My Mother's Cooking - Norwegian Staples - Krube and Lefse
Krube and Lefse
My Mother's Cooking
What is Lefse?
NORWEGIAN SPECIALTIES – KRUBE AND LEFSE
Before my mother met my father, she was married to a man of Norwegian descent named John Johnson. Being a good wife, she learned from his mother how to make two Norwegian staples, krube and lefse.
Krube is a large potato dumpling, a little bigger than a golf ball with a surprise in the middle. Lefse is a flat grilled pancake made from mashed potatoes and is often eaten with butter a lot like Greek pita bread or Mexican flour tortillas.
Unfortunately, her first husband was an abusive drunk who constantly hit, choked and threatened my mother and her two small children. The story of how she managed to get away is told in my short story, "The Five Dollar Gold Piece". Later, when she married my father, she brought her two small children with her along with these two recipes.
Krube (Potato Dumplings)
3 Large Russet Potatoes peeled
3 Cups of Flour (approximately)
1 Teaspoon Salt
2 Oz. of Salt Pork, Bacon or any other raw Pork that has some fat on it
- Grate the potatoes using a box grater. (You could use a food processor, but the texture of grated potatoes cannot be duplicated.)
- Place the potatoes in a large mixing bowl, drain off the excess liquid and mix in the salt.
- Add the flour, one-cup at a time, and mix in thoroughly. Keep adding flour with mixing until you have a large ball of dough much like a heavy bread dough.
- Form all of the dough into two-inch diameter balls.
- Cut the pork or bacon into ½ inch strips or cubes, poke a hole in each dumpling, insert the meat and close the hole.
- Meanwhile boil a large pot of water and drop the dumplings in, separating them with a slotted spoon. Some people salt the water, but I prefer to salt the dumplings
- The dumplings should cook about 30 minutes and rise to the surface to make certain that the raw pork is thoroughly cooked.
Serve as a side dish with roasts or stews. Some good pairings are with Swiss steak, spareribs with sauerkraut, Szekely goulash, veal paprikash or beef ragout. Surprisingly, krube is also good simply split in half with a pat of butter on each half.
Lefse (Potato Flat Bread)
6 Cups of Leftover Mashed Potatoes (or you can boil some potatoes and mash them)
3 Cups of Flour (approximately)
½ Cup of Whole Milk
½ Teaspoon Salt
- Place the mashed potatoes in a large bowl, add the milk and salt and mix with a large wooden spoon until smooth.
- Add the flour one-cup at a time and mix thoroughly with your hands until you get a stiff ball.
- Divide the dough into baseball sized balls.
- With a rolling pin, roll each ball into thin pancakes. Norwegians use a special tool, which puts shallow grooves into the pancakes, but a plain rolling pin will work just fine.
- Heat a large cast iron frying pan or a heavy non-stick pan until it is quite hot.
- The trick is to brown each pancake on both sides with little or no oil but without burning them. You will get the idea once you have made one or two.
- It is best to serve lefse hot off the grill with some butter rolled up inside. They are meant to be eaten with your hands.
- In Norway, they might also eat them with lingonberry jam or powdered sugar, but we only used butter.
Once you have made lefse, how you eat it is only limited by your imagination. You can eat them any way you would eat pita bread or tortillas.
Making Lefse Video
For additional ways to prepare potatoes, see the other sections of Chapter 6, which are listed below:
Chapter 6 – Potato Dishes
8. Norwegian Staples - Krube and Lefse
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