Wednesday, 2 February 2011

Korvsoppa (Swedish sausage soup)

There is a bit of a story behind this recipe, and I hope I can tell it without sounding bitchy. Bear with me:

Some years ago, my friend Arla introduced me to this 'traditional Swedish soup' recipe. By this time, I had been married to a Swede for well over a decade, and had been introduced to several Swedish recipes by his family. I had never even heard of korvsoppa, however, and was delighted to add it to my portfolio, because it was quick, easy, tasty, cheap and nutritious.

Shortly thereafter, my mother-in-law came to stay. It should be noted that, although she is Swedish, she has lived in Cape Town for many years, and often longs for a taste of home. I could hardly contain my excitement as I told her that I was going to prepare a traditional dish in her honour. Oh? And what dish was this, she wanted to know. "Korvsoppa!" quoth I, with much aplomb.

She looked at me blankly. She declared flatly that she had never heard of it. Oh dear. Ah well. I duly made the dish anyway (because it had quickly become a Romeis family regular), and we duly ate it.

A few of years later, my mother in law came to stay again. I was travelling a lot on business, so she was doing much of the cooking. She presented my elder son with a bowl of soup, which he refused to eat because it contained celery, which he despises almost as much as he despises vinegar. She was totally non-plussed. "But I thought you liked korvsoppa!" I explained that I don't put celery in my korvsoppa, to which she responded that she had always made it that way, as had her mother before her and her mother before that.

Presumably this was a different korvsoppa from the one she'd never heard of a few years previously. Sometimes you just have to shake your head!

Anyhoo, here is my version of korvsoppa. It no longer looks exactly like Arla's... and it doesn't have celery in it. Like most soups, the quantities are not exact. Feel free to experiment.

1 litre stock (see note below)
1 small-to-medium sized onion, finely chopped
250ml frozen peas
250ml frozen corn (Arla doesn't include this ingredient)
1 or 2 potatoes, peeled and chopped into cubes (about 1cm or so)
2 or 3 carrots, peeled and chopped into cubes (about 1cm or so)
About 6 Frankfurters (or similar sausage of your choice) sliced
Salt to taste if necessary (I don't use any)
Pinch of mixed herbs

  • Place the veg into a large-ish saucepan and add stock. 
  • Add more water so that you almost have the amount of soup you want to end up with. 
  • Cover and bring to the boil, stirring occasionally. 
  • Boil for about 5-10 minutes until the onion is translucent and the carrots and potatoes are beginning to soften. 
  • Add the sausage and boil until done, stirring occasionally.
  • Serve with crusty bread and far too much butter.
A note about stock:
I am not one of those diligent housewives that always has a home-made stock of stock (if you follow me) to hand. If you do, go ahead and use that, with my blessing and admiration. I use shop-bought stock. I have never found a cube version that I like enough to use in a soup. In recent years, Knorr has come up with a jellified version that you can pick up in the supermarket, which is far nicer, so you might want to try the chicken and/or veg varieties of that.

Always on standby
However, if you're prepared to take a trip to a health shop, I swear by Vecon (and I'm not being paid to say so, nor do I have any interests in the company). A generous, heaped teaspoonful will be enough for a tasty pot of soup. I am working on a post of my standby ingredients - the things that I always have in my cupboard. This is probably close to the top of the list.

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