Celebrate Christmas Like a Scandinavian

Photo: Kelly Sloan

Rullepølse is a traditional Scandinavian dish, usually consumed as an open-faced cold-cut sandwich. My grandfather is 100 percent Norwegian and learned to make rullepølse (pronounced "role-a-pulse") as a young boy by watching his mother make it every year for Christmas.

It is also known in other parts of Scandinavia by other names, and can be prepared with a variety of meats such as flank steak, lamb, pork, beef or venison. The recipe below uses flank steak, pork, onions and seasonings including generous amounts of allspice.

Serve it on buttered rye or pumpernickel bread and top it with a pickle and dash of paprika Tweet this (to resemble Christmas colors). It's a time-intensive recipe, but the taste is worth it!

Scandinavian Christmas Rullepølse Tweet this

Recipe by Kelly Sloan


  • 2 pounds flank steak
  • 1 pound boneless pork chop, diced into bite-sized pieces
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons allspice
  • 1 medium onion, very finely chopped
  • ¼ cup salt
  • 12 slices rye bread slices, halved
  • 4 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
  • 24 dill pickle chips
  • 1 teaspoon paprika

Additional Equipment

  • Cheesecloth
  • Cooking twine


  1. Pound flank steak on both sides to flatten, tenderize and form into a rectangle shape. Sprinkle evenly with salt, pepper, allspice, chopped onion and diced pork.
  2. Roll meat tightly, from the narrower end.
  3. Place rolled steak in cheese cloth several times. Tie securely with cooking twine.
  4. Place cheesecloth-wrapped roll in a large bowl with 8 cups water, or until water covers top of meat. Sprinkle water with salt. Refrigerate in salted water for 8 hours or overnight.
  5. Remove meat from saltwater bath.
  6. Fill a large pot with water and bring water to a boil. Place roll in water and simmer for 2 hours.
  7. Remove wrapped roll from water and place on a flat pan such as a cookie sheet. Place a heavy object on top such as an iron skillet, and put back in refrigerator for 8 hours or overnight.
  8. Remove from cheesecloth and slice thin.
  9. To assemble open face sandwiches, butter slices of rye bread, place thinly sliced rullepølse on top of each slice of buttered bread. Garnish with pickle and paprika. Serve cold.
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Kelly Sloan
Kelly Sloan is a dietetics student at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. Kelly is a nutrition columnist for her school newspaper, Ka Leo O Hawaii, and her hometown newspaper.