A reader has been searching for a recipe for Frikadelle.
Bev Hannon from Marion, Iowa, was looking for a recipe for making meatballs similar to the ones her husband’s mother, who was of Belgian descent, used to make. Her husband recalls that his mother made them with a combination of ground beef and pork and that she frequently served them with cooked cabbage. He was not sure, but he thought they might have been called something like “frikadel.”
Leone Michel from Granger, Ind., thought that her recipe for making German meat patties or Frikadelle is likely what Hannon is in search of. She said her husband is German and that she has adapted this recipe from several that she has in German and Austrian cookbooks. She said that meatballs can be served as part of a main meal with a sauce and side of boiled potatoes or cooked cabbage or as her family prefers, as a patty on a bun, almost like an American style hamburger.
Many variations of Frikadelle exist, but traditionally they are made with combination of minced pork, veal or beef, chopped onion, eggs, milk, breadcrumbs, seasoning and flour. The exact ingredients and combinations can vary some depending on country of origin and individual family recipes.
I decided to test Michel’s recipe using a combination of 1/2 ground pork and 1/2 half lean ground beef shaped into golf-ball sized meatballs and fried in a vegetable oil and butter mixture. Her recipe made a good, if slightly bland, meatball that I served with mashed potatoes and green beans. Everyone thought it made a hearty supper, however next time I likely would make a simple brown gravy to accompany the meatballs or do as Michel does and serve it patty style on a bun.
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Frikadelle (Belgian-Style Meatballs)
Makes about 12 golf ball sized meatballs or 6 patties
1 pound ground beef (or a combination of beef, pork and veal)
1 medium onion, finely minced
2 garlic cloves, finely minced
1/2 cup breadcrumbs
1 tablespoon dried parsley
1/2 teaspoon dried marjoram
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup flour
1. Put meat in a bowl; add onion, garlic, breadcrumbs, spices, eggs and water. Mix well. Gently form meat mixture into small (golf-ball sized) balls, slightly flattened, or into individual patties. Roll in flour.
2. Heat vegetable oil in a large skillet and cook the balls or patties in the hot oil, turning so that they brown evenly on all sides, about 10 minutes or until cooked through.