The Norwegian icon ‘pølse’ is just sausage similar to a Hot Dog or Frankfurter, however, at least 45 million kilograms of pølse (that’s 100kg of pølse per person) is eaten every year. Norway is the biggest sausage eating country per capita in the world! Pølse is THE fast food of Norway. They are sold at service stations, news agents, corner stores and fast food outlets.
Pølse are also eaten on special occasions such as children’s birthday parties or 17th May – Norway’s National Day. They are a must at every BBQ and often out shine a big steak or chop.
When the grilled pølse was first introduced to Norway in the 50s (via Denmark) it was eaten naked – without bread. Bread soon became an accompaniment, eaten on the side, but the influence of the Americans quickly put the pølse inside the bread.
Even though pølse is considered ‘lolly-meat’, there are strict requirements by the Food Safety commission for traditional ‘pølse’ to be of the highest quality and they have even set requirements for what types of ingredients are allowed to be used.
You’d be amazed how many ways you can eat a Norwegian sausage. There are the stereotypical ways, of course, like bread with ketchup and mustard but for so many sausages to be eaten in such a small country, the producers have certainly made an art out of re-inventing the humble pølse.
These days pølse can be eaten as a meal with potatoes, as a fry-up, in stew, or even in soup. (This is one of Farmor’s tricks to fill out her soup when she has the hungry boys -oops, men- home for dinner.) Some pølse are boiled and others grilled. Norway even has a Christmas pølse (Julpølse) which is baked and eaten with potatoes and gravy along side ribbs.
Christmas Eve dinner at Farmor’s with white julepølse and kjøttpølse.
But of course you have the grilled ‘hot dog’ style pølse. They come with an uncountable variety of condiments that are just plonked on top. Some unusual ones that I have found are: shrimp salad, potato salad, onion salad and gherkin salad.
Below are some quick recipes of the most common ‘pølse med brød’ (sausage with bread) that you’d find at the local fast food stores here in Norway that you can easily make yourself at home:
Pølse med salsa – Sausage with Salsa!
Just grill your sausage and put it in the bun. To make the salsa: Dice tomato, onion and continental cucumber. Mix with a dash of salt and pepper – a squeeze of lemon, if you like. I sometimes had some hot taco sauce for extra bite. Salsa is best when it is room temperature, especially when you put it on the pølse – cold salsa wouldn’t go well with hot pølse.
Pølse med Bacon – Sausage Wrapped in Bacon
This is a no-brainer. Wrap the grilled pølse in bacon and put it in the bun. Make sure the bacon isn’t cooked to a crisp otherwise it will crumble when you try to wrap it around the pølse.
Pølse med Sprøstekt Løk – Sausage Topped with Crispy Onion
In Norway you can buy crispy onions in a packet but to make your own… Chop the onions, roll them in a batter (like for fried fish or Corn Dogs), then fry them in a pan of oil til crispy. Make sure you drain them well. You could also have crispy bacon instead – dice the bacon and fry in a pan til crispy. Plonk on a pølse in a bun.
Pølse med Lompe – Sausage with Lompe
Lompe is a special type of traditional Norwegian bread made from potato. Anything and everything can get stacked into it as it is a flat bread which raps around your sausage. If you don’t have lompe you can use a tortilla, pita bread or any other flat bread. The best thing about using flat bread is it expands and you can fit a lot more condiments on – the skies the limit!
Pølse Kebaber – Sausage Kebabs
(Pictured first) This one isn’t sold in stores but it’s a fun way to eat pølse for the kids (and they get some vegies in them too ;D)