Kalops Is The Hearty Swedish Beef Stew Meant For Chilly Nights

It's no secret that winters in Sweden can be chilly to say the very least. Like many other snow-prone nations, Sweden has developed special meals to help combat the cold. Kalops, Sweden's version of beef stew, is their answer to the frigid nights of autumn and winter.

On outward appearance, kalops looks like any other old-fashioned beef stew. All of the prerequisites are there: beef, broth, carrots, potatoes, and parsley. Kalops adds a special ingredient that makes it unique: allspice. Whole allspice berries are added to the broth to give the stew a rich warmth that livens up the other flavors. Pickled beets are another key differentiator. The stew gets a touch of acidity from the pickling brine and a sweet earthiness from the beets.

Preparing kalops is as simple as making any other beef stew. You sear the beef and vegetables in a pot, add seasoning, cover everything in broth, and simmer for several hours. The potatoes and beets are prepared separately as side dishes. The goal is to have something hearty and warm to keep the blood pumping on chilly nights.

Roots and variations

It would not be mere conjecture to assume that kalops share a heritage with English and Irish-style beef stews. England and Ireland were long subject to Viking raids, which made culinary crossover unavoidable. The first written account of kalops did not appear until the 18th century. Whether or not it was eaten in Sweden beforehand is unknown, but it has become a veritable staple. Kalops can be prepared in a few different ways. Some recipes take or leave the carrots and some prefer to swap in reindeer or elk in place of beef. The favored sides of pickled beets and boiled potatoes give the stew a bit of heft, and, thanks to all that allspice, a lively lift.

Making kalops is a great way to bring spice and warmth into your kitchen during the colder months. It is easy to make if you have the right ingredients and it just might become a familiar favorite if made often enough.