Authentic Danish Skipperlabskovs

Authentic Danish Skipperlabskovs potatoes & beef stew

There are very few things that beats this wonderful, warming potatoes and meat stew on a cold winter day. Made with simple ingredients, this one pot stew can be made by anyone, and you will have people begging for more!

Skipperlabskovs means Skipper’s labskovs, and a labskovs is a Northern European stew. What makes this Danish variation potatoes and beef stew unique is the brining of the meat, so as to make the meat keep longer while out sailing the North Sea, hence its name “Skipper’s”. If you don’t brine it, it’s simply a Labskovs, but please brine it – it makes it so much more flavorful!



  • 1 liter water
  • 60 g fine sea salt
  • 10 g sugar
  • 5 whole black peppercorns
  • 5 whole dried coriander seeds
  • 2 whole allspice berries
  • 2 dried bay leaves

The labskovs

  • 750 g brined brisket* or chuck roll
  • 1.5 kg potatoes**
  • 2 onions
  • 1 whole clove
  • 4 dried bay leaves
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 15 g fine sea salt, or to taste

*Strictly speaking this should be a brisket flat, without the point – what’s called oksebryst in Scandinavia.

**The perfect potato is one with high dry matter – starchy, not waxy, cause you do not want it to fall apart in the pot. In Norway, this would be Beate or Asterix. In North America perhaps Idaho, Russet or Yukon Gold.

To serve

*Recipe for home made pickled beetroot can be found at the bottom of this recipe. Please, please make it yourself. It is really simple, and soooooo good!


Start by making the brine. Simply warm everything up, bring it to a boil, and let cool down. When it is cool, put the meat into the brine and let it sit in a cold place (a cold basement, forepeak, cockpit, your fridge etc) for 2-3 days minimum, up to at least a week. If you need it to go faster, simply add a bit more salt.

When the meat is brined, fish it out, wipe it dry (we use old kitchen towels for this – saves A LOT of paper!), cut into bite sized cubes, add to a large pot along with the spices, cover with water and simmer until almost tender, about 45 minutes in a regular pot, or 25 minutes at full pressure in a pressure cooker with natural release.

Meanwhile wash, peel and dice the potatoes and onions. You want a rustic feel to this dish, so do not cut things to finely. After the 45 minutes is up, add potatoes and onions to the pot, and simmer until the potatoes are completely tender, about 25-30 minutes.

Stir the pot as to slightly break up the potatoes and have them thicken the sauce a bit. Season with salt and finely ground black pepper to taste.

Serve with a few slices freshly baked Danish dark rye bread slathered with butter, and some pickled beetroot on the side. Stick a few cubes of cold butter into each mound of Skipperlabskovs and let its heat slowly melt the butter….then sprinkle over copious amounts of finely chopped chives and dig in with a spoon…


  1. Great recipe! But I think that if you cut the meat before brining, rather than after, you can markedly reduce the brining time

  2. I think the recipe wants waxy potatoes, not starchy ones. The starchy ones, i.e. Russets or Idahoes, will fall apart. Red skinned potatoes or fingerlings will work better.

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