Friday, December 31, 2010

Pölsa - Sweden's answer to Haggis

With Mom visiting from Sweden, I took the opportunity to have her cook up a huge batch of pölsa.   As a child, I was an extremely picky eater, but pölsa was actually a dish I enjoyed.  I probably know more people who dislike it, than like it.  I googled the word pölsa and here's Wikipedia's answer:

Pölsa is a traditional Swedish dish, very similar in taste and consistency to Scottish haggis. The main ingredients are liver, heart, onion, pot barley, and often beef mince or minced pork, mixed with stock, black pepper, and marjoram. It is usually served with boiled or fried potatoes, pickled beetroot, and sometimes a fried egg.

From an anonymous source:  "Pölsa tastes and looks like warm puke"... I'll dispute the taste part but it sure ain't no eye candy.

Here's a quick recap of how Mom made the Pölsa.

I purchased a large eye of round roast, which Mom cut into large chunks, along with the beef liver & pork, which is then simmered on low heat for a few hours with lots of ground all spice.  The recipe calls for a nice, fatty piece of pork as well, but since I couldn't find a suitable piece at the grocery store, I purchased a package of ground pork.  Pölsa was originally made during slaughter time, so that nothing would go to waste.  In modern times, ground beef and pork are often substituted for the real McCoy. 

Mom had brought the pearl barley from Sweden, as I have not been able to find such "delicate" pearls of barley here, which was soaked in water for a few hours.  Once the meat is cooked, it i strained and the liquid kept for later.  My dusty meat grinder came to life again, and the beef, pork and liver was finely grinded.

Then you simply mix the meat mixture with the cooked barley, which gets diluted with the cooking broth.   I like the consistency similar to a thick spaghetti sauce but it varies according to individual preference.  We kept ours a bit thicker since I'm freezing most of it and will dilute it when re-heating.  As pölsa freezes better without the onion, I will add some freshly shredded onion when reheating.

Pölsa is served with boiled potatoes and pickled beets, some add fried  a egg on top, YUM!


  1. Thank you so much for this recipe! I've just started up a new food blog and am researching traditional Swedish food since my mom is Swedish, I love this and I'm so glad I found a recipe so that I can make it!

  2. I live in California and I MISS pölsa!!

  3. I have read your blogs many times and I must say, every time I read it I get a good piece of information.
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