Lapskaus is one of Norway’s most famous traditional country dishes.

Lapskaus can range from a watery soup to a thick stew, it all depends on how you like it. Traditionally being made from last nights left overs, Lapskaus uses potatoes as a thick base with other hearty, winter vegetables and meat. The idea of Lapskaus is ‘anything goes’, so you can guarantee that your soup will be an original masterpiece every time.

As we are gearing up for winter, soup has been on my mind as a hearty meal for family dinners.  Pumpkin and apple lapskaus just seems like a natural combination that I thought would have already been done but I could not find a Norwegian recipe anywhere.

In Autumn Norway harvests apples from Hardanger and other southern regions.  They are juicy and quite sour but very popular amongst many Norwegians.  The apples are used for cakes, pies, juices, jams, wine and sauce, but so far I have never heard of apples being used for lapskaus.

At this time of year, halloween has become popular – it has recently been introduced by American culture.  With halloween comes pumpkins, a relatively new fruit to hit the supermarkets.  Pumpkins are not part of Norwegian tradional cuisine.  (When I brought some up from Oslo, Farfar said it was one of the strangest foods he had ever eaten!)  The only traditional recipe I’ve found with pumpkin is from Hanna Winsnes, one of Norway’s first ‘cooking ladies’, who has suggested pickling pumpkin in vinegar.  We can only buy pumpkins during October where we live, and with the abundance of Norwegian apples and no Norwegian recipe to be found, I saw an opportunity to invent my own modern Norwegian lapskaus!

As lapskaus is best as a ‘free’ creation, I suggest people add according to taste.

1 onion
1 celery stick
1 carrot
1 good size butternut pumpkin
2 apples
4 medium starchy potatoes
2 cloves of garlic
fresh parsley
cracked pepper
good stock
sour cream
crispy bacon
rustic brown bread

Sauté 1 diced onion, 1 sliced stick of celery, 1 thinly chopped carrot.  Seed, skin and dice half a good sized butternut pumpkin and 2 apples.  Skin and dice about 4 medium starchy potatoes.  Add pumpkin, apples and potatoes to sauté mix.  Add two grated garlic cloves.  Add in fresh chopped parsley.  Season with cracked pepper.  Add in stock with enough water to cover all the vegetables.  Bring to boil and simmer for 40 minutes, adding more water if necessary.  I blended my soup to a smooth consistency but you can keep it lumpy for a more robust style.  Add a dollop of sour cream and crispy diced bacon.  Serve with rustic brown bread.

I’m sure this dish would suit a dash of cardamom and nutmeg for an earthy flavour or fresh sliced chili for a little zing.

Enjoy!