Based on an Ikea recipe
I went to Ikea last week and, after buying Eilene a bunch of furniture for the updating of her room, I stopped off to buy Swedish meatballs, fish egg paste, and pickled herring. I saw a thing called Grönsakskaka and—always interested in new things—I bought a box to go with the meatballs.
Grönsakskaka are Swedish vegetable and potato medallions—read small hockey pucks. These were pretty good, but I did not want to drive a 50 mile round trip just to get more. I had to figure out how to make my own.
I found the recipe online, but it had some problems. First, it was in Swedish and Google could not translate all of the words. For example, the word vitlöksklyfta was not translated. A search for the word only led to other Ikea references to it. By breaking the word at different points, I found that vitlök was the Swedish word for garlic. After much trial and error, I figured out that svitlök was cloves. vitlöksklyfta = garlic cloves.
Note: Vitlöksvitlök was apparently a typo thanks Lotta, see comments.
Another word was matlagningsgrädde, which Google translated as “cooking cream.” Several searches later, I figured out that this meant “half and half cream.” Finally, the word stanningen, which Google translated as “town no” still left me hanging, but in context I think it means “thoroughly.”
Note: My sister, Karen, speaks Swedish and she translates stanningen as “‘until standing,’ but the sense is until thoroughly mixed.” A second possibility is that you are supposed to whip the eggs into a meringue “until standing” (stiff peaks?) and then fold in the crème fraiche, cream, garlic, and pepper. She says the the sense of the second use of the word in the original recipe, “they are referring to the mixture as a noun, ie, combining the potatoes with the egg mixture.” According to Lotta—a native speaker, see the comments below—stanningen refers to the egg & cream mixture (also sometimes called äggstanning = egg/ cream/ milk mixture used for quiches etc).
After Dinner Note: Family decision—These were much better than the store bought versions.
Karl’s Grönsakskaka, Swedish Potato and Vegetable Medallions
2 Tbs. butter
½ medium yellow onion, finely diced (about 1 cup)
1 small leek, halved lengthwise and sliced finely (about 1 cup)
¼ tsp. Kosher salt
2 large Russet potatoes (2½-3 cups)
1 small broccoli crown, do not chop (about 1 cup)
¼ cup crème fraiche
¼ cup half and half cream
2 cloves garlic, crushed to a paste
½ tsp. black pepper
1. Melt the butter in a medium pan over medium high heat and sauté the onions and leeks with the salt until just starting to pick up some color. Set them aside to cool.
2. Peel and cut the potatoes into large chunks, boil until just cooked through, about 12-15 minutes.
3. Trim the dry end of the broccoli stem and put it uncut into the pot of boiling potatoes, stem down.
4. After about six minutes, remove the broccoli from the pot, cut off the florets and return the thick stem to the pot to finish cooking.
Tip: Put the florets in a pot of cold water to stop them from cooking further.
Note: At six minutes the top florets of the broccoli should be just cooked through, any longer and they would overcook. They can even be a bit under cooked, because they will be baked again.
5. Remove the broccoli stem and set it aside to cool with the florets.
6. Drain the potatoes, return them to the pot, and set them aside to cool.
7. Chop the broccoli finely.
Tip: Slice through the dark green tops about every ¼ inch until you have only the floret stem remaining. Chop the remaining stems into a ¼ inch dice.
Note: Do not mash the delicate tips. You want vegetables bits, not a vegetables paste.
8. Put the eggs in a medium bowl and lightly whisk them.
9. Add the crème fraiche, cream, and garlic and whisk them together with the eggs.
10. Mix in the onions and leek mixture and the chopped broccoli.
11. Stir in the Emmental and half a cup of the Parmesan.
Tip: By mixing everything, before adding it to the potatoes, you get a thorough blending of the ingredients and avoid over-working the potatoes and turning them to “glue.”
12. Use a metal whisk to mash the potatoes.
Tip: Push down on each chunk of potato with the point of the whisk to break them up. You want about half of the potatoes completely mashed, but you also want plenty of ⅜-½ inch chunks of potato remaining.
Note: Do not use a standard potato masher, this would break the potatoes down too much. You want enough mashed potato to hold everything together, but you still want the texture of chunky potatoes. Smashed, not mashed, potatoes.
13. Preheat the oven to 425º F (220º C).
14. Pam a standard muffin pan, and put ⅓ of a cup of the mixture into each cup.
Tip: Use a spoon to push the mix into the cup so that there are no air pockets. The mix should come up to about an eighth of an inch from the lip of the cups. I had enough mix to fill 16 muffin cups full.
Note: If you do not have a muffin pan, you can put scoops of the mixture directly on a baking sheet. If the mix is too thin to hold its shape, stir in a quarter cup of bread crumbs to firm it up.
15. Sprinkle one teaspoon of Parmesan on top of each cup.
Tip: Use your fingers to spread the cheese over the top and tamp it down into the mixture.
16. Bake for 20 minutes.
17. Remove the muffin pan from the oven and let the medallions cool slightly.
18. Run a shape knife around the edges of each cup to loosen the medallions.
19. Turn the pan over on a clean surface and give it a strong rap to free the medallions from the pan.
Tip: This recipe makes a lot of Grönsakskaka, fortunately they freeze very well. If you are planning to freeze some for later consumption, now would be the time to put them on an uncovered tray in the freezer. After they have completely frozen, about one hour, place them in a plastic bag for storage.
Note: To reheat the frozen Grönsakskaka, microwave them for one minute and then put them, cheese side down, on a baking sheet in a 425º F (220º C) oven for ten minutes.
20. Place the medallions, cheese side down, on a Pam-ed baking sheet.
21. Continue baking the medallions for another ten minutes, until the tops are brown and crispy.
22. Serve warm as a side dish.
Tip: They also make a good addition to a breakfast plate.
Note: Two Grönsakskaka make one serving of potato and one serving of vegetables.
Variation: Grönsakskaka would also make a great hors d’oeuvre. use a mini-muffin pan and bake them for 10 minutes in the pan and an additional 8 minutes upside down on a baking sheet.