Monday, November 17, 2014

Swedish Meatballs

Swedish Meatballs always call to mind the 1970s.  They were a fad party dish back then, like Fondue for Shish Kabobs.  But don’t write ‘em off like you did your old bell bottom jeans or rhinestone disco jacket.  Swedish Meatballs are savory and delicious and a lot of fun to serve.  (so are fondue and shish kabobs, but those are for another time) 

Swedish Meatballs have a really unique flavor that’s worlds apart from your run-o-the-mill (or perhaps it’s run-o-the-meal) meatball that accompanies your spaghetti and depends on a fab sauce for its flavor.  Nutmeg and Allspice play a key role here in these little balls o flavor, and the sauce ain’t half bad either.  So put on some Bee Gees, or better yet, some ABBA, and get to cooking. 

Swedish Meatballs

1 Cup Breadcrumbs
2/3 Cup Milk
1 Large Onion, Finely Minced
4 Tablespoons Butter
2 Eggs
1 Lb Lean Ground Beef
1 Lb Ground Pork
1 Teaspoon Salt
1 Teaspoon Ground Nutmeg
1 Teaspoon Black Pepper
1/2 Teaspoon Allspice
1/4 Teaspoon Cardamom
2 Tablespoons Olive or Vegetable Oil
1/4 Cup Flour
16 Oz Beef or Veal Stock
1/2 Cup Sour CreamPreheat oven to 375F

Add your bread crumbs to a small bowl.  

Add the milk and mix thoroughly.  

Set aside for 15 minutes or so until the bread crumbs absorb all the milk.  Melt one tablespoon of the butter in a skillet.  

While this is melting, mince your onion finely.  I like to halve it, then quarter the half onion, 

and then use this little device (a Slap Chop!)

to really mince the onion finely, almost making it a paste.  

Repeat with the other half of the onion and then sauté the onion paste for a few minutes to build flavor.  

Remove from heat and let cool. 

Add the cooled onions to a large mixing bowl, then add the eggs, ground beef, ground pork, salt, nutmeg, pepper, allspice and cardamom.  

Finally add the milk and breadcrumb mixture to this, then using your hands, knead and mix the whole affair until the spices and other ingredients are thoroughly incorporated into the meats. 

Next, begin forming your meatballs!  Grab a palm-full of the meat mixture and form it into a nice ball.  

We’re making these a little larger than what we would for meatballs destined for spaghetti—make them about two inches across for more-than-a-mouthful greatness.  Pack the balls as tightly as possible so that they will stay together for the next step.

Make as many meatballs as you have mixture.  This recipe should make about 16-20 meatballs.

Heat your oil in a skillet and then sauté the meatballs 

in batches, turning them all around....   

...until they are well browned on all sides.

Transfer them to a sheet pan lined with parchment paper.  Since the meatballs are so thick, we are going to roast them to finish cooking the meat on the inside.  Place in the 375F oven and roast for 20 minutes or so, or until a meat thermometer reads 150F in the center of a meatball.    

While the meatballs are cooking in the oven, make your gravy.  Add the other three tablespoons of butter to skillet 

and when it has melted, sift in the flour.  

Let this cook a moment or two, then stir it a bit, then slowly add the beef stock.  (if you have access to veal stock, use that for even better flavor)  Let this mixture simmer for a bit to thicken, and adjust flavor with salt and pepper if necessary. 

When the meatballs are done, 

platter then up and cover them with the sauce.  Serve immediately. 

We like to serve them simply, on top of some nice butter noodles.  

Until Next Time,


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