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Sunday, September 23, 2012

Norwegian hamburgers or kottjaker

When my son Colin and his fiancé Lisa first returned from the Caribbean, they lived with Lisa’s parents in Sugar Land, Texas. Lisa’s mother, Torhild, was born and raised in Norway and came to this country as a soldier’s bride at the age of seventeen. She still cooks some of the dishes she knew as a child, and Colin particularly fell in love with these hamburgers (and I might add, with John and Torhild, as did we all). Torhild calls them Norwegian meat cakes, but we’ve all come to use the term hamburger. In Norway these are called kottjkakers.  I can’t believe they used packaged gravy mix when Torhild was young—I think that’s an American shortcut she has introduced!

 Norwegian hamburgers

3-4 slices of onion

3 Tbsp. butter (do not use oil)

1½ lbs. extra-lean hamburger (extra-lean is important)

2 eggs

3 Tbsp. cornstarch or potato starch

½ tsp. pepper

Milk as needed

4-5 envelopes instant gravy mix, prepared as directed

2 beef bullion cubes

Sauté onion in butter. Mix hamburger, eggs, cornstarch and pepper. Add milk as needed; start with ¼ c. and add ¼ c. at a time, but DON’T let the meat mixture get soggy. The last time I made a double batch of these, they tended to fall apart while I was browning them. I bet my mom’s trick of throwing a little tapioca into meatloaf would work here, too. Shape into patties and brown in same skillet as onions. Remove.

Make gravy in skillet, according to package directions. Add 2 bouillon cubes. When gravy thickens, return burgers and onions to pan and simmer 45 to 60 minutes.

Serve with white rice, egg noodles, or boiled potatoes. Peas, beets, or green beans are nice with this.
FREE SHORT STORY: I've worked this dish into a short story featuring Kelly, from my Kelly O'Connell Mysteries. Download it or read it here:


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