Citizens, your beloved peripatetic (in both definitions of the word) leader has just returned from a trade show in Las Vegas with a number of Norwegian friends, and this recipe is for them! 🙂
In Norway, meatballs are called kjøttboller (lit. “meatbuns”). The influence from Swedish meatballs is such that they are even often referred to as “köttbullar” (which is the Swedish-language term), though usually jokingly (Norwegians aren’t typically overly fond of Swedes, due to their turbulent history) or because the meatballs were actually purchased in Sweden, which is common in areas close to the Swedish border.
When Charles XII of Sweden was in exile in Istanbul in the early 18th century, he took the recipe for “Swedish” meatballs back to Sweden. Meatballs come in a few different types, all typically small, and the international influence is great, perhaps the greatest influences from Sweden and Spain.
They are usually eaten with potatoes or pasta, or both. Some common additions are various vegetables, ketchup, various spices, etc. “Kjøttkaker” (lit. “meatcakes”) is a much larger and different related dish, and is perhaps more traditional and also common, which is much larger in size and made of different things in a different way (and the two should not be confused).
Kjøttkaker are often served with potatoes and peas (either could be mashed). Kjøttboller is typically fried, a process which takes only very few minutes because of their size, whereas kjøttkaker are typically part of a mix which includes a brown sauce and often potatoes.
This is a classic Christmas dish in Norway, and I have adjusted the recipe to my satisfaction and with one highly eccentric ingredient that you can easily leave out (it’s available from Etsy here). My version of the gravy includes both dark beer and some delicious Norwegian gjetost cheese (easily found in most supermarkets) to help thicken and flavor the gravy.
Battle on – The GeneralissimoPrint
The Hirshon Norwegian Meatballs with Gravy – Kjøttkaker Med Brunsaus
- Total Time: 0 hours
- 1/2 pound lean ground beef
- 1/3 pound ground pork
- 1/3 pound ground veal (if veal is unavailable you can replace it with more beef and pork)
- 1 egg
- 2/3 cups rye bread crumbs (preferred) or for a modern touch, try Panko bread crumbs
- 1/2 cup whole milk
- 1/2 large onion, grated on a box grater
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1/2 tsp. ground pepper
- 1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
- 1/4 tsp. ground ginger
- 1/4 tsp. allspice
- 6 Tbs. butter (TFD prefers ghee for this recipe to avoid burning the butter solids)
- 1/4 cup flour
- 4 cups beef broth
- 1/2 onion, skin removed but left intact
- 1/4 cup sour cream
- 2 Tbs. dark beer
- 2 tsp. Spruce tip syrup – highly optional
- Several dashes gravy browning agent such as Kitchen Bouquet
- 3 thin slices of gjetost, Norwegian brown goat cheese – in the States, try Ski Queen brand
- Additional salt and pepper to taste
- Minced parsley to garnish
- Lingonberry jam to garnish
- In an electric mixer, combine together the ground meats and the egg until combined. Form a well in the middle and add the breadcrumbs, then pour the milk onto the breadcrumbs and allow to sit for a minute or two to soften them.
- Next add the spices and grated onion and whip the meats, crumbs, milk, and flavorings together for several minutes until very well combined and lightened in texture.
- Form the meat into balls about the size of golf balls then flatten them gently so they more resemble a hockey puck.
- Heat 2 Tbs. butter (add additional if needed) in a large Dutch oven and fry the “meatballs”, carefully turning until they are well browned on all sides. Make sure they each get a really nice brown crust. Do not crowd the meatballs in the pan, you will probably have to fry them in a couple batches to make sure they don’t steam each other.
- Once all of the meatballs have been well browned, return them all to the Dutch oven, add the half onion (the half that’s been left intact), and pour broth over them, using enough broth to cover them halfway. Simmer until they are cooked through, about 20 minutes. Remove from heat and remove the onion.
- To make the gravy, in a saucepan over medium-low heat, melt 4 Tbs. of butter.
- Stir in the flour to make a roux and allow to cook for a minute or two to take away any raw flour flavor. Then (this is the slightly tricky part), bit by bit, whisk the broth so that the meatballs were cooking in into the roux, whisking vigorously to prevent clumping.
- If you didn’t use all of the broth to cook the meatballs, add any remaining broth to the gravy and bring to a boil, stirring all the while. Immediately turn to a low simmer and cook until thickened. Whisk in the sour cream, beer, gravy browner, spruce tip syrup (if using) and gjetost. Stir in salt and pepper to taste.
- Allow to cook on very low heat for another couple of minutes, tasting and adjusting any of the flavorings to taste.
- Pour the gravy over the meatballs to cover them, then serve accompanied by potatoes and sweet and sour red cabbage.
- Prep Time: 0 hours
- Cook Time: 0 hours
- Category: Recipes
- Calories: 678.23 kcal
- Sugar: 5.12 g
- Sodium: 1213.35 mg
- Fat: 49.43 g
- Saturated Fat: 24.43 g
- Trans Fat: 1.63 g
- Carbohydrates: 22.75 g
- Fiber: 1.67 g
- Protein: 35.02 g
- Cholesterol: 187.19 mg
We are sorry that this post was not useful for you!
Let us improve this post!
Tell us how we can improve this post?
Grete Lien Stenvold
Dette var ei komplisert oppskrift!
Nils Andreas Erstad
No, no, no! It is not “kjøttboller.” The proper name is *kjøttkaker*.
Angående KOMPLISERT oppskrift! 😛 Hvorfor gjøre det lett!? 😀 https://food52.com/recipes/6239-mom-s-norwegian-meatballs-with-gravy-kjottkaker-med-brunsaus
A typical christmas dish? I wonder where. Nå er vel kjøttkaker mer vanlig her enn kjøttboller.