mabel's recipe, written in mom's cookbook by mabel



sunday meal at the farm included potatakurv



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potatakurv - swedish customs
by mom, spring 1999

by the late 30's the american barn generation of swedes in gowrie seldom spoke swedish. only a few of the older immigrants conversed privately in their native language, and even the Lutheran church only observed juloto - the christmas service - not necessarily in swedish.

the strongest visible custom was food - lutefisk and potatocurr with lingonberries and rye bread - at christmas and castakaka - a baked milk and egg mixture set with rennet and served with berries and real whipped cream - oyster stew was the supper for christmas and new years eve, with pickled herring on the side - and always the rye bread. sugar ginger cookies - firm things to be dunked in milk (for the children) and coffee. then there was skorper - the leftover, white bread rolls sliced, buttered, sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar sometimes, and slowly baked in the oven to make hard crunchy toast - great again for dunking, and for baby's teething biscuits.

these were always served by ancient aunt anna at coffee time. on friday sale days i would not go home on the bus, but would walk the few blocks to aunt anna's where mom visited while dad went to the farm livestock auction. coffee time there meant peach sauce, skorper, hard sugar cookies, coffee, (for me with lots of milk in it) and peppermint candies. there was usually some kind of cheese, bread and jelly served too.

the lutefisk was received in barrels of brine, and scented everything around. the grocers only had to content with it for the short season before christmas, but then the cook had to keep it at home until time to prepare it - you couldn't keep it in the refrigerator, or outside, so you hoped for cold weather as it would keep cold enough on the porch. so when the time came, the lutefisk was steamed, a while milk gravy made, and then served hot with butter, salt and lots of pepper - and rye bread.

my recollections is that this was part of the large formal breakfast served xmas morning - before gifts - fresh grapefruit halves, carefully sectioned and centered with a maraschino cherry - then the lutefisk, scrambled eggs, rye bread, bacon and lingonberries to dress the potatakurv. the meal was topped with a beautiful coffee cake drizzled with white icing and sprinkled with green and red sugars. later a plate of holiday cookies - spritz and ginger, and the traditional fruit cake. a dark moist heavy loaf cake loaded with dried fruits and laced with brandy. this had been made several weeks before in order to "age" properly.

so the potatakurv production occurred well before christmas, at least since the days of freezers - the supplies include ground pork and beef, onions, potatoes, salt, pepper spices and the "gut" casings into which the meat an potato and onion mixture is stuffed.

equipment - large bowl or roaster for mixing, - the old hand cranked grinder with the stuffing nozzle to be attached - of course the potato peeler and paring/ chopping knife. then pans to hold the sausage rings as it is stuffed and tied off in 12-15" sections. then the kettles for simmering the sausages until cooked - then more pans for cooling it, and bags for freezing it.

the challenge in making potatakurv is simply the time and endurance to follow thru. one does not do it alone, for the companionship is necessary and the muscle power and taking turns.

what's the recipe? more or less?? depends on how much you are making. 5 pounds of potoatoes, 5 pounds of meat (2 pounds ground beef, 3 pounds pork or sausage), large yellow onion (since the grinder is so tedious, the modern electric blender has proven a real time and work saver for chopping the potatoes and onions), salt pepper, sage or allspice to taste -- that means you fry some test patties. you need the rest. time out. if ok, then the stuffing begins. clamp the grinder to a kitchen chair, put a pan on the floor to catch spills, another on the chair seat to catch the sausages. one person cranks and another stuffs the mixture into the top of this antique machine. there are more modern, efficient machines but there's tradition!

po ta ta kurv for break fast...
po ta ta kurv for lunch...
po ta ta kurv for din ner...
po ta ta kurv for snacks...

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