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Published April 01, 2014, 01:53 PM

Halgrimson: Meatballs best enjoyed at home after lutefisk dinner

The season’s last lutefisk dinner at the Fargo Sons of Norway is April 6. I plan to be there. And when I partake of these meals, I never sample the meatballs that are served alongside, as I prefer to concentrate on the ambrosial flavor of the lutefisk.

By: Andrea Hunter Halgrimson, INFORUM

The season’s last lutefisk dinner at the Fargo Sons of Norway is April 6. I plan to be there. And when I partake of these meals, I never sample the meatballs that are served alongside, as I prefer to concentrate on the ambrosial flavor of the lutefisk. I can make meatballs at home. And I do.

Many years ago, my first husband courted me with dinners at Bill and Lil Kenny’s Silver Moon Café in Moorhead. During the holidays, they always had lutefisk on the menu, and I had never eaten lutefisk before.

But I grew to love it, and when I married, my Norwegian grandma and poor misguided mother who was half Swedish, which was probably part of the problem, would not allow lutefisk in their kitchen.

So instead of joining my family for Christmas Eve dinner, I prepared lutefisk in our apartment kitchen for my new husband. And I didn’t make any meatballs either.

I remember another dinner made by John Hove who was head of the English Department at North Dakota State University and his wife Sylvia, who was executive director of Southeastern North Dakota Community Action Agency.

The Hoves lived in a house overlooking the river, and every winter they invited friends for a lutefisk dinner. However, Sylvia always made a pot of meatballs for those unsophisticated folk who did not care for lutefisk, which is hard for me to imagine.

Fifty-plus years after my first taste of lutefisk, I’m still enjoying it and am grateful for the dinners at the Sons of Norway.

But I’ll take my meatballs at a separate meal.

Norwegian Meatballs in Gravy

1 slice of bread, broken up

½ cup milk

1 egg

1 tablespoon oil

1 medium onion, finely chopped

1 tablespoon ketchup

2 tablespoons chopped parsley

Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg

¼ teaspoon ground allspice

¼ teaspoon ground ginger

1 pound lean ground beef

3 tablespoons butter

Gravy:

1 tablespoon butter

2 to 3 tablespoons flour

1 can (15 ounces) beef broth

½ cup milk or light cream

Salt and pepper to taste

In a large bowl, soak bread in milk. Beat egg in a separate bowl and add to bread. Sauté onion in oil until softened and add to bread. Stir in ketchup and parsley. Combine spices in a small bowl and sprinkle over bread mixture. Work meat and butter into bread until well combined and shape into meatballs.

In a large pan over medium heat, brown meatballs in butter, half at a time, for about 10 minutes. Remove meatballs to a plate.

For gravy, add butter to drippings. Stir in flour and cook until slightly browned. Stir in broth and milk. Bring to a boil and cook, stirring for a few minutes until thickened. Season with salt and pepper.

Return meatballs to pan and heat on low. Serve with mashed potatoes or noodles. Serves 6.


Readers can reach Forum Food Columnist Andrea Hunter Halgrimson at ahalgrimson@forumcomm.com

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