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.
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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!
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 the last couple of years (2020 and 2021), when we didn’t make sausage because of Covid. 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 friends 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!
We will be at my brother’s once again this coming weekend to make potato sausage!
Värmlandskorv (also called Potatis korv) is a Swedish potato sausage made by combining ground pork, ground beef, potatoes, onions, and a few basic seasonings. This traditional sausage is typically often served to celebrate different holidays, like Christmas!
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.
How no one has gotten sick because of our process, over the years is truly amazing! We would never pass any FDA inspections.
The Mixing Process
- Peel potatoes and cut them into quarters. Put them in large bowls with cold water until ready to use so they don’t discolor.
- Peel the onions and cut them into quarters
- Potatoes and onions are ground up with an old-fashioned grinder. Ours is truly an antique!
- 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 thoroughly 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)
Stuffing the Sausage
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.
You can also use a Kitchen-Aid mixer with a grinder attachment.
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 potato 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 our delicious Swedish potato sausage.
Swedish Potato Sausage Recipe
- 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 sweet onions peeled and quartered – you can also use a white onion
- pork sausage casings
- Peel and quarter potatoes and onions
- Grind potatoes and onions together
- Drain the potato mixture in colanders, using your hands for pressure to release the water and potato starch from the potato mixture.
- Thoroughly mix the potato mixture and meat together
- Season with kosher salt and black 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.
My Mom’s Recipe
My sweet niece found a copy of my Mom’s recipe that is in her handwriting and framed it for her and her sister. I did the same for my girls. What a great keepsake to have hanging in their kitchens.
What Are Your Family Traditions
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.
Peace and Love,
If you want my recipe for Swedish Meatballs, head over HERE
Other Christmas Posts
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