This is Raspekaker, also known as klubb, kompe, kromma, kumla or raspeballar. The abundance of names for this humble foodstuff is surpassed only by the number of ways there are to make it (my family's is but one). Of course, you're not here for a lesson in nomenclature but for a lesson in noms! So without further ado let's get cooking.
Step 1: Ingredients (all 4 of Them!)
Ingredient 1: Potatoes - How many depends on both the size of the taters and the number of people you want to feed. One tater per person is a good rule of thumb. In my case I had some big ol' russets and just 4 taters was enough for 6 people.
Ingredient 2: Barley Flour - Don't sweat it, you can find this at most grocery stores. Regular all-purpose is fine too, if you have allergies to look out for then by all means. Barley flour is just what we've always used.
Ingredient 3: Salt Pork - Call it sailors' meat, call it white bacon, call it whatever you like. This sodium rich swine is just what's needed to give these taters some real flavour. A small package goes a long way.
Ingredient 4: It's a secret! - but don't worry, I'll spill the beans in due course. Bear with me.
Step 2: Assembly
Step 1:Peel your taters
Step 2: Shred your taters - I've always used a cheese grater for this but presumably there are other tools that would do the job just as well.
Step 3:Add the secret ingredient - Caraway seeds! What a revelation! I sprinkled in about 1 tablespoon worth to achieve a present but not overwhelming flavour.
Step 4: Add flour and mix about - Stir in a 1/4 cup at a time until you reach a wet dough consistency (or until your arm falls off, whichever comes first). The idea is to soak up some of the water from the potatoes and thicken the mixture, but not so much that it becomes dry or crumbly. Some potatoes are more watery than others so the amount of flour needed will vary. I used just shy of two cups for this batch. After you've achieved the desired consistency, or something close too it (believe me it's not a precision process), you can set it aside.
*note* If the mixture looks thoroughly unappetizing at this point you're doing it right.
Step 5:Cut salt pork - I made 1inch cubes, but a little bigger or a little smaller is fine. Set them aside when your done.
Step 6: Form your raspekaker -First wet your hands, then grab a tennis ball-sized amount of the potato mixture and form it into a ball. Next grab one of your salt pork cubes and push it into the middle of the ball. Reform the surface of the ball concealing the meat inside. Set the ball aside on a plate and continue to form raspekaker until you've used the entire mixture. It's advisable to clean off your hands after forming each ball as the sticky mixture can accumulate making the process more difficult than it has to be.
Step 3: Cooking
First get out your biggest pot, fill it with water and bring to a boil. Next begin dropping your raspekaker into the pot (not on top of each other but beside). Use a spoon or laddle for this operation if you want to avoid spashling hot water around when you plop them in the pot.
Simmer for 1 hour. It's a good idea to use a spoon push them around the pot once in a while, just to make sure they're not stuck to the bottom.
Step 4: A Bit of History
While it's cooking I'll take a moment here to recount the history of the humble raspekaker within my family. It entered our diet by way of my father, who picked it up from his mother who learned it up from her husband who was himself Norwegian. As the recipe traveled from one kitchen to the next so to did it evolve. My father recalls eating it with cooked bacon in the middle instead of salt pork, and the drippings from the bacon was saved and drizzled over the raspekaker after they'd finished cooking. On special occasions, namely Christmas morning, they would drape slices of gjetost over the steaming raspekaker, which would melt and create a delicious cheesy coating. Gjetost, another little piece of Norwegian influence that my grandfather brought with him, is a brown goat cheese... the flavour is very unique.
*note* When I say brown goat cheese I don't mean cheese from a brown goat, but brown cheese from a ordinary coloured goat (brown being but one possibility in the spectrum of goat colours).
For me raspekaker is something of a comfort food but it can also be a very practical part of your diet. I find 1 ball makes for an adequate breakfast. They freeze well and for their size pack a lot of calories. It's a nice change up to oatmeal or breakfast cereal in the morning. They also lend themselves well to experimentation. At its most basic it's just potatoes and flour; a blank slate. This is probably why if you look around everybody is making raspekaker in slightly different ways. You can pick what meat and seasoning you like best, or forgo such complications and just dress it up after cooking with a sauce or spead of your choice.
Anyways, that's enough of me expounding on the virtues of raspekaker, lets get back to the kitchen and see what we've got.
Step 5: Eating
Use a ladle to retrieve the raspekaker and let the water drip off them as you do so. Now they're ready to serve.
I like to cut them in half exposing the succulent porcine core. Then I drizzle some melted butter on top for added flavour and sprinkle it with a bit of parsley for looks. That's that! Eat up.
Step 6: Bonus Round!
It's almost always the case that you'll have leftover raspekaker, but if you think that means you made too much think again. Arguably the leftovers are the best part. Just pop 'em in the fridge or freezer until you're ready for them. When it's time for more raspekaker just bust out the frying pan and brown 'em up in some butter. Oh boy do they taste great like this!
Well folks, that's all for this instructable. From my family to yours, happy cooking.
Runner Up in the
Scanpan Family Recipes Challenge