Sunday, June 14, 2009

Swedish Meatballs

A couple of years ago my family was invited to the home of a friend who is from Finland. She made traditional Finnish (or they might have been Swedish) meatballs. We loved them. I decided that is what I wanted to make for our challenge this week, but my friend is moving with her family to Finland for a year and had packed her cookbooks by the time I asked for the recipe, so I had to find one online. It found the recipe below on the Food Network website, courtesy of Alton Brown. You can find the original recipe here.

Swedish Meatballs

2 slices fresh white bread
1/4 cup milk
3 tablespoons clarified butter, divided
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
a pinch plus 1 teaspoon kosher salt
3/4 pound ground chuck
3/4 pound ground pork
2 large egg yolks
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
3 cups beef broth
1/4 cup heavy cream

Preheat oven to 200 degrees F.

Tear the bread into pieces and place in a small mixing bowl along with the milk. Set aside.

In a 12-inch straight sided saute pan over medium heat, melt 1 tablespoon of the butter. Add the onion and a pinch of salt and sweat until the onions are soft. Remove from the heat and set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the bread and milk mixture, ground chuck, pork, egg yolks, 1 teaspoon of kosher salt, black pepper, allspice, nutmeg, and onions. Beat on medium speed for 1 to 2 minutes.

Using a scale, weigh meatballs into 1-ounce portions and place on a sheet pan. Using your hands, shape the meatballs into rounds.

Heat the remaining butter in the saute pan over medium-low heat, or in an electric skillet set to 250 degrees F. Add the meatballs and saute until golden brown on all sides, about 7 to 10 minutes. Remove the meatballs to an ovenproof dish using a slotted spoon and place in the warmed oven.

Once all of the meatballs are cooked, decrease the heat to low and add the flour to the pan or skillet. Whisk until lightly browned, approximately 1 to 2 minutes. Gradually add the beef stock and whisk until sauce begins to thicken. Add the cream and continue to cook until the gravy reaches the desired consistency. Remove the meatballs from the oven, cover with the gravy and serve.

Makes approximately 30 meatballs, 4 to 6 servings.

****I didn't have any white bread, so I used 1/2 cup of bread crumbs in place of the white bread slices. This didn't seem to cause any problems. I used lean ground beef and pork (I think both 97% or something like that). I just used regular butter. I didn't feel like making clarified butter and I have never seen it at the store to buy it. I used nutmeg from a container instead of freshly ground stuff. I ended up adding another tablespoon of flour because I couldn't get the sauce to thicken.

These meatballs were delicious. My whole family loved them. My 4 1/2 year old wouldn't even eat dinner with us at first. When he finally got up to the table I told him he had to eat one meatball. I think he ate at least 10. My batch made about 63 meatballs, so I guess I made them smaller than the recipe suggests (I don't have a scale to measure out the portions). I like smaller meatballs anyway. And they were pretty fast to make. I got all of the meatballs made and cooked in about a half hour. The sauce took about another 20 minutes or half hour, but only because I couldn't get it to thicken. I had IKEA's Swedish meatballs last month while I was there shopping and I liked these ones way better.

I would rate this recipe at 5 stars. I would definitely serve this at a dinner party. I think it could make a fun appetizer.

I once again forgot to take a picture. I need to do better with that.

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