Thursday, 14 April 2011


Pyttipanna translates roughly as 'little bits in the pan'. This dish is the Swedish (and Norwegian) equivalent of hash or bubble and squeak in that it's a way to use up leftovers. But, like both those comparitive examples, it has become such a favourite that it is of often made up from scratch with purpose-bought ingredients.

One thing I have come to realise about traditional Swedish cuisine (and I hope I'm not going to offend anyone here) is that it's not terribly healthy. There's a huge emphasis on animal protein and potatoes, an awful lot of frying in butter, and not a lot of green stuff to be had. It is not unusual to be served a mountain of prawns or langoustines and nothing else at all. Not that I'm complaining, mind - Rökeriet on Sydkoster that does the most delicious smoked prawns I have ever eaten, and I have very fond memories of late summer evenings spent there with various cousins and so forth. But it is small wonder that heart disease is so prevalent, and on the increase, in Sweden.

So I'm not going to suggest that you adopt a steady diet of pyttipanna, but every now and again, it's great comfort food, and it's a lot healthier if you make it yourself than if you buy the ready frozen kind brimming with salt and additives. I am going to suggest that you buck the trend and add a few green things to yours, which is as my husband remembers it from childhood, but not what you would find in the frozen kind or what you would be served in a cafe.

1 potato per person, cut into cubes of about 1cm
1 or more (to taste) onions, chopped
Bits and bobs of meat:
 - A couple of rashers of bacon, chopped
 - Ground beef
 - Chicken, cubed
 - Whatever other leftover meat you have to hand, cubed
Bits and bobs of leftover vegetables, chopped
Eggs - one per person (optional)

The potatoes and onions need a head start
All the ingredients (except the eggs) are fried up in a pan. I use a little oil or Fry Light. If the meat is already cooked, you will need to cook the potatoes and onions first, and the potatoes will take by far the longest. If the meat is raw, you will still need to give the potatoes a bit of a head start, and then add everything else. Keep stirring and turning the food for even cooking.

Traditionally, you should also fry up an egg for each person, and place that on top of the pyttipanna as you serve it.

Whatever you do, don't tell the Swedes I said so, but pyttipanna tastes fabulous with a dash of Worcestershire sauce!

1 comment:

  1. Hej Karyn!
    This can be really good - comfort food indeed. It's nice with pickled beetroot as well. A totally different flavour/consistency to vary the protein and carbs.
    All the best