Sunday, January 03, 2010


As a new year gift, this is where I share with you an old-style, super-regional Swedish dish - Kroppkaka! I'm kind of obsessed with Kroppkaka. Mostly because I've never met another person of Swedish ancestry who's heard of it; I'll describe these pork-filled potato dumplings and get, "Oh, Palt," to which I answer, "No, Kroppkaka."
After a little Googling, I've learned that Kroppkakor are mostly eaten in the southern Baltic-regions of Öland, Småland, Gotland and Blekinge and after reading a bit about regional variations, I'm going to wager that my great-great grandmother Delia was not taught this recipe by a person from Blekinge. Their dumplings are made partially using raw, grated potato; I've only ever eaten dumplings made of boiled, mashed potato. Alas, someone in my family was probably from Öland, Småland or Gotland - how's that for genealogy based on one dish?
That said, these dumplings are filled with pork, smoked or salted, and in my family eaten with a white sauce, although they are also traditionally eaten with butter or lingonberries, too.
Now, here's the thing, I've been vegetarian since I was a kid, so I haven't eaten Kroppkakor in 20 years. I made this vegetarian version for the first time pretty recently after making gnocchi. I used leftover gnocchi dough to form the dumplings, which worked really well. For a vegetarian version of the filling, sautee yellow onions with small chunks of seitan (although vegetarian bacon would work, too) and season this mixture with smoked salt and allspice*.
I used this recipe as a guide, but this one works, too.
And, introducing seitan Kroppkakor! Thor is either pleased or looking the other way, because I have yet to be smitten by a lightening bolt.
And because, like Barry White, I think you can't have too much of a good thing, this morning I made Swedish pancakes. This is not something anyone in my family makes, but I had a jar of lingonberry jam from Ikea laying around. For these I used a Mark Bittman recipe, cranked up the Dungen and dug-in. Ett Gott Nytt År, everyone!
* I don't know a lot about Swedish cuisine, but really love that allspice is used here and that nutmeg is what makes meatballs, Swedish.

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