Doctor's Review: Medicine on the Move

December 17, 2017

© Columbus Leth

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Meatballs with celeriac and apples

Three recipes to help you embrace the Danish concept of hygge

Meatballs aren’t just for frying. In Scandinavia, there are a lot of dishes with boiled meatballs, and when you look in old cookbooks, like the 1837 one by Danish cook Madam Mangor, she includes recipes for meatballs in sauce. This classic dish is an ultimate comfort dish.


For the meatballs
1 lb. 2 oz. (500g) minced (ground) pork
1 small onion, finely grated
½ tsp. (2.5 ml) freshly grated nutmeg
2 eggs, lightly beaten
2 tbsp. (30 ml) plain (all-purpose) flour
2 tbsp. (30 ml) breadcrumbs
1 tsp. (5 ml) each of sea salt and freshly ground black pepper


For the broth
8½ c. (2 L) water
1 tbsp. (15 ml) sea salt
3 bay leaves
5 thyme sprigs
1lb. 5oz. (600 g) celeriac
2 leeks
3 apples
7 tbsp. (105 g) butter
3 tbsp. (45 ml) plain (all-purpose) flour
1¼ c. (310 ml) spelt grain
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
small bunch of parsley or chervil, chopped, to serve


Mix the minced pork with all the other meatball ingredients. For the broth, pour the water into a saucepan, add the salt and herbs, and bring to the boil.

Use a spoon to form the meatball mixture into balls, lower them into the boiling water and let them cook for 10–15 minutes until they rise to the surface, which means they are done. Remove them from the broth with a slotted spoon and set aside. Strain 3½ cups (875 ml) of the broth into a jug.

Meanwhile, peel the celeriac and cut into 2-centimetre (¾-in) cubes. Slice the leeks and rinse well. Cut the apples into slices 1 centimetre (½ in) thick.

Melt the butter in a large saucepan. Add the flour and stir well, then add the reserved broth a little at a time, stirring constantly until the sauce is smooth, without any lumps. Add the leeks and celeriac, and let simmer for 20 minutes. Add the meatballs and apples about 5 minutes before the end of cooking, and cook until the meatballs are warmed through.

Meanwhile, rinse the spelt grain in several changes of cold water. Cook in lightly salted water for 15–20 minutes, then drain. Season the meatball sauce to taste with salt and pepper, sprinkle with parsley or chervil and serve with the spelt. Serves 8.

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