Fun fact: Restaurant Noma in Copenhagen is currently considered the number one restaurant in the world. Another fun fact: The renowned chef/owner of Noma, Rene Redzepi, is exactly one day younger than me.
I’m thinking of writing to him and asking if I can get a meal on the house. Since we’re practically twinsies not to mention the fact that I’m quite the Dankofile (yeah, I totally made that word up) I figure it’s the least he can do, right?
After graduating from college I spent six months living in Copenhagen and I fell absolutely in love with Denmark. I made great friends and have travelled back often to visit over the past decade. but surprisingly I’ve never made Danish food so the 26 Dishes project seems like a great place to start!
Today I’m making Frikadeller, Danish pork meatballs, which are a classic Danish dish. Keeping things traditional I’m serving them with potatoes, pickles and braised red cabbage, (though I’m using a red cabbage recipe I’ve made for years, but it’s very similar to Danish braised cabbage so whatevs).
I could write a novel before I get in to the recipe about why I love Denmark so much, but instead I’ll just show you in pictures that I’ve taken throughout the years. Enjoy!
1/2 cup cracker crumbs
1/4 cup whole milk, cream or half and half
1 medium onion; grated
1lb ground pork
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon cloves
salt and pepper to taste
4 tablespoons butter
Soak cracker crumbs in milk
Combine all ingredients except butter and mix well
Let mixture rest in the refrigerator for 30 minutes
Form mixture in to approximately 2 inch meatballs, wetting hands in between to keep meat from sticking, and flatten slightly
Melt butter in large frying pan over medium high heat
Cook meatballs about 5 minutes a side until cooked through
Frikadeller can be cooked in batches
FINAL VERDICT: B+
Like most traditional Danish food this meal isn’t fancy or nuanced, but it is hearty and tasty. I loved these because they tasted really authentic and reminded me of being back in Denmark. The pork is often mixed with veal, but I stopped eating vel when I was about 9 or 10, marking my first foray in to conscious eating. Even with just using pork and frying them in loads of butter, these frikadeller are surprisingly light.
Another reason to love Denmark is that they have some of the strictest food and agricultural standards in the world so, as with all my meat recipes, I really hope that you buy high quality, hormone and antibiotic free, ethically sourced pork such as Niman Ranch. And if you want to be truly Danish. make sure to wash down your frikadeller with lots and lots of beer!
My mom found this recipe in the NY Times about 300 years ago.
Braised Red Cabbage
- 1 medium-size red cabbage, about 2 pounds
- 3 Tablespoons butter
- 1/2 cup finely chopped onion
- 2 whole cloves
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 cup orange juice
In large pot over medium high heat melt 2 Tablespoons butter
Stir in onions until and saute until soft
Add cabbage, cloves and salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, 5 minutes
Add orange juice.
Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, 45 minutes
Stir in 1 Tablespoon butter and serve