I grew up in Denmark in the waybackwhens and I have to tell you that although everyday food really was delicious, it was often pretty plain. Meat, potatoes, pickled stuff, maybe a cucumber or beet thrown in for color…
Except for one curious dish that just happened to be a huge favorite of most kids. Boller I Karry! Curried meatballs. Somehow, some Dane somewhere invented a curry that is uniquely Danish. It is mild enough for kids yet so comforting that it’s secretly many grownups’ favorite too, which makes it a great dish to serve on New Year’s Eve.
But it gets better! Try serving the curry along with little bowls of toppings to sprinkle for crunch, color and flavor. Back then, we used the most exotic ingredients on the grocery shelves: peanuts, coconut flakes and chopped bananas… Today I propose we add some healthy raw vegetables too!
And toppings are the fun part. If you have read any of the book that I wrote with Laurie David, The Family Dinner, you know that we love participation meals! What we mean by “participation meals” is letting your family put the finishing touches on their own plate at the table… We’re fans of these kinds of meals because they are fun, and, as they get the kids creatively involved, your children will take ownership of their own dinner (“Look what I made!”) and in the end, will be more open to trying new foods and flavors. So here you are — a Danish comfort food recipe that doesn’t seem Danish at all. From our kitchen to yours, with love.
Boller i Karry
For the meatballs
1 pound ground chicken or turkey (organic if you can)
1/2 cup breadcrumbs
1 small finely chopped onion (about 1/2 cup)
1 egg (from happy chickens)
1/3 cup milk
1 minced garlic clove
2/3 teaspoon salt, pepper to taste
For the curry sauce
2 tablespoons butter
2-3 heaping tablespoons Indian yellow curry (mild or hot, whatever makes your family happy)
1 medium sized onion diced
1 leek chopped
5 tablespoons flour
1/2 cup whole milk or half and half
4 cups of the water you cooked the meatballs in.
Suggestions for toppings
A handful of shredded carrots
Chopped crunchy cabbage (a favorite in our house)
Your favorite chopped nuts
If you are going to serve this with rice (you should, it’s good) you might as well start cooking it now, as rice is happy to hang out and wait for the curry to finish.
To make the meatballs:
In a big bowl mix everything but the ground meat. Stir until it is all mixed well together. Let it rest in the fridge for about 10 minutes. Add the ground meat to the bowl and stir well.
Fill a deep pan or large pot with about 2 1/2 inches of water, salt ( so it is as salty as chicken soup), and bring to a boil.
With an ice cream scoop or wet hands form the mixture into round walnut sized meatballs. Gently slide the meatballs into the boiling water.
Bring the water down to a simmer and cook for 8-10 minutes, depending on the size of the meatballs
Take meatballs out of the water with a slotted spoon, put them aside, and keep four cups of the water, you will need it for the Curry Sauce.
To make the curry Sauce:
In a large pot, over medium heat melt the butter, then add onions and leeks and saute until they start to soften. Sprinkle in the flour while whisking
Now add the 4 cups of the “meatball water” a little bit at the time, until the sauce thickens. Add milk or half and half and the meatballs
Let it gently simmer for 12 min. Taste the sauce, does it need more curry, perhaps a smidgen of salt? Make it taste perfect for you.
Put your favorite toppings in little bowls.
Serve with steamed brown or white rice (or go crazy and make quinoa instead).
Sit down and enjoy your dinner together.