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Although we are taking a bit of a summer break from schoolwork, our "A Taste of Europe" project will be continuing, and hopefully we can try recipes representative of all the regions of Europe before the next school year officially begins! After all, we still need to eat dinners and we like trying breads and sweets as well. Our most recent attempt at international foods took place a couple weeks ago, before our calendar filled up with activities and travel. For dinner one evening, we tried a couple of simple dishes from the country of Denmark.
Denmark is one of the modern countries considered part of Scandinavia. During the Middle Ages, the Scandinavians accepted Christianity, but were never tied closely to Rome, and when the Reformation began during the sixteenth century, they became Protestants. Today, about 90% of all Scandinavians are Lutherans, but church attendance and participation is very low.
Denmark has been independent since 950, and even ruled England from 1013 to 1042. It is the southernmost Scandinavian country, occupying the Jutland Peninsula and surrounding islands. Winters are less severe than in northern Scandinavia, and the country depends heavily on agriculture and trade rather than on mineral resources. The capital city, Copenhagen, is home to one quarter of the country's population. The name Copenhagen means "merchant's harbor" and it is indeed an important port city. Danes pay one of the highest tax rates in the world in order to fund the social welfare programs they believe are important.
Denmark's overseas territories include Greenland and the Faeroe Islands north of Scotland. Iceland was also an overseas territory until Denmark granted its independence in 1918.
Hans Christian Andersen, probably Scandinavia's best-known writer, was from Denmark, famous for his fairy tales and stories, many of which were based on traditional Germanic folklore of elves and trolls.
I found a recipe for Frikadeller (Danish Meatballs) at Global Table Adventure, and what could be simpler than meatballs, right? I didn't change the recipe much, and although they aren't the most beautiful dish, they were very tasty. A few of mine were just a touch undercooked, so be careful of that if you try them. The original recipe calls for ground pork, but I used bulk sausage instead. We ate ours as a main meat dish at a meal, but if you are making them for a party or to serve in a buffet, they may be served on toothpicks.
3/4 pound ground beef
1/2 pound bulk sausage
2/3 (generous) cup flour
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup heavy cream
salt and pepper
2 cloves garlic, crushed or minced
1 slice rye bread
Pour the milk and cream over the rye bread in a small bowl and let it soak for a minute or two. In the meantime, mix the meat, seasonings, garlic, and flour together in a large bowl. Break up the softened bread and add it, along with the milk and cream, to the meat mixture. Mix all together well, then refrigerate for about half an hour. Form into meatballs. Melt butter and olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat, and cook the meatballs until browned on all sides, flattening them slightly as they cook. Serve hot with sour cream or horseradish sauce.
Instead of just bread and butter with our Danish meatball meal, I tried my hand at Danish flatbread. It is easy to make, but wasn't very popular with my family as it definitely needs butter and jam or syrup to dress it up. More suited to breakfast or lunch than as a bread accompaniment to dinner. My recipe comes from a Company's Coming cookbook.
3 cups rolled oats, ground
1-1/2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1-1/4 cups buttermilk
1/2 cup melted butter or margarine
Grind the oats in a blender until crumbly. Mix all ingredients in a large bowl until you have a stiff dough. Let it rest for 20 minutes, then divide into 8 equal pieces, each rolled into a ball. Roll out on a lightly floured surface as thin as possible. Fry on a hot greased skillet (at 350*), turning to cook each side. When light brown spots appear, it is done. Can be served hot or cold, buttered, and with jam, syrup, or honey.
This post is linked at Try a New Recipe Tuesday, hosted by Lisa at Home to 4 Kiddos
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