Frikadeller (Danish Style)

I was about 9 years old when I had my first love affair with Fridkadeller.  I was still living in Japan, and I was over at my Danish friend’s house for a sleepover.  My friend’s mother made what looked like Japanese style hamburgers, but they tasted so different.  I love Japanese hamburgers, but I was falling in love with these Danish “hamburgers”.  I think I surprised my friend’s mother by eating more than she expected that night.

Who knew that close to 30 years would pass until I was introduced to my first love.  It all started when I reconnected with my Danish friend and began swapping recipes (where frikadeller was one of the recipes she gave to me).  Then my family and I visited Denmark where we fully indulged in the delectable Danish cuisine.  Let me tell you, Danish pork, butter and cheese are the best!!  Oh, how I miss them…

Just as there are different variations of meatloaves across America, there are different variations of frikadeller.  This is the recipe I inherited from my friend, and I have made this countless times now.  This is one of my family’s favorite meal!! 

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Most often, frikadellers are accompanied with boiled potatoes, gravy, and some sort of vegetables (most often creamed cabbage and/or beets).  I made my red cabbage, apple, beet & broccoli slaw, but feel free to put any salad/veg as sides.

Yields 4 servings:

Frikadeller:
1 pound ground pork
1 small onion, grated
1 egg
1/2 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup milk
1 Maggi cube
salt & pepper, to taste
butter, for frying

**I don’t use Maggi Cube at all (except to make this dish) : Maggi Cube is a concentrated flavoring cube (comes in beef, chicken, vegetable, seafood, etc). It’s not a “healthy” option, but it’s so tiny I allow myself to use it for this dish. I only use “beef” flavor. I’ve used Chicken flavor for frikadeller, but it didn’t taste the same.  You can do without it (I’m sure), but I want to stick with the recipe my friend gave to me:-)  I also have been lazy trying to experiment not using Maggi cube, I’m sure I can substitute with beef stock or something like that.  You can purchase Maggi cube at any supermarket, but most often I’ve seen them in Latin American and Asian markets. 

Soak the Maggi cube in milk until it’s soft enough to crush and mix.  Add the oatmeal and let it sit for about 15 minutes.

Aside from the butter, combine all the ingredients and mix well; keep it in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes to an hour.  The mixture will have semi-wet and loose consistency, don’t worry. 

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Potatoes:
About 6-8 small to medium sized potatoes

Meanwhile, cook the potatoes in a medium sized pot until done.  I usually keep the skin on.  By leaving the skin on the moisture stays inside the potatoes, also it’s fairly easy to peel the skin off once the potatoes are cooked.  My family likes potato skin so they like the skin on. 

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Take the meat mixture out from the refrigerator.  Heat the pan and add about 3 Tablespoons of butter.  When the butter melts and the pan is hot, take a spoon (preferably a size of serving spoon) and dip it in the butter.

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Now, dip this spoon into the meat mixture and scoop some mixture and place it in the pan.  Flatten the top and try to form into oblong patty.  Repeat the process.  Add more butter as you cook more patties.

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Fry about 5-6 minutes each side, until browned. 

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Gravy:
Potato water
1 cup milk (1% and up; no skim milk)
1 Maggi cube
2-3 teaspoons Cornstarch

When all the patties are cooked, ladle enough potato water into the pan so that it’s about 1/2 inch deep.  Add the Maggi cube, and when it softens blend it into the water. 

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Mix the cornstarch and milk together and add into the water mixture.  Stir gently, and once the gravy thickens transfer to a bowl. 

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My opinion:

I always make double portion!  My family absolutely can’t get enough of this.  My husband remembers his mother (3rd generation German) making the German version of frikadeller.  For him, this brings back his childhood memories. 

I feel fortunate to be able to have many “adopted” countries where I was able to eat and learn how to cook these delicious dishes from my friends and relatives.  I hope to post more Danish recipes!!  As time permits, hopefully I’ll be able to post more Indian, Japanese, and Korean dishes too!!

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