Eat your beets – Biff à la Lindström

Your eyes are not deceiving you. Those are indeed some very rosy beef patties. Why? Because they’re mixed with chopped pickled beets. Not a beet lover? Perhaps it doesn’t matter. My kids have detested beets before now and they gobbled this up. Admittedly I broke up a patty for them and served it over full grain macaroni, but I still consider that to be a beet success story.

Biff à la Lindström has been a Swedish favorite since it was adapted here in 1862 by Henrik Lindström who grew up in Russia. He supposedly introduced the Russian tradition of mixing beets and capers into ground meat at the Hotel Witt restaurant in Kalmar, Sweden. The rest is history and now you can find Biff à la Lindström on restaurant menus throughout Sweden. It’s often a daily special and even makes appearances on school lunch menus.

My husband had mixed feelings about this dish growing up stating that “it’s not really meat, and not really beets…it’s kind of undefinable.” But I like beets, and beef, and capers, so I took a look at a couple of different recipes and came up with this version based on the ingredients I had on hand and what I thought would be the simplest preparation. It’s very easy to make and the result was tender, flavorful, and my husband said it was unusually good. With an endorsement like that, I had to share.

Biff à la Lindström
serves 4

For the beef
1 pound (450g) lean ground beef
1/3 (30g) cup rolled oats
1 tablespoon potato starch flour or cornstarch
3/4 cup (180ml) water
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 egg
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoons minced onion
3/4 cup (170g) pickled beets, finely chopped
2 tablespoons capers, finely chopped
4 tablespoons butter

For the sauce:
1 cup (240ml) water
1/2 beef bullion cube
splash of the beet liquid
splash of the caper liquid

1. Combine ingredients from the beef through the capers in a large mixing bowl and mix well using your hands.

2. Heat the butter over medium high heat in a non-stick frying pan until foaming. Form the beef mixture into 1/4″-1/2″ thick patties and fry them in the butter until browned and cooked through. About 2-4 minutes per side.

3. Remove the beef patties and cover to keep warm. Add 1 cup water (240ml), the crumbled bullion cube, and a splash of beet liquid and caper liquid to the cooking pan. Boil rapidly until the sauce thickens slightly and serve it with the meat patties. Keep in mind that the more beet juice you use in the sauce, the redder it will be. If the idea of red sauce doesn’t appeal to you, leave the beet juice out. Serve the meat patties and sauce with boiled potatoes.

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Categories: meat & game, recipes, Swedish classics


I moved to Sweden in 2008. This blog is for people who would like to learn more about Swedish food and culture.


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6 Comments on “Eat your beets – Biff à la Lindström”

  1. Marla Trowbridge
    November 18, 2011 at 12:02 am #

    hmmm… I have a bunch of beets I’ve pickled. I think we will be trying this one out very soon. I’ll let you know how it does here in little old Trenton.

    • November 18, 2011 at 7:04 am #

      I’ll be interested to hear how it works out for you, and also if your girls eat it! Mine love capers, but they couldn’t tell they were in there. And they didn’t flinch at the little beet pieces. I was amazed.

  2. Dad/bill
    November 18, 2011 at 5:14 am #

    Are you sure those are 1/4 inch patties? Look a bit thicker but it is a recipe I’ll try also.

    • November 18, 2011 at 7:06 am #

      I am not entirely certain since I didn’t measure them. 🙂 But I think you would be in good shape with anything between 1/4″ – 1/2″ and adjusting the cooking time accordingly. Let me know how it turns out for you. I thought this one might catch your eye.

  3. Ju
    February 10, 2014 at 2:18 am #

    You don’t needed “pickled” best, raw beet working just fine!

    • February 18, 2014 at 10:32 pm #

      Good to know that raw works too. Thanks for posting!

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