Mom's Norwegian Meatballs with Gravy (Kjøttkaker med brunsaus)

By • August 10, 2010 • 19 Comments



Author Notes: Meatballs are one of the most traditional of the foods in Norway (they even participate in Christmas in many families). And, lucky for me growing up, my mother is the queen of the meatballs and gravy. It was a frequent meal in our house, but I loved it so much, I also requested it for every birthday. This is her recipe. Of course, like any family recipe, there aren't really measurements and it gets made a little differently every time. But, this is my best approximation. The other trick is to taste the gravy as you make it and add a little extra sour cream, or wine, or broth, as well as salt and pepper to suit your taste.fiveandspice

Serves 5-6

  • 1/3 pound lean ground beef
  • 1/3 pound ground pork
  • 1/3 pound ground veal (if veal is unavailable use 1/2 lb each of beef and pork)
  • 1 egg
  • 2/3 cups Panko bread crumbs
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon allspice
  • 6 tablespoons butter
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 1/2 onion, skin removed but left in tact
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons red wine
  • dashes gravy browning agent (eg. Kitchen Bouquet)
  • 3-4 thin slices of gjetost, Norwegian brown goat cheese (optional, since this is an acquired taste)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. In an electric mixer (Kitchen Aid), mix together the ground meats, the egg until combined. Form a well in the middle and add the breadcrumbs then pour the milk onto the breadcrumbs and allow to sit for a minute or two to soften them. Then add the spices and whip the meats, crumbs, milk, and spices together for several minutes until very well combined and lightened in texture.
  2. Form the meat into balls about the size of golf balls. Heat a couple of Tbs. or so of butter in a large Dutch oven and fry the meatballs, carefully turning until they are well browned on all sides, but not cooked through. Do not crowd the meatballs in the pan, you may have to fry them in two batches to make sure they don’t steam each other.
  3. Once all of the meatballs have been browned, return them all to the Dutch oven, add the half onion, and pour the broth over them, using enough broth to cover them halfway. Simmer until they are cooked through, about 20 minutes. Remove from heat and remove the onion.
  4. To make the gravy, in a saucepan over medium-low heat, melt the remaining 4 Tbs. of butter. Stir in the flour to make a roux and allow to cook for a minute. Then (this is the slightly tricky part), bit by bit, whisk the broth that the meatballs were cooking in into the roux, whisking vigorously to prevent clumping.
  5. If you didn’t use all of the broth to cook the meatballs, add the rest of the broth to the gravy and bring to a simmer. Turn to very low heat. Whisk in the sour cream, wine, gravy browner, and gjetost if desired. Stir in salt and pepper to test. Also adjust the rest of the flavorings to taste.
  6. If the gravy is too thick, add in a little hot water from the potatoes that you should be boiling at the same time (you always eat meatballs and gravy with potatoes!).
  7. When the gravy is seasoned to your liking, pour it over the meatballs in a serving dish. Serve with boiled or mashed potatoes, sweet-sour red cabbage, and a green vegetable. Vær så god!
Jump to Comments (19)

Tags: family, Norwegian, traditional

Comments (19) Questions (0)

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6 months ago rob lubke

This is an old thread but thought I'd say I made these today...minus the gjetost which I can't stand...but I did add some jarlsberg to the sauce...very tasty!

Monkeys

almost 4 years ago monkeymom

Just had these for dinner and everyone loved them. I have to confess that I had to use all beef and left out the gjetost. Umm...also, when are you suppose to add the nutmeg, ginger and allspice? I presumed it was to the meatballs. So homey and yummy, thanks!

Sausage2

almost 4 years ago fiveandspice

Emily is a trusted source on Scandinavian Cuisine.

Oops! You're right. The spices go in at the same time as the breadcrumbs.
I'm so glad you enjoyed them. It's an especially good dish to keep up one's sleeve as cold weather starts to roll in!

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almost 4 years ago AntoniaJames

AntoniaJames is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

Oooh, yummm. This looks so good!! ;o)

Sausage2

almost 4 years ago fiveandspice

Emily is a trusted source on Scandinavian Cuisine.

Thanks Antonia James!

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almost 4 years ago aargersi

Abbie is a trusted source on General Cooking.

YUM! When you say "in an electric mixer" do you mean a kitchen aid and not a processor? I am guessing yes. Need to look up gjetost - have never heard of it but I have never met a cheese I didn't like! Well - except the stinking bishop ...

Sausage2

almost 4 years ago fiveandspice

Emily is a trusted source on Scandinavian Cuisine.

Oh yes, I do mean a kitchen aid. I'll change that in the recipe to clarify. I hope you find some gjetost and try it. Personally, I LOVE it. but a lot of my friends here in the states don't. Actually, it's not technically a cheese because it's made of whey that has been boiled down until it is a solid. It's a very unique savory, caramelly flavor.

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almost 4 years ago gingerroot

This sounds really good. I'm saving and can't wait to try it.

Sausage2

almost 4 years ago fiveandspice

Emily is a trusted source on Scandinavian Cuisine.

I hope you do! Let me know how you like it.

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almost 4 years ago lapadia

Yum! Thanks for sharing your family recipe!

Sausage2

almost 4 years ago fiveandspice

Emily is a trusted source on Scandinavian Cuisine.

I always think it's the most fun to be able to share an old family recipe! I'm a sucker for extremely traditional foods.

Monkeys

almost 4 years ago monkeymom

Gravy. Yum...This sounds like something my kids will love. Thanks for the recipe!

Sausage2

almost 4 years ago fiveandspice

Emily is a trusted source on Scandinavian Cuisine.

It's very kid friendly - at least, it sure was my brothers' and my favorite, growing up. I hope you get a chance to try it.

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almost 4 years ago Sagegreen

Nice! I agree with you about the gjetost!

Sausage2

almost 4 years ago fiveandspice

Emily is a trusted source on Scandinavian Cuisine.

Haha, but agree on which side? I come down on the side of thinking it's one of the best things in existence. Paired with a thick slice of hardy bread and a decent smear of fresh creamery butter, it's my favorite breakfast.

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almost 4 years ago AntoniaJames

AntoniaJames is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

I am crazy about gjetost, having tried it as a daring 18 year old with a Eurailpass and a burning desire to see as many new places as I could, and to eat as many new and unusual things as possible. One of my traveling companions wanted to travel to the very end of the line in Norway, which we did. The food we had in Scandinavia was amazing. I remember the gjetost vividly. I'd never had anything like it, and actually haven't since. Would love to find some. In the meantime, I plan to make these meatballs this weekend!! ;o)

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almost 4 years ago SallyCan

Like your recipe, and also the inclusion of gjetost. Have you ever made it? I've tried to make some, as I can't bear to throw away the whey from making goat cheeses, but I'm having trouble keeping it from drying out at the end of the cooking process. I love the flavor anyway. How else do you all use/cook with gjetost?

Sausage2

almost 4 years ago fiveandspice

Emily is a trusted source on Scandinavian Cuisine.

I've never made gjetost - because I've never actually made my own goat cheese - but I've definitely thought about it. So, if you figure out a way to keep it from getting dry, I'd certainly love to know about it! As for ways of using it, I mostly put it into sauces for meat dishes (it's a must if you're making reindeer, but most people probably don't do that. It would be really good with duck too), or else I just use it as a topping for bread (including lefse or Norwegian waffles) sometimes with just a little bit of jam. I bet it would be good stirred into hot oatmeal. And, I'd imagine you could do some interesting things with it to make a dessert since it has that caramel note, maybe in a cheesecake or an ice cream, or in crepes. It's especially nice with the flavor of lingonberries (similar to cranberries).

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almost 4 years ago SallyCan

Thanks for all of the great tips! I hadn't thought of adding it to meat sauces, but that makes sense, to add a kind of richness. I like the idea of using it with duck...