Monday, November 13, 2006

Kroppkakor - potato dumplings

Another traditional Swedish dish! It can't be made during the summer, when there's only new potatoes - they won't hold together, and will just become a gluey mass. (Trust me, I know this from first-hand experience. Sigh.) A kroppkaka is quite simply a large potato dumpling filled with bacon and onions. (Although it translates a bit scarily into "body cake".)

It's slightly different depending on where in the country you are but I grew up with my grandmother's version, and those kroppkakor were always white - made from mashed boiled potatoes. Some people prefer grey kroppkakor, made with half raw potatoes. You can eat these with lingonberries and melted butter, or with a white sauce flavored with allspice. I prefer the sauce. And extra filling on the side, please!

From Stora Kokboken ("The big cookbook", a Swedish classic)

8-10 large potatoes (750g-1 kg)
1 egg yolk
150-200 ml flour

For the filling:
100 g bacon or pancetta (ideally salted, but unsmoked, pork.)
100 g smoked ham
1-2 tbsp minced yellow onion
1/2 tbsp butter
1/2-1 tsp allspice

Peel the potatoes and cut into smaller pieces. Boil until soft, drain the water and let the potatoes dry. Press through a potato ricer into a large bowl, and wait until it's completely cold.

Cut the bacon and the ham into small dice. Fry the onion and the meat in the butter until lightly browned. Season with allspice, and let cool completely.

Mix together the riced potatoes, the flour and the egg yolk, and a bit of salt. The dough should be well mixed and easy to handle. Roll into a sausage-shape, and cut into even pieces. Each dumpling should be between a golf ball and a tennis ball in size - fairly large. This recipe makes about 12.

Roll each piece into a round, and make a hole with your thumb. Fill with plenty of filing, and close the hole. Roll again so you get a nice, even dumpling, and flatten it slightly.

Boil the dumplings in plenty of boiling, salted water, a few at a time. They need about five minutes on each side. Serve with melted butter, lingonberries or sauce béchamel with allspice.

Recipe in Swedish:


Anonymous said...

I would like to make it but I wonder if it would taste rather heavy. What do you think? Is it a light or a heavy dish?


Anonymous said...

They are rather heavy. They have quite alot in common, except the filling, with italian potato gnocchi and german kloss/knödel. Kloss on the other hand is with filling and those are heavy.
With german roots I find grey kloss and kroppkakor appalling so I always boil the potatoes first.

Anonymous said...

I really like these but did not grow up with them at all. My first experience from dumplings was in Germany and Austria. Nowadays I make my own gnocci once in a while.
Our "version" of potatoe cakes (potatisbullar) was fried ones without filling and raggmunk of course. Also with lingonberries and fried ham, bacon or something like it.

karin said...

I like kroppkakor but prefer them with raw potatoes, and I also prefer them day no 2 when you split them in halves and fry them to reheat them. In my family we eat them with lingonberries and kaffegrädde, a kind of lowfat cream, we also get extra filling on the side...
Bechamel with allspice is new to me, but most people never heard of cream either

Dilona said...

This is fantastic. I was reading your blog when my boyfriend from England peaked over my shoulder and went.. 'oh, maybe we should try those?'

I never thought he'd say that. I've been thinking about making them for quite some time but didn't think he'd like them (or even the idea of them).

Jorma said...

This I'm gonna try. No doubt about it. Maybe not right now, but in a not to distant future.
Looks great! but I'll use "Kryddpeppar" for the taste I was brought up with.

Anne said...

Anonymous, like Jessica says, it's quite heavy. I certainly wouldn't characterize it as light. :)

Jessica, thanks for explaining!

Kinna, interesting! I've never made gnocchi myself, but it's on my new year's resolution list so I really should get to it soon :)

Karin - I've never had leftovers! I need to make sure I do, because fried up sounds good too! And with cream - hey, I'm sure that works out nicely.

Dilona - hope you both like them! :)

Jorma - kryddpeppar is exactly what I use, it's just called allspice in English :)

Glenna said...

This is definitely going on my list of things to try. Sounds like something my husband would really like (me too).

Pappa Nicke i USA said...

Jag hittade din blog och vilken tur! Jag som alskar att laga mat, bor i USA, men ar fran Sverige, vilka roliga recept du har, har du hittat pa manga sjalv eller soker du online? Jag brukar titta pa Food network i USA for recept..

Anne said...

Hej Nicke! Välkommen :) Jag får inspiration från alla möjliga ställen, men oftare tidningar och böcker än online. Allt jag skriver om har jag lagat, och oftast är det "egna" recept. (Annars står det alltid var de kommer ifrån.) Food Network önskar jag att vi hade här med, men näää.

Dolly said...

I love these. They might be something that is considered an acquired taste. My Mother made them with grated raw
potatoes,(squeeze out excess liquid), salt pork, and allspice. Also good the next day sliced, fried in butter, and topped with a little milk. The first time I made them I boiled them too rapidly and they didn't stick together very well. My sister also gave me a tip to place a plate in the bottom of the pot you are boiling them in and they won't stick to the bottom.

They are a little heavy, but also filling.


Anonymous said...

At the risk of suggesting something really non-traditional... I bake kroppkakor when I make it. I know you're supposed to boil the dumplings, but just try it baked once - it's yummy! (My grandmother would just shake her head if she knew.)

Hans said...

Jag är en ölänning så jag äter dom alltid med lingonsylt OCH grädde. Men jag måste säga att jag föredrar den öländska rätten lufsa som påminner en hel del om kroppkakor.

Swedberg said...

I love these. Kropp-kaka or Kroppkakor are way better (in my opinion) than Swedish Cabbage, or, Kol-Dolma. My Grandmother fron the South Side of Chicago made both very regularly and I lived to tell about it. I miss you granny!

Anonymous said...

Can't wait to try this recipe, my 74 year old full blood swede husband remembers these very fondly. He remembers 1/2 raw and 1/2 cooked potatos.

Thanks for sharing this old favorite.

Fred said...

My father grew up having these regularly for breakfast. His Swedish mother would prepare the dumplings ahead of time then slice and fry the pieces in butter. Just before taking them off the heat, she'd add cream which would boil down to a wonderful artery-clogging sauce. I get them on my birthdays.

Anonymous said...

This is a lot different than the recipe my family has used for years and years. My grandma was swede and raides her 7 kids making these dumplings. They peels raw potatoes and grate them. Then squeeze out all of the water, put aside the potatoe and then pour out the water and use the starch at the bottom to mix back in with a little flour. We then put salt pork in the middle of the dumpling and boil. Make a salt pork gravy and use over the top. Also great sliced the next morning fried and a little butter and syrup. YUMMY!

Asta said...

I just have eaten kroppkakor. Yammee yamme!Just they were bit different than yours

Anonymous said...

Oh Yes, Swedish cannon balls. I grew up on them. Still make them and have(in my opinion) perfected the recipe. Hand grated taters and a few boiled and mashed. White as snow(family secret) and filled with salt pork, onion and allspice. One secret I'll give is to use Idaho Taters. If not, you may end up making Kropp soup.

Anonymous said...

I'm not an experienced cook so I made the mistake of not turning down the boiling water to medium when I put the dumplings in the salted water. So on the first six, quite a bit of the potato boiled off. Other than that, it's a great recipe and my family enjoyed them.

Claire@ blooming tea said...

Hi! This is very interesting, I 've never had Swedish food before, and this recipe caught my attention, and I'll definitely try to have this and thanks a lot for sharing the recipe here.

Anonymous said...

I just had these at the Stockholm Inn in Rockford Illinois. Nasty nasty nasty.

delores said...

I h aven, had these in many years since my foster mother passed away I want to try these with white sauce.

Linda said...

andMy Mom was from
sweden and she taught me to make these amazing dumplings. She used 10 llbs of potatoes and peeled and grated them. ( I now put mine through the food processor to a fine mash) pour the mash through a cheesecloth and squeeze most of the water out. Put the mash in a bowl and add approx 3 cups flour . The dough should hold together , but not too stiff. Form flat in your hand , and fill with chopped pork and onions salt and pepper you have prepared ahead of time. Form into a ball and gentley drop into a largr pot of boiling salted water. Do not crowd them, and let gentley boil for one hr, so the pork is cooked . You can serve them with cream drizzled over. You can cut them in half the next day , fry them a little and again serve with cereal cream MMMMM GOOD

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the recipe. I am in the US but I had grandparents from Öland and they made these. They are best the next day when you slice them in half and fry them.


Kate said...

My Swedish grandma used to make these and slice them into rounds and pan fry them in bacon grease. YUM!

Kris said...

We've made this an event in our household. Family gather's once a year. We peel 100 lbs of potatoes! This year we had a cook off trying organic potatoes (raw, grated, strained, flour and egg mixture) vs pre-peeled, 1/3 boiled, 2/3 grated, strained, flour and egg mixture. Yes they were pure white but they were MUSH! The old fashioned way with skinned knuckles and all worked! Meatballs made with lean salt pork, white pepper, freshly ground allspice. Plopped into water boiling with starch mixture for one hour/ Gravy made with milk, butter and some of the water. Awesome the next morning fried in butter!

Marla Hunter said...

Thanks for posting this. I grew up with my dad making these for the New Year. It's been passed down through the generations. I honestly wondered if it was just a recipe my grandma made up or if there were other people that ate these. I am from Michigan in the US. It's nice to know some family traditions are from my ancestors' homeland. I need to pass this on to my kids.