Norwegian Christmas Meatballs; The juiciest meatball you’ll ever taste!
A Holiday Classic!
Mmm.. these meatballs are seriously juicy and tasty!
In Scandinavia, Christmas Eve is the main event. As snow softly falls outside our houses, lights shine out of every window to brighten up the black winter night. At 5pm church bells and choirs all across the land chime and sing to mark the start of our Christmas celebrations.
I absolutely love the Australian summer, and I have become quite a part of the fun-loving and warm celebrations that take place during the holidays. But each year I still invite our friends and family to a good old Norwegian Christmas celebration, and each year the Aussies are there with bells on.
We drink mulled wine, open presents late in the evening and eat as much Scandinavian Christmas food as Aussie bellies can handle. This year my Australian husband and I will be celebrating in Norway with my family, and already messages have started to roll in through various social media that our Aussie friends will miss their Norwegian Christmas celebration this year. We will miss them too!
Just like Australians enjoy their glazed ham, us Scandinavians also eat pork at Christmas time. One of our very favourites for Christmas Eve, is the Norwegian Meatball, which is so gorgeous that we only ever make it for Christmas!
Every man and his dog have heard of “Swedish meatballs”. Much thanks to Ikea I’m afraid. In all fairness to the Swedes, Ikea hasn’t done much to commend them. It must be said that its’ homemade counterpart is a completely different story. Nevertheless, Swedish meatballs do not come close to the recipe I’m about to share with you!
Norwegian meatballs are called “Medisterkake” and they will blow your mind. They are so flavourful, moist and moreish that you’ll never look back. I venture to say that they are the juiciest meatballs you’ll ever taste! The Medisterkake meatballs are fairly easy to whip up, and I always make a big batch to freeze for later. You will not regret putting the effort into these gorgeous little dinner treats, and you’ll never go Swedish again! (-Sorry neighbours, love you lots but it’s a meatball thing).
For about 20-24 meatballs, you’ll need:
- 1 kg quality (stall free) pork, minced (to be ground)
- 4 tsp salt
- 3 tbsp potato starch
- 1/2 tsp nutmeg (ground)
- 1/4 tsp ginger (ground)
- 1 tsp ground black pepper
- 2 organic pastured eggs (can be left out for egg-free version)
- 2,5 dl or 1 cup of milk (or milk alternative)
- Vegetable or chicken stock (organic and free from flavour enhancers)
The milk and the meat must have the same temperature (fridge cold).
- Start by grinding the mince. You can use any kitchen mixer with a blade, or you could ask your butcher to grind it for you.
- Once the mince is ground properly, you add the salt. Use your hands to work the salt through the meat. Once the meat has a nice, soft consistency you add the spices and the potato starch. Keep working the mixture like a dough (get in there!), then add the milk gradually once the spices and flour have been thoroughly worked through the meat. Add eggs (if applicable) and keep mixing. Make sure you mix the liquid in thoroughly before you add more, each time.
- Once the mixture is done, heat a frying pan and melt some good butter. Of course, if you don’t like to use butter you can opt out, but it really does give the meatballs a good flavour and a crispy crust.
- Form the meat into oval shaped balls, using a wet spoon and your hand. The balls should fit inside your fist, so not small like the Swedish version.
- As you shape the balls, you pan fry them on both sides until they get a nice brown look, but not all the way through. Lay the half cooked meatballs aside on a plate as you finish the batch.
- Boil vegetable or chicken stock in a large pot. Once the stock has reached boiling point, turn the heat down to simmer. Pop all the meatballs carefully, all at once, into the simmering stock. Make sure your pot is large enough to house them all at once with a bit of room for them to move around. Let the meatballs simmer (but not boil) for 10-12 minutes until they’re cooked all the way through. If your pot is large enough you will be able to tell that they are done by them floating to the surface. In a small pot you will have to cut through one instead.
- Before you serve them, pop them on a tray in the oven at 180 c for 15-20 minutes.
- They freeze well, and can be reheated from frozen on an oven tray.
Norwegian meatballs are best served with baked apples (which are heated along with the meatballs in the oven), roasted herb potatoes, sautéed brussels sprouts and lots of homemade lingonberry jam! We pick our own lingonberries in the mountains each fall, and make enough jam to last the year. Lingonberries are incorporated into many dishes and desserts, and we share this custom with our neighbours, the Swedes.
(a store-bought version of the jam can be found at Ikea)
With our food we drink dark ales and the very precious Aquavit, which has incidentally travelled from Norway to Australia and back, in oak barrels, before it ends up on Norwegian Christmas dinner tables!
(You can order Aquavit from selected wine merchants in Australia, USA and the UK)
Keep an eye out on the blog for the sides that go with the Norwegian meatballs, which will be posted later in the week:
Fresh brussels sprouts sautéed with garlic, cranberries and sliced almonds
& delicious Oven roasted potatoes with herb butter
This recipe is featured in Yum. Gluten Free Magazine’s Gorgeous Big December Issue