Dish of Swedish Meatballs
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Swedish Meatballs
Sweden
- Kottbullar
Makes:
Effort:
Sched:
DoAhead:  
10 app  
***
2-1/4 hr  
Yes

With complete disregard for tradition - that dishes named after a country are never actually served there, Swedish meatballs are an important item in Sweden - and Norway and Finland too. Small ones are served plain as appetizers and bigger ones with sauce, often as a main dish, perhaps over pasta.




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ar
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oz
t
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t

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Bread Crumbs, fine  
Cream
Water
-- Meat Mix
Beef, lean ground
Pork, lean ground
Onion
Allspice
Salt
Pepper
Eggs
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Butter
Olive Oil
There are dozens of recipes for Swedish meatballs because they're generally made from what's on hand. The traditional meat mix is beef and pork, but veal is also used and you can even use chicken thighs if you object to pork and/or veal.
  1. Put BREAD CRUMBS in a large mixing bowl and stir in Cream and Water. Let stand for at least 5 minutes. This is a critical point because if this mixture isn't pretty stiff you'll end up with Swedish micro-burgers instead of meatballs. Adjust as needed.
  2. Grind MEATS well if not already ground.
  3. Chop ONION very fine and fry stirring in a little Butter until just starting to color. Let cool.
  4. Stir all Meat Mix items into the Bread Crumbs and mix very well and evenly.
  5. Dust a holding surface lightly with flour. Oil your hands liberally with olive oil and form the Mix into balls. Toss them back and forth between your hands, gently squeezing into shape between tosses. If they start to stick rinse your hands, dry them on a paper towel, take a swig of your beer, re-oil and continue. Balls should be 1-1/2 inches (no larger) for dinner size, 1 inch (no smaller than 3/4 inch) for appetizer balls. Keep the balls as close to the same size as possible for even cooking. Production Pictures.
  6. In your 12 inch skillet melt Butter and cut it about 1/3 with Olive Oil (which will make it a little less temperature critical). Temperature is critical - you need it high enough to brown the meatballs well but never so hot as to see a wisp of smoke. The foam on the surface should stay a very light brown.. Butter / oil should be about 1/8 inch deep for well formed balls. If your meatballs sag and are more like micro-burgers, do not despair, but do increase the depth of the butter / oil mix to about 1/4 inch to make sure the sides brown.
  7. Oil your hands again. Giving each meatball a final shaping, set it gently into the pan. Do not crowd the pan, you need room to manipulate the balls, but they shouldn't be too sparse either.
  8. Once you've gotten them all in, start with the first ones and give them 1/4 turn or so. When you've gotten them all, go back and give them another 1/4 turn. I find a good set of tongs the best tool for this part.
  9. Now that they've firmed up, start rolling them around with a wooden spatula until they're done through and lightly browned all over. For 1-1/2 inch dinner balls this should be about 10 minutes, for 1 inch appetizer balls about 8 minutes.
  10. Drain the browned meatballs on paper towels. At this point they may be cooled for future use or kept warm for immediate use. For future use spread on a baking sheet and reheat in a 350°F/177°C oven for 15 minutes.
  11. Stir the meatballs into your chosen sauce until coated and serve warm.

Note-1:   Some recipes call for roasting the meatballs on a baking sheet in the oven at 450°F/230°C for 10 to 15 minutes. This is a lot easier if you're in a hurry, but frying is reputed to produce superior meatballs.

Note-2:   Another common seasoning is 1/4 t dry mustard and 1/8 t ground nutmeg in place of the allspice.




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Sauce #1
Butter
Flour
Beef Stock
Red Wine
Salt
Pepper
Sour Cherry Jam
Cream, heavy
This is a somewhat sweet sauce that goes over very well at parties, but you might want to cut back on the jam if serving it for dinner.
  1. Chill Beef Stock if it's hot.
  2. Melt Butter and stir in Flour. Fry stirring until the raw flour taste is gone and you have a blonde roux.
  3. Start slowly adding Beef Stock stirring constantly to prevent lumps. Stop when you get to the sauce consistency you want - a little thinner than you think it should be because it will stiffen when used.
  4. Add the Wine, Salt and Pepper. Simmer for a few minutes.
  5. Stir in Sour Cherry Jam to the degree of sweetness you want, mix well and simmer a few minutes.
  6. Stir in the Cream and turn off the heat.
NOTES:
  1. U.S. measure: t=teaspoon, T=Tablespoon, c=cup, qt=quart, oz=ounce, #=pound, cl=clove in=inch, ar=as required tt=to taste
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