Swedish Potato Sausage – Our Family Christmas Tradition

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Cooked Potato Sausage

Our family has a life-long tradition of making Swedish potato sausage for our Christmas Eve dinner. We always make it sometime between Thanksgiving and Christmas. This post isn’t about pretty pictures, above all it’s about family, making memories, and what we do at this small house for the holidays. It was such a nostalgic post to write. I filtered through hundreds of pictures. Years and years of family memories! I even found a picture of my sister on the computer the first year that she moved away from Illinois. We were zooming before Zoom!

Before I continue, I want to welcome you back from Day 3 of 12 Days of Christmas Making. Yesterday, you saw how Diane hangs her beautiful Christmas Stockings on her mantel. A holiday tradition at her home.

The Potato Sausage Story

I have only missed a few potato sausage events in my whole life. Once when “Handy” was in the hospital, once because a snowstorm kept us away from my parents, and last year 2020, when we didn’t make sausage. It’s a process and most of the fun is being with my family. The pandemic made it too risky to gather and make food, in close quarters with even my family.

While I have a lot of photos, we certainly weren’t focused on good photography when we were having potato sausage fun 🙂 If you look closely you can see my style evolution in some of the pictures. Can you see My cranberry walls and my sage green walls? We’ve held potato sausage pretty much at my house, my brother’s house, and one time at our dear friend Barb and Dennis’s home. They are like family to us! Prior to that, it was always at my Mom and Dad’s house. My brother Scott lives in NY and my sister Laurie lives in TN. They both make potato sausage at their own homes. It’s just not Christmas Eve without potato sausage!

Traditions………

The earliest photo I could find was when I was a teenager and it’s a photo of my mom, me, and my two younger brothers. I’m guessing my Dad was taking the picture.

Me as a teenager making potato sausage with my mom and two younger brothers.

How no one has gotten sick because of our process, over the years is truly amazing! We would never pass any FDA inspections.

kids hands covered with potato sausage in a circle

The Process

  • Peel potatoes and cut into quarters
  • Peel the onions and cut into quarters
  • Potatoes and onions are ground up with an old fashioned grinder. Ours is truly an antique!
Antique Food Grinder that we still use for potato sausage
I actually use my Vintage!
  • We press the potatoes and onions in colanders to get out the water from the potatoes
  • Return the potato mixer back to the table and add the meat.
  • The kids start to mix – After they throughly wash their hands, nails and arms
  • We add salt and pepper to taste (my Mom was very heavy handed with the salt. Now that my brother and I are the taste testers, we seem to have much more pepper)
the potatoes and meat are on the table ready to be mixed
Potato Mixture and Meat before mixing

After the meat and potatoes are well mixed (sometimes too much) then typically the couples will start the sausage stuffing process. Again we use an old grinder with a handmade horn that I believe belonged to my grandparents and it’s well over 100 years old. It’s actually starting to crack and we are always afraid that this will be the last year. We keep a modern equivalent on standby just in case.

My Mom and Dad always cranked out the first sausage when they were still alive. I think the bottom picture may very well be the last year that my Mom made sausage.

The first few rings of sausages go into the oven and we eat those on Potato Sausage Night. We don’t eat it again until Christmas Eve.

We pretty much snack on heavy appetizers throughout the whole night and then end it with potato sausage.

appetizers and charcuterie on the island

Swedish Potato Sausage

Family Holiday Tradition for Christmas Eve
Prep Time4 hrs
Cook Time1 hr 30 mins
Keyword: potato sausage, swedish potato sausage
Servings: 50 lbs

Ingredients

  • 10 lbs ground chuck Have your butcher grind the chuck and pork together
  • 5 lbs ground pork
  • 30 lbs potatoes peeled and quartered
  • 5 lbs onions peeled and quartered
  • pork sausage casings

Instructions

  • Peel and quarter potatoes and onions
  • Grind potatoes and onions together
  • Drain potato mixture in colanders, using your hands for pressure to release the water from the potatoes
  • Thoroughly mix the potato mixture and meat together
  • Season with salt and pepper
  • Use sausage stuffer to put meat/potato mixture into casings
  • Bake at 350° in the oven for 1 hour and 30 minutes. Put some water in the bottom of the pan. Add more if it bakes out of the pan. It's done when the meat is cooked through and the casings are starting to split just a little bit.

Does your family have a fun holiday tradition? Is it important to you to pass your traditions on to your kids? I’m so thankful that my kids have this connection with their past (my parents and grandparents). I’m also thrilled that they have such a strong connection that I am sure will continue into their future (close cousin bond).

If you don’t have holiday traditions, there is no time like the present to start creating them. It can be anything from a cookie exchange to making many pounds of potato sausage.

Tomorrow you’ll want to stop by Diane at South House Designs for Day 5 of 12 Days of Christmas making. She will be teaching us how to snow-crust berries, branches, and more. I can’t wait!

Peace,

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12 Days of Christmas Making Recap

Day 1 – DIY Vintage Lanterns for Mantel Christmas Decor

Day 2 – Christmas Lists & Holiday Organizing Made Simple

Day 3 – How to Hang Christmas Stockings from a Birch Branch

Day 4 – Swedish Potato Sausage – Our Family Christmas Tradition

Day 5 – Best Way to Add Fake Snow to Brighten Your Decor

Day 6 – How to Make the Perfect Holiday Cocktail

Day 7 – How to make a Christmas Sign out of Reclaimed Wood

Day 8 – We Love Our Frame TV

Day 9 – Charming Holiday Decor with Vintage Ice Skates

Day 10 – Casual Holiday Entertaining

Day 11 – Wood Holiday Buoys add Coastal Christmas Decor

Day 12 – Christmas Eve at Our House

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6 Comments

  1. Oh my goodness! This looks amazing. I love how the styles changed over the years, but the process remained virtually identical. I love all gathering around the table with a messy, fun job to do.

    1. It’s so messy and so much fun. When I was younger and did the mixing, my hands and arms would smell like onions for days!

  2. I LOVED this post. The pics were awesome. The tradition is great. The sausage sounds amazing!

    1. Truth be told, I’m not crazy about the sausage, its the process and the tradition that is the fun part for me!

  3. I welled up as I read this post, Lynn. You have so many beautiful memories connected to this family tradition. May your family continue this tradition for years to come. 😊 Pinned!

    1. It’s a pretty cool tradition and the fact that all the kids will carry this on is pretty amazing.

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