Monday, September 7, 2015

Swedish Meatballs

I love Swedish meatballs but prefer a lighter version using milk instead of cream. The photo below doesn't do this dish justice because, by the time I got around to taking it, Gil had already had his share and there was not much left in the pot. So, just imagine that there's a whole lot more sauce going on over those noodles! The blend of ground beef and pork, along with the milk-soaked bread, give the meatballs their nice, tender texture. 


Ingredients:
4 slices white bread, crusts removed and quartered
1/2 cup milk
1 lb. ground beef
1 lb. ground pork
2 egg yolks
1 medium onion, grated through the largest holes of a box grater
1/4 tsp. grated nutmeg
1/4 tsp. ground allspice
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper

Vegetable oil for frying

4 tbsp. flour
4 cups low sodium chicken broth
2 tbsp. brown sugar
3 bay leaves (fresh if you have it)
1/2 cup whole milk
1/2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
2 tbsp. lemon juice or sour cream
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper

Chopped fresh parsley or dill for garnish
Lingonberry preserves or red currant jelly (optional)

8 oz. egg noodles, cooked according to instructions (extra wide egg noodles are chewier, so if you like softer noodles, use regular)

1. Place the quartered white bread pieces in a large bowl. Add 1/2 cup of milk and mash together with the bread with a fork to a smooth paste.

2. Add the ground beef, ground pork, egg yolks, grated onion, nutmeg, allspice, 1 tsp. of salt and 1/2 tsp. of pepper to the bread mixture. Using your hands or with a wooden spoon, gently combine the ingredients until just combined. You can make the meat mixture up to a day ahead before using - just cover with plastic wrap or foil and refrigerate.

3. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil, plastic wrap or parchment paper. Take the meat mixture out and use a spoon to form meatballs, about 1 heaping tablespoon each. Place the meatballs on the baking sheet (makes about 50 meatballs).

4. Cook the egg noodles according to package instructions (usually 8-9 minutes for al dente), drain, and set aside.

5. Pour 1/4" of oil (not more) in a large saute pan and heat over medium high. When the oil starts to bubble, add the meatballs in a single layer (cook in 2-3 batches so as not to overcrowd). Fry the meatballs, turning occasionally, 5-7 minutes or until browned on all sides. Remove to a paper towel-lined platter or baking sheet.

6. When all the meatballs have been fried, pour out all but 4 tbsp. oil from the pan (keep the brown bits in). Return the pan back to the stove over medium high heat. Add the flour and mix with the oil about 30 seconds to make a roux. 

7. Add the chicken broth, brown sugar and bay leaves. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer. Cook for several minutes until the sauce has thickened. 

8. Stir in 1/2 cup milk and bring to a boil. Add the meatballs and Worcestershire sauce, bring to a boil, and turn off heat. Stir in lemon juice (or sour cream), salt and pepper. 

9. Plate the cooked egg noodles onto individual serving plates, then top with a generous portion of meatballs and sauce. Garnish with chopped fresh parsley and/or dill. Serve with a dollop of lingonberry preserves or red currant jelly on the side, if desired.  


Remove the crusts from the bread slices and cut them into quarters. 

Mash the bread together with the milk.

Ground pork and ground beef. 

Grate the onion using a box grater. 

Combine the ground meats, grated onion, eggs, milk-soaked bread, salt, pepper, allspice and nutmeg in a bowl. Mix together gently with your hands or using a wooden spoon. 

Line a baking sheet with foil, parchment paper or plastic wrap. Measure out 1 heaping tablespoon of meat and shape into a ball. Place on the baking sheet and continue to form meatballs until all the mixture has been used (will make about 50 meatballs). These can be made a day ahead - just cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to use.

Seasonings: Kosher salt, pepper, nutmeg and allspice. 

Heat 1/4" of oil in a pan over medium high. Add the meatballs (cook in batches if needed so as not to overcrowd the pan) and fry 5-7 minutes until golden. Remove to a paper towel-lined baking sheet to drain. 

Some of the sauce ingredients: milk, flour, lemon juice, brown sugar, and bay leaves.

Leave 3-4 tbsp. of oil in the pan and bring back up to heat over medium high. 

Stir in the flour, about 30 seconds, to make a roux. 

Add chicken stock, bay leaves, and brown sugar. 

Bring to a boil, reduce heat to simmer, and cook several minutes, stirring constantly, until the sauce has thickened. 

Stir in milk and bring to a boil.

Add the meatballs and Worcestershire sauce. Bring to a boil then turn off the heat. 

Add the lemon juice and season with salt and pepper. 

Serve the meatballs over noodles, garnished with fresh parsley and/or dill. 

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