Thursday, February 09, 2012

Danish cooking: it's messy.

First you go to the local butcher and ask for a pound of ground pork, the leanest possible, run through the grinder four times. No more, no less. Four times.

Then you get a pound of veal, run through the grinder twice.

Run home, put that in the fridge, and run out again for the following:

1. White bread with which to make breadcrumbs
2. Sour cream, heavy cream, dill, and selzer
3. Cloves, pepper, and salt
4. Frozen red currants (you have NO IDEA how hard it is to find frozen red currants) and raspberries
5. Unsalted Danish butter, Lurpak brand.

When you get home with all that glory, you'll do the following:

Mix half a cup of flour, two eggs, half a cup of heavy cream, half a cup of selzer, and about a cup of breadcrumbs with the meats. Add a smidgen of salt, a buttload of pepper, and a couple of pinches of cloves. Knead it all together and stick it in the fridge.

Put your currants (two packages) and raspberries (ditto) into a nice, heavy stockpot with enough water to keep them from burning. Simmer until everything's soft. Blend the mess in your blender (being careful not to let it explode out of the top), and then strain it through a strainer lined with cheesecloth. Twice.

Return it to the rinsed stockpot with a quarter-cup of cornstarch mixed with water, and simmer until the mixture begins to look gelled. Then pour it into an appropriate container and refrigerate.

Look around your kitchen and marvel at the red splotches everywhere.

Now it's time for meatballs. Grab a golfball-sized hunk of meat mixture out of the bowl and shape it into something like a flattened egg. Repeat eleven times, then fry the meatballs in a third of the butter you bought. Repeat twice more. While you're doing that, you can plan out mincing up the dill and mixing it into the sour cream to make a dill sauce.

While those frikadeller are frying, why not try to clean up some of the fruit splash from your counter, backsplash, stove, table, and person? Well, why not? Because it'll never work. Just learn to live with red splashes every-damn-where.

Remember dimly how your Danish host mother managed to do both frikadeller and fresh ham and rodgrod med flode without making the kitchen a horrible mess, and without spilling stuff on herself. Gaze around your own kitchen and marvel at the number of sieves and pots you've used at this point, only halfway through. Load the dishwasher. Pour yourself some aquavit.

Consider pickling your own beets to go with the frikadeller and roasted potatoes, then dismiss the idea.

Consider repainting the kitchen walls in a glorious, vibrant shade of pink. Consider it twice.

Eat a hot dog, drink a beer, go to bed.

13 comments:

Comrade PhysioProf said...

Sounds delicious!! I will definitely try this. But I have a few questions:

(1) You eat the meatballs with the fruit jelly?

(2) When you fry the meatballs in butter, how long should it take to cook all the way through?

(3) Why would you eat a hot dog, drink a beer, and go to bed, instead of eating the meatballs you just made????

IMQTPI said...

Kinda reminds me of the time I tried to make authentic Bavarian Food. Specifically: Rotkohl (red cabbage). By the time I was done, I think CSI was ready to move in to collect trace evidence from the recent-murder that clearly *must* have occurred in my kitchen!

Jo said...

Kamerade: You do not eat the meatballs with the fruit jelly. You eat the meatballs with a dill and sour cream sauce, roasted potatoes, and pickled beets.

The fruit jelly is for dessert, with sweetened whipped cream.

As for the meatball cooking time, call it ten to fifteen minutes (and yes, I know that's a delta of fifty percent) over medium heat, depending on the thickness of your meatballs and the sturdiness of your frying pan.

And I couldn't eat the meatballs because I'm saving them for the Annual U. N. dinner at work. *sigh*

JeCaThRe said...

If you're Swedish you do eat the fruit jelly (lingonberry) with the meatballs, pickles and mashed potatoes. There's even some lingonberry preserves in the cream sauce you simmer the meatballs in. All the flavors work together. It sounds strange until you remember that there was a time right here in the US where no party was complete without a crockpot full of meatballs simmering in a sauce made of ketchup and grape jelly.

Thatgirl said...

Why do Scandinavians think it is so funny to make non-Scandinavians say rodgrod med flode? My husbands family thinks it is hilarious, I wonder just how badly I'm butchering it :) Oh well, at least it is tasty!

NurseJannie said...

I am SO proud of you Jo. I make frikadeller all the time but I haven't made rødgrød from scratch since I was a little girl helping out my grandmother. Hope it was tasty ;-)

Chocolatesa said...

Yay Scandinavian food! And yes Swedes eat lingonberry jam with lots of things, including meatballs. This sounds so yummy!

Oh, and this: http://theoatmeal.com/comics/cook_home

I don't know why it's not working for me right now, I don't know if their website is down, if it is please check back later as that comic is great :D

darev2005 said...

Hee hee hee! Reminds me of a Thanksgiving many years ago. My wife had torn her Achilles tendon and was in a cast, but still insisted on making Thanksgiving dinner. She made a big bowl of orange jell-o with fruit in it and had turned to put it in the fridge to cool. She tripped with the cast and fell (didn't hurt herself, luckily) and orange jell-o went everywhere. Four years later when we moved out, we were still finding little spatters of orange....

Margaret said...

Glad you're back. I missed you!

messymimi said...

Sounds delicious, but it makes me glad my background is more Mediterranean. When i cook it, it's not so messy.

Neither is the Cajun stuff i fix frequently, thank goodness.

Rosanna said...

And I thought the Neurological System and Neurological Intensive Care Nursing were *intricate* and *complex*!! They don't hold a CANDLE to----Danish cooking, though, (haha)!!

The Danish foods that multi-talented you~~(and everyone else, Above)~~have made/mentioned, Jo, just sound so, SO good!! From Food.Com, I found a Danish/Norwegian dessert recipe for "Peasant Girls In The Mist - Scandinavian Apple And Cream Pudding," which sounds/looks really great: it's NAME somehow (??) reminds me of myself, though, in the ancient days............ i.e., at the beginning OF my nursing career, (haha)!!:

http://www.food.com/recipe/peasant-girls-in-the-mist-scandinavian-apple-and-cream-pudding-235021/photo

Comrade PhysioProf said...

Excellent! Thanks for the clarifications!

Anonymous said...

Hi Jo,

I'm back in 1972, eating frikadeller
with my host family in Silkeborg! The second I read.'to the butcher's for lean pork, I knew what was coming. Tx for the trip back.

Fay