I know what you’re thinking. It’s something like this – “Seriously, Russ? You already have an awesome Swedish Meatball recipe in your cookbook. Way to put a new coat of paint on your old favorites.”
First of all, thanks for the compliment. Second, these meatballs are a little different. For example, Danish Frikadeller are often smashed and look more like little patties than those little round balls you might be expecting. Think of them as Denmark’s LEGOs (probably their coolest invention) vs. Sweden’s crescent wrench (also a cool invention); both are useful, but serve slightly different purposes.
The recipe itself differs from Swedish meatballs in that I found that adding a bit of tapioca starch makes the balls stick together really well, and they’re pretty delightfully spongy, too. I also played around with the spices until I found something that delivered a distinctive Old-World taste while using common pantry items.
Danish Meatballs (Frikadeller) - Paleo, Primal, Gluten-Free
2 tbsp ghee
1/2 onion, blended
1 lb ground beef
1 lb ground pork
1 egg, beaten
2 tbsp tapioca starch
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp ground allspice
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1 dash ground cloves
1 dash ground ginger
1 dash ground mustard
1. In a skillet, heat 1 tbsp of the ghee over med/low heat until melted. Blend the onion and add it to the skillet, stirring into the butter. Sauté until translucent, about 3 minutes, then set aside to cool for 5 minutes. Once cool, combine with the remaining meatball ingredients in a large mixing bowl until well-mixed. Form into 1.5″ balls then smash into patties. You should be able to make about 12 to 15 patties.
2. Preheat the oven to 200F. Return the skillet to the stovetop, and heat the remaining 1 tbsp of ghee over medium heat. Add some of the patties to the skillet without overcrowding; I fit five patties in my 12″ skillet. Pan-fry until cooked through, about 8 minutes total, flipping halfway through. Place the cooked patties on a plate lined with paper towels and keep warm in the 200F oven while you cook the other batches. Add more ghee as needed.
3. Once the patties are done, let’s prepare the gravy. Add the butter (or more ghee) to the pan, which should have all sorts of brown crispy bits stuck on it (which is good). Add the rice flour and stir with the melted butter; sauté until toasted, about 2 minutes. Stir in half of the broth, scraping up those brown crispy bits; simmer until thickened, adding more broth to thin the gravy to your desired consistency. Taste, adding salt and pepper as needed, then remove from the heat; return the patties to the skillet and coat with the gravy, then serve.
** Serve with boiled or mashed potatoes, pickles, and maybe some red cabbage.
Velbekomme! (that means Bon Appetit in Danish)