Foodie Tuesday: Nothing Freaky about Frikadeller

Kjøttkaker, as they’re known in my Norwegian-descended (and oh, how far we can descend!) family, or frikadeller, as the Danes and some other ‘cousins’ of ours call them, are simply and literally seasoned ground (minced) meat cakes. My husband finds them strange because they aren’t cozied up inside a hamburger bun, since that’s pretty much what the patties are, though usually on a slightly smaller scale. He finds it equally strange to serve them without a nice tomato-based sauce over the top of some beautiful fresh pasta, since again, they’re pretty much meatballs too, though usually on a slightly larger scale. And they certainly aren’t meatloaves, being far too teensy to serve sliced to anyone without smirking at the sheer silliness of it, though it might be worth it just to watch their expressions, while you counted out five peas per person alongside the meat and baked one fingerling potato for each. In any case, it’s really no surprise that these little dandies should suffer an identity crisis on this side of the pond.

Truth be told, said spouse isn’t a huge fan of ground meats outside of some favorite places where they commonly lurk, as in the previously mentioned hamburgers, or as meatballs in pasta sauce, or in a nicely spicy taco filling. The texture isn’t all that appealing to him without some distracting vehicle or accompaniment. I will have to continue on my search for some other alternatives or just know that any kjøttkaker cooked up around here are all mine for the munching. Hmm, was I thinking there was anything wrong with that scenario? How ridiculous!

Because I do like a nice chopped meat treat of one sort or another occasionally. So I made up a batch the other day. These are no more than a lightly-mixed blend of equal parts ground beef, veal and pork (about a half pound each, I suppose) with a couple of eggs to bind them and boost their nutrients a bit, some salt, black pepper, smoked paprika, ground coriander and a nice toss of shredded Parmesan for a touch of textural variety. I oven-baked them (in bacon fat, because I’m a flavor-holic), having made a big enough batch to freeze a bunch and have a few left in the fridge for weekday meals in the short term. Then I stuck the ones headed for supper into the skillet where the side-dishes were waiting, so all would arrive together hot at the table.photoWhile the patties were roasting, I’d cooked up a nice big batch of crimini mushrooms in butter and my homemade bone broth, set them aside and lightly cooked some nice thin green beans in the fat of the pan, and then layered it all back up together. While the vegetable portion of the program rested a moment, I’d taken the meat patties out of the oven, poured off the fat and scooped up all of those nice meaty drippings into a little container where I whipped them up with some heavy cream. The drippings were already plenty well seasoned and nicely condensed by their medieval-hot-tub adventures in the oven, so I had Instant Gravy of a kind you’re not likely to find in a packet of powdered whatsis on your grocery’s shelf. Which is to say, rich and flavorsome enough even for the likes of me.photoAll I added at table were some nice little fresh tomatoes to add a bit of color both to the plating and to the palate, a brightener welcome alongside the warmth and savory goodness of the rest. A little shot of sunshine is always welcome, whether in the kitchen or on the grinning face of someone happily gobbling up what’s served for

47 thoughts on “Foodie Tuesday: Nothing Freaky about Frikadeller

  1. My husband is very reluctant to accept any change to his usual recipe. Traditional recipes must be made the same way every time. I can express my creativity in other recipes but old favorites have to stay the same lol MEN!

    • Yes, it makes me laugh too! I’m a stubborn traditionalist about some things as well, but mostly not foods. 🙂 I suppose if I were a Supertaster like my spouse I’d find it harder to get used to lots of edible things, so I’m quite happy to have just an average number of tastebuds!

    • Thank you, Bella. I look forward to them sometimes too simply because then I at least know what general category my topic for the day should fit!! Also because they provide a convenient excuse for loving to eat . . .

  2. I love patties and when i order a hamburger i always put the bun in a baggie for my chickens and eat the burger! Of course it is more fun to order the burger without the bun but it takes too long to explain! These look good. I have never eaten veal but I do have some minced elk in the freezer along with the pork and the beef!?.. That is kind of norwegian isn’t it? c

    • That is *highly* Scandinavian. Yummy! Elk, moose, venison . . . the nice thing with a “recipe” like this is that it could be made with virtually any minced meat or combination of them, not to mention all of the other chopped, shredded and/or minced goodies one can work into them. That might even qualify as thrifty enough to be *truly* Norwegian, if my great-aunt Anna was any example!

    • I don’t know if it applies in your situation, but if like me you have a daytime schedule that keeps you occupied in looking after your partner, you might like this sort of thing for the same reason I do: it’s not only simple, satisfying fare (and not too exotic for taste and digestion traumatized by meds and health) but easy to do in freeze-and-fix batches so busy days still see us fed.

  3. Unless the buns are something beyond special, I’d be more than happy to eat these just as they are — with a little pasta on the side, of course, for good measure. Although I may dip my toe into Scandinavian waters, the rest of my foot will always remain in The Boot.
    “I yam what I yam.” (P. T. Sailor)

    • I presume Popeye was Fiorentino, given that attachment to greens of his. Not a bad attachment at all, that. 🙂

      I’d say my buns *are* something special, but that would be bragging and much too personal, I suppose 😉 –can’t think of any time when I wouldn’t choose pasta rather than a dull burger bun, so perhaps my Viking ancestors wandered southward from time to time?

  4. These sound good. I like to have an occasional hamburger but usually leave the bap behind on my plate. It is always good to learn about other food cultures that I am little exposed to (no Norwegian restaurants in Ireland that I know of). Thanks

    • Though Scandinavian cuisine is getting a lot of press in the contemporary critiques as a rich resource, the old-school stuff, most especially as translated and transported to other lands, was fairly modest and sometimes admittedly dull. Those who were privileged to eat with great cooks knew better, but basing restaurants on meatballs, boiled potatoes and cabbage seemed a pretty dubious enterprise! Delicious as those are when prepared well, they’re just too limited a palette for most palates. Some of the same bad rap, in fact, that used to be applied to the cuisine of Britain, before “outside” people figured out how rich and varied the British kitchen really could be.

  5. YUMMMMM….you’ve made my mouth water….and you make everything look artful!! (Go figure) Methinks you should create a Foodie Tuesday Cookbook! I’d buy it!!

    Cheers, Celebrity Chef Kathryn!! Gracie 🙂

    • As I’ve admitted in these ‘pages’, food photography is an art I’m far from comfortable with, but at least if my love for food comes through then it’s not such a big deal! Come and get it, Darlin’!!

    • We can all hope I keep learning about presentation, both in the plating and the photographing of food, but I’m happier with this one than some of the past posts, so there may be reason for optimism! Just remind me to leave out the ‘shrooms when I cook for you, Honeychile. Remember my predilection for serving increasing multitudes of separate ingredients according to the number of folk around the table!

    • Good! I hope you enjoy it greatly. It’s simple comfort food.

      I can’t claim Foodie Tuesday–I’ve seen other bloggers using it, so I just co-opted the concept so I’d have *one* day a week where I knew my general topic for conversation! So you can try *that* out next week too, if you like!!

    • Heehee, I guess I’ll have to remember to serve *you* the mushrooms that our Bookchick friend doesn’t want on her plate when we all gather around the table!

      I’m glad if you got some inspiration here; you so often give it to *me* in *your* blog!

    • I may have to ‘fess up tomorrow to how NON-wonderful I can be in the kitchen, if you talk that way! But yes, this is old-fashioned comfort food, which is always a crave-able thing.

  6. that’s a lovely treat! I particularly love the fresh tomato at the end which i believe balace nicely with the meat dish! Oh, and may I introduce a page to you,

    Share Dish is recently started up by a friend of mine, very small community, but they share a dish they cooked. If you’re interested , they will be delighted to have you share yours 🙂

    • Thank you, Kath! I will certainly look them up, though I’m not sure I’d have the confidence to share my cooking outside of my safe circle of friends here. 🙂

      As Marie (not coincidentally, “gardenfreshtomatoes”) noted up above, tomatoes are like a juicy candy treat, so yes, they add a wonderful bright, contrasting note to an otherwise all-savory plate.

  7. I like Gracie’s suggestion of a Foodie Tuesday Cookbook … the photographs really help build the story of the meal, and make it impossible not to want to take just a tiny taste.

    • I can hardly look at cookbooks without lots of color pictures–I really do eat with my eyes and my imagination! Maybe the site Katharine suggests above is a similar thing, so I’m looking forward to checking it out!!

      Meanwhile, I thank you for coming by and joining in the conversation. I really appreciate it. Your blog is overwhelmingly powerful–and despite the sometimes incredibly dark matter, I still mean that in a very good way. I have just begun to read there but know I will learn a great deal, both about how to live life courageously and about impressive writing.

      • Thank you for the very generous and kind words about my blog. It really does help to know that even though the writing is sometimes dark and wrought with pain, that there are people who are drawing strength from what I write. I struggle against whether it is appropriate to reveal some of the subject matter, and yet I feel compelled to speak the truth. Thank you for sharing some encouragement. Much appreciated.

        “A little shot of sunshine is always welcome, whether in the kitchen or on the grinning face of someone happily gobbling up what’s served for supper.’ (or when someone reaches out to share a smile)

    • I had no idea! Isn’t it fascinating how recipes, words and all sorts of other cultural treasures cross borders!! I’ll have to look up frikadelki and try my hand at the proper seasoning and accompaniments for those. Thank you for the new food fun! 🙂

    • Perhaps you will share with me what your favorite foods and preparations are, sometime. There are so many amazing and wonderful things that we all learn as we are introduced to the very basic foods familiar to others.

  8. Well, isn’t that a pretty dish to set before the queen! I’d say you just took humble meat patties and elevated them a couple notches Kathryn!

    • Thank you, Antoinette! I get no credit–just played with what I’ve learned from wiser and more experienced cooks along the way, but I *am* glad (not to mention relieved) when the play is actually edible or better yet, kind of tasty! 🙂

    • I eat pretty much whenever I get within a fork’s length of something that seems digestible. But as for the neighborly visits, why you can just come and eat whenever you’re hungry, my dear, any time at all!! As I said, there’s a batch of these babies in the freezer just waiting for their destiny . . . 🙂

  9. My goodness, but you are such an astonishing food writer, Kathryn:) I could just imagine every step of the way, every scent, every drop of bacon fat and felt the heat of your hot pans… I think this is the true gift, not just cooking and baking but being able to describe it in such tantalizing and unique detail:) What a lovely dish, sans bun, sans tortilla shell, sans pasta… Lovely on it’s own and “low carb” I might add! xoxo Smidge

    • Low carb *is* the aim for now, but if it doesn’t appeal to the old taste buds it’s not going to help the campaign. As for your compliments, I can think of no one I’d apply that exact praise to more than you. Good gracious, that pink ruffled cake extravaganza wrapped up in poetry, prose, documentary and sweet humor! I almost faint from happiness just reviewing it in my mind and tasting it with my whole soul now!! (And probably more safely at that, given the carbs *there* 😉 !) But I suppose if they’re Barb Carbs they’re completely harmless, kind of like calories eaten on holiday or that extra glass of wine taken in extra good company. 🙂

    • “TGFP”–Thank God for Photoshop! Red is such a killer, isn’t it! I struggle with it all the time. (Don’t even get me started on poinsettias and red roses!) This time I monkeyed with the contrast, the color range and intensity so far that it was kind of a wreck as a ‘straight’ photo and I ended up using some Filter effects to convert it to a painting just so it would be readable again. Lots of trial and error. I’m glad you think it worked. 🙂

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