Sjömansbiff - Sailor's Steak

Here is yet another classic Swedish dish. It gets its name from the fact that you make it all in one pot; very practical on a ship! Also, the use of beer as the cooking liquid comes from the fact that long ago, beer could be stowed on a ship whereas fresh water might be harder to get hold of on the salty seas. This is a dish that will warm you up very nicely on a grey day! I cooked this, and took the photo, during one of the 2 hours of sun we received in November here where I live. Needless to say we need all the warmth and cheer we can get this time of year, and this is comfort food indeed.

My farmor's cookbook contains this recipe along with a notation: "Very popular". My mother told me that when sjömansbiff was the day's special at their diner, they would fry the meat in massive pots which would then bubble away with onions, carrots and herbs. Then they would tip in mountains of sliced potatoes and, I assume, barrelfuls of beer. Grandmother's recipe is a slight variation on tradition as she added allspice and carrots, and that is how I prefer to make it as well!

Serves 6


800-1000 g beef (for example chuck steak or sirloin)
4 medium size yellow onions
1000 g potatoes
1 -2 carrots

15-20 allspice berries
3 bay leaves
1 bottle of beer and some beef stock
2 tbsp flour for thickening

butter for frying

to serve: parsley, pickled gherkins and beetroot


Slice the meat thinly. Peel the carrots and onions. Slice the onion thinly and cut the carrots into little discs.

Season the meat and brown on both sides, in batches. Add the meat to a big pot, rinse the frying pan out with water to get the juices and pour the liquid on top of the meat.  

Sautee the onion without letting it color and add this, too. Rinse the pan out once more and add to the pot.

Add carrots, allspice and bay leaves. Pour over the beer and a good amount of stock. Bring to a boil and then let simmer until the meat seems almost tender.

Peel and slice the potatoes, add to the top and let it all simmer until the potatoes are cooked and the meat is tender. Season with salt and pepper, and if you like to thicken the broth, stir the flour into some water and add, stir lightly and bring to the boil once more.

 Garnish with chopped parsley and serve with pickled gherkins and beetroot, and you will have yourself a mighty fine supper!


Most Popular