The television series Vikings is returning to the History channel, so as a tribute to my Norwegian heritage I am sharing an old family recipe. My grandfather, Jake, was born in North Dakota in 1908 as a first generation Norwegian-American. Over the years he taught me some valuable lessons about making delicious meatballs; you should always use good quality lean meat, don’t over pack the meatballs and there is no such thing as too much salt. One of the more unique things about this recipe is potato onion filler. If you are a salt loving, meat and potato connoisseur this is a must try recipe. If you REALLY want to get your Norwegian on, roll up some Lefse for dessert, see recipe below.
½ Medium Onion, minced
2 lbs. lean Ground Beef
1 lbs. lean Ground Pork
1 Medium White Idaho Potato, peeled and minced
1 tsp Salt
1 tsp Celery Salt
2 tsp Seasoned Salt
½ tsp Black Pepper
Vegetable Oil for browning
2 Large Yellow Onions, chopped
3 Beef Bouillon Cubes
1 tsp Salt
1 tsp Black Pepper
Mince the onion and 1 whole peeled potato. It is critical to the texture to mince the potato into the smallest possible pieces; smaller than dice or chop. I suggest using a quality chef knife rather than a food processor since most food processors will start to puree the potato under ¼” dice. In a large bowl combine minced onion, potato, salt, celery salt, seasoned salt, pepper and egg.
Add the ground beef and ground pork to the onion/potato mixture. I prefer to combine ground meat on a sheet pan. I break my ground meat into ¼ lb. increments and place them on the pan. Then I put the potato mix on top and fold the meat mixture into itself by hand. This prevents an overworked product. Transfer the mixture back to the bowl and form the meat balls. One of the best ways to ensure all the meatballs are of similar size is to use a measured disher to scoop each portion from the bowl. This also prevents over working and speeds up the rolling process. Loosely roll the meatball in your hands and place them on the sheet pan. You will want all your meatballs rolled out before you start frying. At this point you may also want to prep your gravy ingredients and preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
Brown meatballs over medium high heat in a little vegetable oil in a sauté pan. If you use a non-stick pan you will need to reserve one or two meatballs and break them up for the “bits” used in the gravy. Transfer the meatballs to a baking dish and reserve the grease and pan.
Dissolve 3 beef bouillon cubes in one cup of hot water. Deglaze the meatball pan with about 1” of the bouillon mixture. If you used a non-stick pan, add in some of the reserved “bits” of meatball. Add the chopped onions and brown. Once browned add the remaining bouillon mixture, salt and pepper and simmer. Mix about 2 Tbsp flour with 1 cup of warm water. Slowly add flour slurry to the gravy while stirring and simmer until thickened. Pour gravy over meatballs and bake at 350O for one hour. Stir half way through baking.
Serve over mashed potatoes. And cozy up with your authentic Norwegian dish in front of the latest Vikings episode.
10 lbs. potatoes, peeled
½ cup Butter
1/3 cup Heavy Cream
1 Tbsp Salt
1 Tbsp White Sugar
2 ½ Cups All-Purpose Flour
Cover potatoes with water and cook until tender. Run hot potatoes through a potato ricer. Place into a large bowl. Beat butter, cream, salt, and sugar into the hot riced potatoes. Let cool to room temperature. Stir flour into the potato mixture. Pull off pieces of the dough and form into walnut size balls. Lightly flour a pastry cloth and roll out lefse balls to 1/8 inch thickness. Cook on a hot (400 degree) griddle, flipping once, until bubbles form and each side has browned. Place on a damp towel to cool slightly and then cover with damp towel until ready to serve. Serve with butter and sugar or with lingonberry preserves.
Or purchase lefse online at http://www.norslandlefse.com/