Luspkaus (gluten free)

It starts the same way it always had, a large metal pot and a wooden spoon. The newspaper spread wide on the counter; a peeler rests at its edge. All the usual suspects, onions, potatoes, carrots, rutabaga (“Norwegian peaches,” story for another day), line up near the cutting board. A large chef’s knife poised for its first chop, while ground beef sizzles on the stove.

My dad, the executioner, is not an apron kind of man, but his mother wore one religiously. I am a little sloppy, Dad suggests a poncho and lays out more newspaper. I cycle through the heart warming reasons for this project in my head, connection to family, passing on heritage, creating memories, eating healthier, and a hid

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den one…I want to learn how to cook well, maybe even neatly (poncho-free). It will start today with Lupskaus.

Lupskaus is a Norwegian stew (literally translates to stew) that is as unique as the cooks behind it. I think of it as the “kitchen sink” of stews, or to be politically correct “leftover friendly.” The peas and carrots little Johnny rejected last night, the shallots purchased for the fancy recipe you never made, in they go ─ call it “dinner deja vu.” Lupskaus is hard to mess up, unless you do something silly like add (real) peaches, then you were a victim of my farfar’s (Norse for father’s father) lose translation of rutabaga and other questionable vegetables that would not pass a “selective” (picky) child’s palate preferences.

While there is a little prep, some browning, chopping, and peeling, the pot does the rest of the work. You are free to cruise Netflix, post (this) recipe pics to your Instagram *cough*, convince your kids that peaches really are on the menu tonight, talk trash to all those who doubted your culinary potential on Facebook ─ you got time for world denomination, but first dinner.

1 pound ground beef
1 medium size onion, chopped
½ of a medium rutabaga, peeled and chopped *please see special note about this below
2 pounds of russet potatoes, peeled and diced
3 large carrots, peeled and chopped
½ of a medium-large size head of cabbage, chopped
½ pound of dinner sausage, sliced
4-5 bouillon cubes
2-3 bay leaves (fancy)

*Rutabaga is a pain in the a$$ to chop. Since the vegetable is covered in wax, you will need to have a clean and DRY cutting board (and iron will). “Peel” the waxy skin off with your most intimidating kitchen knife, then wipe the wax off the blade. Halve, quarter, eighth, etc., and chop into small enough pieces that will help make the cooking process faster.

Okay, you can go ahead and thank me now, because I (Dad double-checked) listed the ingredients in order of use. You’re totally welcome.

Step 1: First, brown and crumble ground beef until no longer pink. Add the chopped onion and cook until translucent.

Step 2: Layer the vegetables from hardest to softest in this order: chopped rutabaga, potatoes, carrots, and then add just enough water to cover this.

Step 3: Next add the chopped cabbage and pile on the sliced sausage. Toss in the beef bullion cubes and add the bay leaves.

Step 4: Bring the pot to a boil, then lower the heat to a simmer. Cover and let the pot simmer for approximately an hour and a half-ish. Once vegetables have softened-up, root vegetables should be falling apart, stir the mixture, add salt and pepper to taste. Cook on low until ready to serve and stir occasionally to help the flavors meld.

Step 5: Remove bay leaves (or put in someone’s bowl that you do not like that much today) and serve in either bowls or on plates.

Our family likes to eat this with mustard. We “smuggle” Idun, Norwegian brand, in our suitcases whenever possible, a spicy brown or Dijon mustard will also do. Serve this dish with flatbread, fresh bread (please no Wonder “Bread”), or biscuits and enjoy.


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