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What are Frikadeller?

By Janis Adams
Updated May 17, 2024
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Served either cold or hot, frikadeller are pan-fried minced meatballs. This hearty and savory dish originated in Denmark. What makes frikadeller unique, when compared with other types of meatballs, is that they are flattened prior to cooking, rather than left round.

Frikadeller are most often made from a combination of different types of ground meat. Traditionally these meats included veal, beef, and pork. It is the combination of the three meats that is one of things that gives these pan fried meatballs their unique taste and texture.

The different types of meats are combined, and egg, bread crumbs, flour, and minced onion are then added to them. Some cooks will use a food processor to combine these ingredients to form a smooth paste, while others will simply employ the age-old technique of hand-mixing all the ingredients together. Whatever the technique for combining the ingredients, balls are then formed from the mixture in the size of approximately one heaping teaspoon, and then flattened. The flattened meatballs are then fried.

Once fried in butter in a hot skillet, the frikadeller develop a crispy outer layer with tender insides. Whether served hot or cold, these pan fried meatballs are most often served with some type of potato. If they are served cold, potato salad is frequently served along side of them. If they are served hot, they are often presented with boiled potatoes.

After the frikadeller have been pan fried, if they are to be served hot, a gravy is often made from their drippings. The gravy is usually not ladled over the flat meatballs until they have been plated. In many cases, the gravy is served alongside the frikadeller, as many prefer to have these hearty meatballs without gravy.

Cooked red or white cabbage side dishes are often served with hot frikadeller. When served along with this main dish, red cabbage is often cooked with beets, and white cabbage is creamed. Other than potatoes, a cabbage dish is the most common side served with this meat main course.

Though the original frikadeller was made from beef, veal, and pork, today there are many variations of the original recipe. For those who do not want red meat in their diet, there are those who substitute chicken for some or all of the meat, or use fish instead. These variations of the original recipe are also served both hot and cold.

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