This quite traditional recipe “Frikadellen” is what you can find in almost every German’s recipe collection. Pairing diced onions, day old bread, milk, herbs and spices is not the newest of ideas, but somehow the German’s know how to make this recipe just right. The Germans have a long standing love affair with meat-from sausages to rouladen, but perhaps few people know about Frikadellen.
My exposure to this dish was introduced to me almost immediately when I met my husband’s German side of the family. It appears that frikadellen is not only claimed by the German’s but it seems widely popular throughout Northern Europe. The Dain’s love this dish, as do the Polish. Based on my exposure to this traditional dish, one thing you did come to discover is that when frikadellen was being made, it was a special occasion. Unlike other traditional dishes such as the dumpling (knoedel), or the rouladen, this is actually quite easy to make.
In fact, there was a time when my kids were young, and I wanted them to learn how to make this dish traditionally from their Oma. It was the perfect moment for the kids to learn first hand, a bit of their heritage. As well, it’s the perfect meal for kids to make. They loved the forming of the patty’s almost as much as they loved eating it. Paired with a hearty pot of mashed potatoes, this was at one time, my kids favorite dish. I do believe they will remember that moment for the rest of their lives…the moment when they made their very own frikadellen together with Oma.
Frikadellen versus Hamburger
Now, there’s no surprise here that Frikadellen does have a relatablity factor to our beloved hamburger. But, not so fast, as they really are entirely different. Though the ingredient list for making frikadellen is rather simple, there are just a few ingredients you wouldn’t put in the burger. Milk-soaked bread for example, which I believe to be the star in frikadellen, is something you would never find in our cherished American burger. But this addition somehow just ups the fry-game in this dish. It provides the contrast in each patty which is the moist interior and the crisp edge. This little addition, coupled with the frying method, is somehow quite different than our American version of the hamburger.
Either way, give this one a try. Serve it up to family and friends and pass along a few hundred years worth of tradition.
- 1 kg ground beef
- 2-3 medium bread rolls hard, not soft
- 1 cup milk to soak bread
- 1-2 small onions finely chopped
- 1 medium egg
- pinch salt and pepper
- first step is to soak the bread rolls you let get hard and stale.This usually takes a good hour, or 30 min. at least. Just let them soak
- In the mean time, assemble your meat, onions, salt, pepper, and egg.
- now, add in the soft, soaked bread in pieces to the mixture
- mix well, either by hand, or with a wooden spoon
- form small to medium sized patties by hand.
- get your frying pan, and add frying oil, wait until evenly hot, and begin to cook.
- cooking on each side 3-4 min. or until nicely browned. When cooked, assemble on a warming tray and keep warm in oven.
- serve with traditional mashed potatoes, or dumplings. Sauce is optional, but not necessary