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Labskaus is a Hamburg specialty. It is a dish the sailors cooked on the fishing ships when they were out in the sea for weeks and months. Because there were no fridges or cooling systems on these ships, they had to use long-lasting ingredients such as pickles, red beet, eggs, potatoes, onions and beef that was cured in brine and is called corned beef. Nowadays we find this beef canned in supermarkets. But originally it is beef preserved with salt. The combination of these ingredients makes the dish called Labskaus which is served with potatoes and fried eggs, herring and pickles.


1 can corned beef (200-300g)
750 g potatoes
3 pickles
2 smaller onions
pickled red beets
salt, pepper to taste
1 dash ground all spice
butter for frying
some pickle liquid
4 eggs
4 herring filets (Matjesfilets, Bismarckheringe or Rollmöpse)


  1. Peel potatoes, cut in halves, boil them in salt water.
  2. Peel onions and chop onions fine, saute in butter until they are transparent.
  3. Add corned beef, saute covered for 3 min.
  4. Cut pickles in cubes, add to beef with some pickle liquid. Spice to taste.
  5. You can add chopped red pickled beet or serve it aside.
  6. Let simmer for about 10 min.
  7. Mash the boiled potatoes roughly (not fine like you do for mashed potatoes). Combine with the beef mix. If the mix is too firm add some more pickle liquid.
  8. Place on plates and serve with fried eggs, and herring of your choice.

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