I love finding and making centuries-old recipes that sound like they’d be really good, and discovering they are! Danish Frikadelle or frikadeller are somewhat flattened egg-shaped ground pork/veal/beef meatballs. They’re first mentioned in a hand-written Danish cookbook around the 13th century and more recently in an 1837 cookbook. For some odd reason, I thought they were German, but after doing a bit of research, I discovered they’re popular all across Europe and known by slightly different names in each region. There’s even a version in India due to Danish influence, but those are made with potatoes.
I didn’t realize the recipe I’d followed the first time wasn’t as close to the original as I thought it was. I’d overlooked the text where the author said it had been updated to suit her family’s tastes. Turns out, my family liked her version, but I didn’t precisely follow her instructions by making up a gajillion tiny meat patties and frying them all in a skillet. I made one big patty on a jellyroll pan and baked it in the oven then cut them into little squares. They tasted great and I saved myself a boat-load of time and trouble. 🤗
I serve them with the updated gravy, the historically accurate boiled potatoes, beets or fried red cabbage, and added a side of egg noodles because Jimmie loves them. 😊 You can cut the gravy recipe in half, but if you’re serving noodles, you might need more sauce rather than less.
Danish Frikadelle “Meatballs”
- 1 1/2 lb 90/10 ground beef
- 1 1/2 lb ground pork
- 1 1/2 cups flour
- 1 cup quick oats (or very fine breadcrumbs)
- 3 eggs
- 1 large onion, very finely diced
- 2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp pepper
- 1 tsp allspice, optional
- 1 1/2 cups milk
- butter and/or vegetable oil for frying
Mix the pork and beef together in a large bowl then mix in the eggs, onion, and milk.
Add the breadcrumbs or oats, salt, pepper, and allspice and mix well. Sprinkle the flour over the mixture and incorporate with your hands.
The mixture should be very moist, but not dripping. Add more milk if too dry or flour if too wet. The more you mix the better the mixture will taste.
Cover and let rest in the fridge for an hour or so.
Use a non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Melt a 3-4 tablespoons of butter or oil or a mixture of both.
Dip an oval soup spoon in the melted butter or oil. Scoop up some meat and smash against the side of the bowl to make a flattened egg-shaped meatball. Slide the frikadelle off the spoon and into the pan. Careful not to splash up hot oil. Cook several meatballs at a time, 4-5 minutes on each side til browned and cooked through the center.
Add more butter/oil as needed to cook all frikadelle. Keep warm on a papertowel lined platter while making the gravy.
For the Gravy:
- 4 tbsp butter or oil left in the pan
- 4 tbsp unbleached flour
- 4 cups milk
- Salt and pepper to taste
Bring leftover oil to boil and sprinkle the flour over the surface. Stir constantly while cooking to make a smooth, thickened mixture.
Stir in the milk and bring back to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and cook, stirring constantly for 7-9 minutes, or until the gravy has reached your desired consistency.
Serve the frikadelle with any of these – parsley potatoes, egg noodles, German potato salad, pickled beets, sweet pickles, cooked cabbage, or mashed potatoes. Whatever floats your boat, really. 😋
*Pictures shown are of 3 lbs. of meat mixture.
I hope you give this recipe a try and find it as delicious as we do. You can also check out another of my historical recipe posts such as Toad in the Hole vs. One-Eyed Jack!
Happy eating! 😊