I must still have Denmark on the mind leftover from Solvang. I was looking up the correct spelling of medisterpolse for the medisterpolse post when frikadeller caught my eye. I had no idea what a frikadeller was but it sure was fun to say. Frikadeller! Frickadeller! Frickadeller! Sounds like a swear word. Okay, that's a bit juvenile.
After reading up on these things, I learned they are simply, Danish meatballs. Now, having been to IKEA I've consumed my share of Swedish meatballs. No assembly required. (If they're from IKEA they must be authentic right?) but Danish meatballs? This was new to me. I was intrigued and had to try them out.
What is it about the universal appeal of meatballs and gravy? It seems to be one of those meals that every culture has a version of. Take ground meat, roll it up, cook it, add gravy of choice. Easy. Actually come to think of it, in the old days, dishes like this were probably created as an economical way to utilize all the left over scraps of meat after all the good cuts were used up. If these balls of mystery meat contained offal or other strong flavors, they could be masked with spices and a ladle of gravy. Moreover, if you had a few extra mouths to feed, no worries, just throw in more breadcrumbs, rice or *insert filler here* and you now have enough to go around. Good kitchen economics at work here.
Nowadays, we have the luxury of using the choice stuff even when it comes to the lowly meatball. For my version of frikadeller I used ground beef, breadcrumbs, an egg, some diced onion and seasoned the mixture with ground nutmeg, salt and pepper. We ate them with the traditional sides of braised red cabbage with bacon and parseleyed potatoes. A simple gravy was made with the deglazed frikadeller pan scrapings and poured all over everything.
Whether you call them schnitzla, koenigsberger klops, albondigas, or polpette, (all as much fun to say as frikadeller by the way) meatballs are a hearty, flavorful and economical meal.