I've kept the original post with pictures and directions, you can see it below. It's fun to look back and see what we were making.
This winter has been truly lovely. Very little snow and warmer-than-normal days. The kids have been playing outside on their scooter and bikes. Our sunsets and sunrises have been beautiful and inspiring.
Since attending Alt Summit a few weeks ago, I've felt a renewed sense of creativity and productivity. I put this blog on the shelf thinking I was spending too much time on it and not enough time on other things. Well, I spent time on the other things and now I'm ready to get back to it.
So for days I've been working like mad to create recipes and photograph the results. I've felt so fulfilled and so exhausted at the same time. My family had been benefitting from these labors and has very much enjoyed having a mother who cooks dinner for them again.
I take such joy out of cooking for my family. I love when they love something I've worked hard on. There is no greater praise, as far as I'm concerned, than my children and husband licking their plates clean.
Swedish Meatballs are comforting. As they cooked, I felt nostalgic for the days when my kids were little babies and I was cooking my tiny NY kitchen. Now they're big and I'm cooking in my tiny Utah kitchen. :)
I served these with a delicious Rutabaga Puree and Braised Kale with Gluten-Free Breadcrumbs. If you've never tried rutabaga, you must!
Original recipe and pictures:
Have you ever had real Swedish Meatballs? If you have, you'd remember.
Every time I head to IKEA, I pick up a couple of bags of their meatballs to keep on hand. My kids love meatballs. (And don't forget extra packet of the gravy!)
But, when I'm really in the mood for some amazing, out-of-this-world meatballs, I pull out The Joy of Cooking and get to work.
from The Joy of Cooking
1 Tbsp. butter
1 Tbsp. onions, finely minced
3/4 lb. ground pork
3/4 lb. ground beef
2/3 cup fresh bread crumbs
1 cup water (I sometimes use milk instead)
2 egg yolks
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. each: nutmeg, allspice, ground pepper
4 Tbsp. butter
2 Tbsp. flour
2 cups beef stock
Melt butter in a small, heavy-bottomed pan and cook the onions until soft, about 1-2 minutes. Set aside.
In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the bread crumbs and water. Let stand 2 minutes.
To the bread and water, add the remaining ingredients and the reserved onions.
Beat on low speed until smooth. **(see note below)
Turn the mixer to high and beat until the mixture becomes light in color and fluffy, about 10 minutes.
Use two spoons dipped in water to shape the meat into 1" balls. (I use a small ice cream scoop.)
Note: If you want prettier meatballs, use the two spoons. I am usually in a hurry to get dinner on the table, so an ice cream scoop and misshaped meatballs suits me just fine.
Heat the butter in a large, heavy-bottomed skillet over medium heat. (I do this in a non-stick skillet.) Cook the meatballs in batches of 15 -20, making sure to brown them evenly on all sides. (I also divide the butter in half and use 2 Tbsp. per batch of cooked meatballs instead of all 4 tbsp at once.)
Remove the browned meatballs and drain them briefly on a plate lined with paper towels. (I don't put them on paper towels, usually there isn't that much grease. Also, I don't cook the meatballs all the way at this point in the recipe.)
(They are browned, but still a little pink in the middle--no worries, they'll have their chance to cook all the way.)
After all the meatballs have been cooked, add the flour to the skillet. Cook, stirring, until lightly browned. Slowly add the beef stock. Cook while whisking until the gravy is thick and smooth.
Note: If I don't have homemade or canned beef stock on hand, I use powdered boullion and water.
To add extra flavor, I add a little bit of either Gravy Master or Kitchen Bouquet. This also helps make the gravy a little darker. Now, I'm not sure if they'll let me into cooking school after admitting that I use this stuff all the time in my gravy. But, really, I think it imparts a good flavor when you find that your dish is lacking some.
Okay, back to the recipe--
Strain the gravy if desired. Pour the gravy over the meatballs and serve hot.
I add the partially cooked meatballs back to the gravy and let them simmer for another 10 minutes or so.
Mashed or boiled potatoes
Cranberry sauce or Lignonberry jam (I buy mine at IKEA)
**Now, a word on why you need to beat the meat in a mixer. This does sound strange, am I right?
Well, what this does is break down the meat further to create the most delectable texture that practically melts in your mouth. They are light, not dense like most meatballs can be. And together with the spices, they have an flavor reminiscent of sausage. There are many recipes out there, but this one is the best I've found.
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