Saturday, 1 November 2008

Swedish Meatballs

I've been reading a few sites where people have been talking about stereotypical foods from the 1960's, and Swedish meatballs inevitably get mentioned. They may be stereotypical "retro food", but they are also delicious, and after I read enough snickering comments about them I got a hankering to make some.

They were not everyday fare, but a popular party food in their day, and I was reminded why when I made them. They are definitely rather time-consuming to make, although they can be made ahead and re-heated. Definitely not something to whip up on a weeknight. And while I'm not generally inclined to worry about the fat content of foods too much, there is no doubt that these are extremely rich. I wouldn't want to be eating these every week. Well, I might want to, but good sense forbids.

6 to 8 servings
2 hours, and you will have to keep your nose to the grindstone

Swedish Meatballs
2 medium potatoes
2 slices bread
1/2 cup water
1 small onion
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
700 grams(1 1/2 pounds) ground beef
250 grams (1/2 pound) lean ground pork
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns, ground
1/2 teaspoon allspice berries, ground
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
2 large eggs

Boil the potatoes until tender, and mash them. (It is perfectly reasonable to use some leftover mashed potatoes; say about a cup to a cup and a half of them.) Meanwhile, soak the bread in the water. I used a German style 100% rye bread which worked quite well, I thought. Crumble it up throughly.

Peel the onion and mince it as finely as you can. Sauté it in a smidgeon of oil until soft. No need to wash the pan if you are using it shortly for cooking the meatballs.

Mix the potatoes, crumbled soaked bread, sautéed onions, beef, pork spices and eggs in a large bowl. Mix very well. It is probably the easiest and most efficient to mix with your hands.

Form the mixture into meatballs, and set them out on a plate or sheet of waxed paper as you work. Form the meatballs firmly; they will need to withstand a certain amount of handling still.

To Cook the Meatballs:
3 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup flour
3 cups beef stock
500 grams (1 pound) button mushrooms)
3 more tablespoons butter... yeah, I know...
1 cup light cream (5% or 10%)
salt & pepper

Brown the meatballs in batches in the skillet you used to cook the onion. As they are browned, put them in a large pot.

When they are done, melt the butter in the pan, then stir in the flour to make a smooth paste and cook, stirring well, until golden. Slowly stir in the beef stock until you have a smooth sauce. Pour it over the meatballs, and simmer them for 40 minutes, stirring regularly.

Clean the mushrooms and slice them. Sauté them in the remaining butter until lightly browned. Add them to the simmering meatballs. Just before the meatballs are done, check the sauce and adjust the salt and pepper. Add the cream and continue to simmer for a minute or two until hot through.

Serve over mashed potatoes or Clapshot, with cranberry sauce or Currant Catsup.

Last year at this time I made pie - Brown Rice Pie Pastry made into a Mixed Apple Pie.


Bellini Valli said...

These are definitely a good blast from the past. I have thought of making them lately myself with some comforting mashed potatoes:D

rogin said...

I lived in Sweden for 10 years and they are a regular everyday food there. Definitely a very important dish on the julbord (a Christmas smörgåsbord) Try making them with ground moose meat and serve some lingonberry jam with them. Highly recommended and so yummy!

Ferdzy said...

Alas, I am not in moosemeat territory, but if I ever get my hands on some I will most definitely try that! Thanks for commenting. And how exciting to live in Sweden...