought their sausage-making traditions with them. It wasn't too long before the preserved ox meat was being turned in sausages.

    Falukorv is such an intregal part of Swedish society that the name has been protected (first nationally within Sweden and now backed by the European Union). To be called a "Falukorv", a sausage must, for example, be at least 40% pork or beef meat (not offal). To me, 40% isn't too much as I actively search for quality sausages but for many of the sausages on the Swedish market, 40% is sadly a tough goal. Falukorv is on nearly every daycare and workplace weekly lunch menu and shows up in music, tv and film. One could practically translate the saying "American as apple pie" to "Swedish as falukorv" without too many Swedes batting an eye.

    The American -

    Ring Bologna.

    What can I say? I honestly don't have the heart to tell my Swedish friends that falukorv exists in the States and it's status is as low as the lowly Ring Bologna. Here's a post by a Swede in the States that documents his search and longing for falukorv and eventual discovery of bologna. It never strikes the poor person that equating his hallowed sausage with bologna is perhaps, in American eyes, not the type of discovery to sing high and loud about...

    I never ate falukorv much until a few years back. It's super-emulsified and very mild in flavor. It's also (to my taste) extremely salty. The preferred preparation of quickly browning slices of falukorv in a dry pan and serving with fried potatoes and mustard just wasn't doing much for me (more than waking me in the middle of the night to scramble after a glass of water). However, I stumbled across a few preparations a few years back that have made me rethink my views of falukorv. Sure, it ain't pretty but, prepared lovingly, it can make a tasty dinner.

    Here's one suggestion:

    The ingredients:

    Image

    Falukorv, chili sauce, pickles (these are salted, but not seasoned with dill), parsley, paprika, mustard, an onion, thyme, grated cheese (use a good cheddar, for example), about 1/2 cup cream, a leek and some cocktail tomatoes.

    Here's the falukorv I buy:

    Image

    It's made by my beloved "Wurst Master" so I trust the ingredients. It's also not as salty as many of the other premium falukorv.

    But, it is what it is - emulsified, pale and simple:

    Image

    Start by slicing the leek in rings and placing them in the bottom of a buttered, oven-proof baking dish. Carefully slice the falukorv lenghtwise but not completely through the sausage. Open them, place on the bed of leeks and coat evenly with mustard:

    Image

    ... and (stay with me here, GWiv) chili sauce:

    Image

    Sprinkle the sausage with paprika and cover with sliced onion, halved tomates and quartered pickles.

    Image

    Add the thyme. Pour the cream over everything and finally, sprinkle with the grated cheese:

    Image

    Bake at 350 degrees F for about 45 minutes or until everthing is bubbly and browned. Sprinkle with the chopped parsley:

    Image

    Image

    Calorie-wise, this makes a Big Mac look positively macrobiotic so serve with riced potatoes and a green salad.

    Image

    Image

    Trashy, sweet, fatty and really, really good. It's a little ironic how many of the quality Swedish foods that I try to highlight are unavailable in the United States while the homliest most likely is. If any of you closet ring bologna lovers get the nerve up to try this odd dish, I don't think you'll be disappointed. It may not be a silk purse but I'm certain there's some sow's ear in there.
    Last edited by Bridgestone on September 28th, 2007, 1:27 pm, edited 2 times in total.
  • Post #13 - September 27th, 2007, 7:53 am
    Post #13 - September 27th, 2007, 7:53 am Post #13 - September 27th, 2007, 7:53 am
    Pickles and melted cheese you say? Sounds interesting.

    The picture of it hot out of the oven does look kind of good though.
  • Post #14 - September 27th, 2007, 8:09 am
    Post #14 - September 27th, 2007, 8:09 am Post #14 - September 27th, 2007, 8:09 am
    While I'll be the first to admit that this preparation of falukorv is unusual (as well as other things...), I would like to say that the last time I had the combination of melted cheese, meat and pickles wasn't on a falukorv but on a cheeseburger.

    Perhaps it's not as far-fetched as one may initially think.

    (However, brandon_w, I get where you're coming from and won't spend too much energy defending this dish. It is what it is and that's not too much!)
  • Post #15 - September 27th, 2007, 8:44 am
    Post #15 - September 27th, 2007, 8:44 am Post #15 - September 27th, 2007, 8:44 am
    I guess now that you mention the burger it is not that far fetched, but I don't eat pickles, so they are never on my burgers.
  • Post #16 - September 29th, 2007, 7:51 am
    Post #16 - September 29th, 2007, 7:51 am Post #16 - September 29th, 2007, 7:51 am
    Bridgestone wrote: If any of you closet ring bologna lovers get the nerve up to try this odd dish, I don't think you'll be disappointed. It may not be a silk purse but I'm certain there's some sow's ear in there.

    Bridgestone,

    Another particularly captivating series, the humble bologna has never looked so delicious.

    While I'm not an oft eater of bologna having had most of my life time allotment decades ago at summer camp in the twice weekly form of fried baloney w/BBQ sauce on white bread, I occasionally toss a 4-5 lb chunk in the smoker.

    Lightly crosshatch, slather with cheap yellow mustard so the BBQ rub adheres, smoke for a few hours until the edges get crisp and serve with a hunk of cheddar cheese. Makes a nice mid cook snack or rough and ready appetizer for a crowd.

    Smoked Bologna
    Image

    Enjoy,
    Gary
    Sauce on the side, always, implied, axiomatic..........never a doubt, BBQ sauce without.

    Low & Slow
  • Post #17 - April 30th, 2008, 1:51 am
    Post #17 - April 30th, 2008, 1:51 am Post #17 - April 30th, 2008, 1:51 am
    Number 2b: Isterband (revisited)

    Image

    I'd read good things about this particular manufacturer's version of Isterband so I gave it a spin for yesterday's lunch.

    Now, it says "Sour" ("syrliga") right under Isterband so I was definately expecting a punch...

    Here they are out of their package:

    Image

    These meat nunchucks obviously had natural casings, considerably more pepper than my last version and, as was quickly noticable, not been smoked. Hmmm...

    Image

    "Low and slow" (in the pan) so that they get heated through without burning and served with pickled beets and creamed potatoes (with dill). The white bits in the sausage are barleycorns.

    How did these stack up? Well, it's probably unfair to stack these up against the first version I had. The first version were truly handmade, had been written up in newspapers and won several Swedish championships (yes, they exist!). They were also smoky enough to fill the house with their scent and puckeringly sour.

    These had not been noticeably smoked which I was initially disappointed with. However, I soon realized that the lack of smoke let the other flavors shine. The black pepper flavor was prevalent as was a strong flavor of allspice. They was enough fat to keep them moist and the sourness was honestly at a pretty comfortable and balanced level (if the first batch was a 10+, these were a 5). The fact that these are marketed as "Sour" speaks volumes to me of the quality of many of the other factory isterbands out there.

    All in all, an excellent "factory sausage" and definately a better beginner's version than my previous choice.
  • Post #18 - May 18th, 2008, 10:56 am
    Post #18 - May 18th, 2008, 10:56 am Post #18 - May 18th, 2008, 10:56 am
    I just joined LTH because I had googled Isterband...and it led me here-

    I spent several years in Sweden- have been back in the States for more than a decade- and yet still CRAVE the smoky saltiness of a really great meal of Isterband- or even Isterband Latt (Light 30% less fat..blah blah blah)

    My favorite preparation involved thinly sliced potato-sliced onion- and my own addition- Granny Smith or any other semi-sweet apple sliced wafer thin topped w/ the sausage- and baked in the oven for about 20-25 minutes.

    I would layer the ingredients in an oven dish- onions on the bottom- followed by potatoes- then apples- the isterband would then be lightly scored/cut every few inches down its length- just enough to keep the sausage from exploding- and to let the fat and juices flavor and cook the other ingredients. This would also serve to crisp it up nicely. The Potatoes picked up all the flavors and were to die for!!!

    YUMMY! - this was served w/ pickled red beets- - My *Sambo's mother from Koping made the best I'd ever tasted-Thanks Brittan wherever you are.

    Alas- No Isterband stateside that I've been able to find...


    * Sambo is not a racial slur- but a short version of the Swedish word meaning Same -Abode-Dweller- or Live-In partner
  • Post #19 - May 18th, 2008, 2:26 pm
    Post #19 - May 18th, 2008, 2:26 pm Post #19 - May 18th, 2008, 2:26 pm
    Welcome to LTHForum, blchigrl! I'm glad I could hook you up with an Isterband fix.

    Your isterband preparation sounds truly inspired! I'll give it a try one of these days and report back to this post with my results. Thanks for the recipe/inspiration.
  • Post #20 - May 18th, 2008, 4:27 pm
    Post #20 - May 18th, 2008, 4:27 pm Post #20 - May 18th, 2008, 4:27 pm
    Happy to oblige! :P Now if only I knew how to get the stuff here.... along w/ semlor..and Dennis hast-hotdogs and krusbar right off the bush- (I still have scars..)

Contact

About

Team

Advertize

Close

Chat

Articles

Guide

Events

more