Kroppkaka is old-school Swedish food and one of my very favorite family food traditions. It’s basically a potato dumpling stuffed with bacon and allspice. It can be eaten plain but is much yummier cut in slices and fried in (lots and lots of) butter. We don’t get kroppkaka very often — maybe once every couple of years — because it’s really labor-intensive. (The recipe that I’ll give uses frozen hashbrowns, which really cuts down on the preparation time because the biggest task was always to grind potatoes.)
I can no longer even think about kroppkaka without telling the story of Jason’s first experience with it. Poor guy. When Jason and I were dating I took him over to my aunt’s house for kroppkaka. I knew by this time that Jason liked butter and bacon, so I really, truly thought he might be one of the rare people who just love it on first try. Wrong. So so very wrong.
I hadn’t prepared Jason at all, and to make a long story short, he didn’t know what it was made of and mistook it for basically fried lard. Oh dear. Keep in mind that it was the first time that he met any of my aunts or my grandma. He was so polite about it, but I’m pretty sure it must have been about the worst thing he’d eaten up to that point.
My grandma and my aunt made kroppkaka for Christmas this year, and Jason even agreed to give it another try (he is a saint). He did, and he still didn’t love it or really even like it, but he was at least better informed this time. Simon, on the other hand, showed that he is a good Swedish boy and eagerly ate it up. (He also liked potato sausage, the other traditional Swedish food we had this year.)
So now that I’ve scared away pretty much everyone except my own family, who already love it, I give you the recipe.
- 1 26-ounce bag frozen shredded hashbrown potatoes, thoroughly thawed
- 2 ¾ cups flour
- 1 ¼ cups water
- 4 teaspoons salt
- 2-3 pounds bacon, cut into small bits (my dad bought bacon ends, which are considerably less expensive than regular bacon — they come in a box, and 3 pounds is something like $5.99)
- Combine the hashbrowns, flour, water, and salt to form a dough.
- Combine the bacon with enough allspice to coat it all.
- Form the dough into an oval about ½-inch thick and about the size of your hand.
- Add a tablespoon or so of the bacon and allspice mixture, and fold the dough around it to make a ball. Make sure all the bacon is sealed in, or the kroppkaka will fall apart.
- Lower the balls (kroppkakor) into pots of boiling water, and boil for about an hour.
- Gently remove the kroppkakor with a slotted spoon (they will be extremely delicate at this point), and allow to cool for several hours or overnight.
- When ready to serve, cut the kroppkakor into ½-inch slices and fry in butter until the bacon is done and the potato part is golden brown.
- Serve with more butter and salt to taste
You can find more information about kroppkaka here.