What is your ultimate comfort food?
Often times, our favorite comfort food stems from the food we ate growing up. Lefse is one of my favorite comfort foods - it was present at nearly every major family gathering.
Food is a magical teleporter. One bite of a croque monsieur and your living room is transformed to a Parisian cafe. One bite of lefse and I'm 10 years old again surrounded by a loving family.
Klub and kringers teleport my husband's aunts and uncle to their mother's kitchen with all the smells and tastes of a Norwegian home. Annually, my extended in-law family convenes in Wisconsin to relish in their favorite comfort food - together.
The annual klub party is a big event. Cooking starts in the morning and typically doesn't end until the evening (unless we are super organized!). About 30 people attended the annual klub festivities this year, and relatives flew in from the east and the southwest.
Kringers are usually one of the first things to be made. These are simply freshly baked bread with cinnamon and sugar sprinkled on the top.
It's hard to go wrong with these. They are usually gobbled up as soon as they are out of the oven.
Klub, however, is the real star of the day. Klub (pronounced "krub" by my in-laws) is like a potato dumpling but has a coarser texture than a dumpling since it is made with raw potatoes. Despite their simple ingredients, they require quite a process to make.
Mountains of potatoes are peeled and cut into chunks along with a few yellow onions.
Then, the potatoes and onions are put through a meat grinder - this is what gives them a coarse texture. Excess moisture is removed and flour and saltine crackers are stirred in. Finally, they are shaped into balls and boiled for about 20 minutes before serving.
Klub is often served with bacon or sometimes... beef blood (eeeeeek!) is stirred into the dough. Thankfully, my in-laws serve the bacon on the side and didn't make blood klub this year. I'm not a vegetarian who gets grossed out by others eating meat, but blood klub....Ew.
Klub is great the next day too. Just slice the dumplings and fry them up in a little butter (or bacon grease if you must...) and enjoy! Some like cinnamon and sugar on them while others like maple syrup. A little sweetener on them is pretty delicious.
I contributed some Beets Gone Wild to the feast. I had gotten some chioggia beets in my CSA box a few days before the Klub party, and since Beets Gone Wild is a favorite recipe, I decided to bring it along. I just love how the feta cheese melts just enough to coat the warm wild rice and beets. The fresh herbs make this dish sing. Added bonus - it is super easy to make. :)
Along with over 30 people at the party, three cats and two dogs hung out with us too. These cats were super friendly and received plenty of attention throughout the day.
While this Klub party was all about food traditions, it got me thinking about new versions of these old favorites. Pumpkin Kringers with Cardamom. Pesto Klub. Klub with Caramelized Onions. Garlic Klub. Cheesy Klub. Oh my. We may need more than one day to eat all the klub...
What are your favorite childhood comfort foods?
Labels: Beets, Bread, Klub, Kringers, Norwegian, Potato, wild rice