Sailor’s Stew – Skipperlabskovs

After a summer with rain and cool temperatures, the sun is now finally shinning in Denmark, for a few days at least.  My husband and I spend the afternoon in Tivoli, the next oldest park in Denmark. It was opened in 1843 and is the third most visited park in Europe. When Walt Disney on a visit to Denmark in the early fifties visited Tivoli, he conceived the idea for the creation of Disneyland.

A visit to Copenhagen is not complete without a meal eaten in Tivoli. Here, in Grøften, you may choose a traditional sandwich piled high with fresh, hand shelled shrimps and a glass of  beer and a glass  aquavit (Danish Snaps) or Sailor’s Stew among other dishes.

The restaurant Grøften is famous for it’s Sailor’s Stew. Grøften makes about 80 tons of Sailor’s Stew each. When Tivoli opens, around the first of May, all of Denmark’s elite eat Sailor’s Stew. Anyone famous, well-known, politicians, models, actors, musicians, writers, directors of large companies and anyone one who wants to be somebody makes a reservation each when finished with their lunch for the next year. The restaurant Grøften is always fully booked  the first day Tivoli opens.  It is impossible to get a table if you are a nobody, but it is always fun to walk by and see all the celebrities.

When I first came to Denmark, Tivoli was open from the first of May and closed in the middle of September. Twenty years ago, Tivoli started to open at Christmas for a few weeks. About ten years ago, it opened for Halloween with thousands of pumpkins, witches and goblins. Denmark didn’t celebrate Halloween until that time and now it is just as big her in Denmark as it is in the States.











Sailor’s Stew  (Skipperlabskov)

Serves 6

4 tbsp. rapeseed oil

2½ lbs. (1200 g)lean beef or veal, cut into 2-inch chunks

5 large onions, coarsely chopped

12 whole peppercorns

2 bay leaves

3 lbs. (1400 g) potatoes, diced



chives, finely chopped

red beets, finely diced

To make Sailor’s Stew, heat oil in a heavy, large pot over medium heat. Toss meat and onions in the oil, but do not brown them. Add boiling water until meat is just covered, then add a pinch of salt, peppercorns and bay leaves. Simmer over low heat for about 20 minutes.

Add diced potatoes and let the mixture cook until potatoes have been blended with meat broth, giving the appearance of a very thick potato soup. Remove from the heat.

To serve, transfer stew to a large bowl and place a large pat of butter in the center. Sprinkle with finely chopped chives. Place a dish with extra pats of butter and a dish with finely diced red beets on the table so each guest can take as much or as little as they want.

Suggested accompaniment: Dark rye bread or whole wheat bread.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.