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Lefse (Norwegian Potato Pancakes)

One night while poking around Livejournal, I saw a post about making lefse, Norwegian potato pancakes. I adore potatoes in just about any form so I had to try it out. Luckily, I even had leftover mashed potatoes chilling in the fridge from the day before. Seems to be a holiday tradition to make these. Took a a little over 2.5 hours to get make a batch so I can see why they might limit it to an annual event instead of an everyday dish. I might've used too much flour but the potato flavor was a little too subtle to me to make it worth that much effort for me. Still, they're neat enough that I'll probably make it again in a couple of years. And the fillings work really well with the lefse. mm-mmmmm sugar!
Many thanks to madlori and wereontheroad!

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Lefse (Norwegian Potato Pancakes)
recipe by Chef #248178 at http://www.recipezaar.com/139806

12 servings
2 hours 1 hr prep

2 cups of plain mashed potatoes (ideally, use cold mashed potatoes)
2 tablespoons milk
1 tablespoon butter
1/4 teaspoon salt
vegetable oil

  1. In a large mixing bowl mix potatoes, milk, butter, salt and 3/4 cup of flour.

  2. Knead briefly on lightly floured board, adding flour to make the dough non-sticky. [For me, it was a pain to get the dough to not be sticky. I kept adding flour, mixing it in, and adding more flour. I'm really not sure how much flour was used in the end but I would guess around 2-3 cups of flour. Even then it was still kinda sticky.]

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  3. Divide dough into 12 equal balls

  4. Roll each ball on lightly floured board into a circle paper thin. [I had to add lots of flour to the countertop and the rolling pin to keep things from getting too sticky. I did however, carefully dust off excess flour once done. I used these tools for rolling out the dough. I didn't have a tapered rolling pin that wereontheroad used but I did have this wooden one without handles. And the spatula was used to carefully scrape the pancakes from the rolling surface.]

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  5. Lightly oil a heavy skillet or crepe pan; set over medium heat.

  6. Cook one at a time, until lightly browned, about one minute on each side.

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  7. Stack on a plate with a paper towel in between each one.
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  8. Freeze leftovers, and thaw throughout the year and enjoy a favorite anytime.

    Michael made his into a sort of taco. He spread a bit of tamarind chutney on his and filled it with lettuce and grapes. He assures me it tasted good though I remain unconvinced.

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    The traditional way to eat these is to spread them with butter, sprinkle on some sugar, and then roll them up.

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I completely adore potato in any form too... And welcome back! Your posts were definitely missed.

Thanks..feels good to be back.

Hmm. I wonder how it would work with instant mashed potatoes. . . I doubt it would taste as good, but it would make them into a much quicker dish, and, well, we usually have instant mashed potatoes on hand (we buy it at Costco. See, the only thing I really LIKE at Kentucky Fried Chicken is their mashed potatoes. And the instant stuff they sell at Costco can be prepared to be EXACTLY like KFC's mashed potatoes. So, since we've started getting that, we have managed to avoid KFC, which, as I previously said, tends to have food I don't really like, but which I'll end up buying and eating anyway just to have an excuse to have their mashed potatoes.)

If you try it, let me know. Making mashed potatoes doesn't take too much more time and I like the lumpiness so I'll have mashed potatoes in the fridge a lot. But I do like the mashed potatoes from KFC's too...I think it's the mix of the gravy with their smooth texture of the potatoes. Do you make the gravy too? I had to give up going to KFC after reading Fast Food Nation though I've slipped a few times. I adore their extra crispy chicken (mostly the battered skin part) and their mashed potatoes so sometimes I'll crave them.

I don't make the gravy, because we keep kosher inside the house, all good brown gravies require MEATJUICE, the instant mashed potatoes include butter, and kashrut says no mixing of meat products and milk products.

But I strongly suspect that I could make a reasonable copy of the gravy using Bisto or some such thing. I love good food, but I like bad food almost as much.

Oh I never even thought about the meat -products- and dairy for kosher conflicts. (not that I eat kosher...just wouldn't have occurred to me to screen for that if cooking for friends who keep kosher)

There's no reason for it ever to have occured to you. That's why most people who do keep kosher (I don't, really -- I just keep a kosher household) don't usually eat things cooked by non-kosher-observing-Jews, just in general -- there are all sorts of totally random things that you just would have absolutley no reason to ever think about unless you lived with it.

You can use some of those instant potato flakes. I know some folks that have used them and the lefse turned out alright. I've never done it, but I know it can be done.

Good to know -- I've made a variation of latkes using instant mashed, so I suspected it would be plausible, at least.

My mouth is watering. I am definately trying this one.

This is more of a Swedish thing, but if you can find lingonberry jam (check the food shop at your local IKEA), it too is perfect is this sort of dish.

(I love lefse. I haven't had them in ages. Thank you for posting this, I might make them for brunch this weekend.)

Which part is the Swedish bit? The lingonberry jam or the lefse? I've never tried that jam but I'm always up for trying new jams. I'll keep an eye out for it. Having finished the last of the lefse from the freezer yesterday, I'm missing them already. While I wouldn't hesitate to order them off a menu though, I still think it's a pain to make lefse on a regular basis. Besides, aloo paratha is next on my potato pancake journey...

The lefse is definitely Norwegian, and I would claim that lingonberry jam is just as Norwegian as it is Swedish, but not mainly on lefse.

By the way, this is not an annual thing, it can be bought in any store anytime of year.

I was soooo excited for a moment and was going to ask you which aisle I could find that in but then I saw your userinfo puts you in Norway. Thanks for the answer though.

My tummy is very happy to see you posting. Yum.

i swear you have one of the best journals on the planet!

*grin* I'm glad you're enjoying it!


My grandmother, and Great grandma,were Norwegian, I had Lefse regularly. It is NOT just used with sugar and cinnamon. Our family rarely had it that way, unless as a breakfast treat. We used it daily. Spread lightly with butter, and added whatever meat/ vegetables we were having. Roll as you would a Mexican Tortilla. Then enjoy! It adds a subtle flavor to any dish. I love it with roast, or chicken! Any way you can use a tortilla,you may use lefse. I prefer the taste of the Lefse. (The potato makes the difference as opposed to the corn.) I even enjoy Lefse just spread lightly with butter by itself.

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