LIHAPULLAT (Finnish beef and pork meatballs—sometimes made with reindeer meat — for eight)

¾ cup whole milk

3 slices white bread, crusts removed

6 ounces Valley Shepherd Califon Tomme, Cato Corner Dutch Farmstead or other mild, buttery Gouda-style cheese

1-1/2 cups loosely packed fresh parsley leaves, finely minced

¾ cup minced onion

2 large eggs

2 teaspoons salt

½ teaspoon ground white pepper

¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 tablespoon ground allspice

1 pound lean ground beef

1 pound ground pork

½ cup flour

¾ cup chicken broth

¼ cup vegetable oil, or as needed

½ cup heavy cream

small potatoes or egg noodles tossed with butter and parsley


  1. In a small saucepan over medium heat, warm milk just until steaming. Remove from heat and press bread into milk; set aside.
  2. Grate cheese on large holes of a box grater and place in a large bowl. Add parsley, onion, eggs, salt, white pepper, black pepper and allspice.  Stir well to combine.  Add ground beef, ground pork and milk-soaked bread.  Knead by hand or stir with a large wooden spoon until well blended.
  3. Spread flour on a plate. Roll meat mixture into 1-1/2 inch balls, and roll in flour to coat.  Place meatballs on a second plate.
  4. Heat oil in a skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Working in batches, add enough meatballs to loosely fit skillet.  Sear them for about 1 minute, then shake pan to turn meatballs.  (You may find it easier to turn them with tongs.)  Continue until well browned on all sides, about 5 minutes total, adding more oil to the pan as needed.  (The meatballs will have a tendency to flatten into patties while browning.  You can encourage them to maintain a ball shape by gently squeezing them with tongs.)  As they are browned, transfer meatballs to a Dutch oven, add broth and keep them warm over very low heat.  When all the meatballs have been browned, increase the heat to medium low and allow them to gently simmer f or 20 to 30 minutes, stirring gently from time to time.  Add cream and heat just until warmed.
  5. Serve with mashed potatoes or egg noodles with caraway and pickled cucumbers. Lingonberry jam is another traditional accompaniment, but it is hard to find in some parts of the world. Cranberry ketchup will do in a pinch.

NOTE:  This recipe is for entree-sized meatballs.  Made half this size, the meatballs can be served, with toothpicks, as appetizers.  Use cranberry ketchup as a dip and serve pickled cucumbers alongside.

from The New York Times, October 18, 2006

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