Kawan kawan, I’ve just returned from a visit to Denmark, where SS learnt about Viking warships and RN had a time of her life being pounced on by a French bulldog. The said dog belongs to friends who live in Denmark. The said dog is so happy to be in the company of RN, a little person that he couldn’t help but pounce on her every now and then. On his hind legs, he comes to almost the same height as RN and he’s not even a big dog. RN is a little parcel, all good and full of surprises!
In the Land of Danes, I learnt about love and family and the camaraderie of good friends. I also learnt to make meatballs, Danish way, with glasses of red wine in between. This recipe was passed down from Mr T’s mother to him. She in turn learnt it from her mother who in turn learnt it from hers. Hence, if you go down far enough in the matriarchal lineage of meatball recipes, you will see a long line of Viking women guarding and passing down their recipes of frikadeller with pride. Danish meatballs is as perfunctory as Bolognese sauce or ragù. And I don’t mean this in a demeaning way, for anything that is made at home is done out of love, even dishes as easy as frikadeller or ragù. Frikadeller is something a Danish mother makes when there is a packet of mince and a couple onions lying about the house. An Italian mother would make ragù similarly if said mince and onions are about the house. She will cook and stir a pot of ragù for hours, a meat sauce she will make on a daily basis and perhaps refrigerate what’s leftover for use on another occasion. Each Danish family has their version of frikadeller as each Italian household has its own version of ragù.
When asked what I’d like to sample in Denmark, I asked for meatballs since I’ve heard so much about Scandinavian meatballs on other occasions. On visits to Ikea, these are my favourite things to have at their café. I would purchase a pack or two of their frozen Swedish meatballs for emergency. They are such good things to have in the freezer when little tykes come to play and stay for dinner.
Mr T who hails from a pure Viking line does not have any sisters. So his mother who also comes from a matriarchal lineage of Viking women, passed her recipe down to him. He has guarded it with pride until my visit when he passed it to me. I have no claims to Viking blood except having been previously married to an Englishman whose daughter I bore, who has claims of Viking ancestry. If you ask SS, she’ll tell you that she is technically a quarter Viking! So that makes me technically the keeper of some Viking blood which makes me technically eligible for a good frikadeller recipe, in my books!
Mr T’s version of frikadeller consists of a mélange of pork and veal mince, mixed together with 2 grated onions, a clove of minced garlic and an egg to bind the meat mixture. The tear drop meat balls, shaped by two soup spoons, are then fried in butter until browned and well done.
My version consists of:
500g of minced veal
2 white onions, grated
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 tbsp of chives, finely chopped
3-4 fistfuls of oatmeal (I wear size 7 gloves, so take your measurements from there, kawan kawan)
1/2 tbsp of parsley, finely chopped
3 tbsp of créme fluide or milk
salt and pepper to taste
I’ve never grated onions before as I’ve never had use for onions in this way. Let me tell you this, kawan kawan, grating onions cause just as much tears as chopping and slicing them. I was in floods of tears by the time those two onions were grated. Even RN commented on how sad I was. Then she saw the onions and nodded her sage little head in comprehension and promptly left the kitchen. Wise little soul!
That done, I minced the garlic and added them to the bowl of minced veal that had already been seasoned with salt and pepper.
The grated onions are then added into this bowl, juice and all, with the herbs and oatmeal. The latter ingredient is very important in frikadeller as this will help keep the meat moist and succulent.
Using a kneading motion, make sure that the meat is massaged well with all the ingredients mentioned.
In a shallow frying pan, heat up some butter. Shape the meat mixture into tear drops with two soup spoons and place them one by one gently into the frying pan. Butter browns meat beautifully and once the meatballs have been browned on one side, turn them over gently, trying not to break them. You will know when the meatballs are done when they are firm and no longer have the tendency to break.
I had to do mine in two batches. So lots of butter later, and if you’ve done them right, your frikadeller should look like this:
I think I may have passed the frikadeller test. But that is not for me to say, of course. I am waiting for Mr T to comment, he being the true Viking and all. But having said that, the Italian wolfed his down as did the girls. Man, those friggin’ frikadellers were mums (yums in Danish)!