Thursday, October 13, 2016

Swedish Meatballs

Eat your heart out, Ikea! Just kidding, these meatballs were inspired by Ikea actually; my aim was to recreate my beloved meatballs but just make them a little less salty. They're certainly more expensive (and free of horsemeat, harhar) but they're fresher, which is a plus.

I thought about putting a spin on these meatballs by making them spicy or something, but then I decided that I really wanted the classic $2 treat that I gorge on every time I shop at Ikea. So, with that in mind, I grabbed a bunch of ingredients out of the pantry, bought a couple of packs of ground meat, and set to it. And you know what? These turned out pretty delicious. They weren't exactly like Ikea's but they were possibly better, mostly just because they were less salty and my salt-intolerant family and I really needed that.
Ingredients:
meatballs
¼ cup finely grated onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
¼ cup panko breadcrumbs
¼ cup cream
½ teaspoon nutmeg
½ teaspoon ground mustard
¼ teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
1 egg
1 lb. ground beef
1 lb. ground pork
1 tablespoon butter

gravy
2 tablespoons pan drippings
2 tablespoons flour
1 cup beef broth
splash cream
¼ cup sour cream

Start by making the meatball mixture. Combine the grated onion (juices and all), minced garlic, breadcrumbs, cream, and spices and stir. Leave until the breadcrumbs have absorbed all of the moisture. Whisk in an egg.
Add in both the ground beef and ground pork and gently stir and gradually combine, using a fork, until homogenous. I like using a fork rather than hands because I find that when I use my hands, I tend to mash the meat together and end up with really dense, not-so-nice, chewy meatballs.
Form the meat mixture into meatballs. I used a 1½ tablespoon measure, and it was perfect for emulating the Ikea meatball size.
Grab a skillet - I like cast iron - and melt in some butter over medium heat. Once the pan is hot, drop in the meatballs and fry lightly until golden brown all over.
The meat mixture yields quite a few meatballs, I would say close to three dozen, so I did this in batches.
Remove the meatballs as they're browned. It doesn't really matter if they're cooked all the way through because you'll finish them in the gravy anyway, but if it bugs you, you can certainly cook them through. I actually prefer them underdone and finished in the gravy because I think it yields a more tender meatball.
Once the meatballs are done, you can get onto the gravy. Drain off all but two tablespoons of fat in the same meatball-cooking skillet. Whisk in the flour until there are no lumps and allow the roux to cook for about two minutes, just to get rid of the raw flour flavor. Slowly whisk in the beef broth and allow the gravy to cook until thickened, whisking intermittently to get rid of lumps. Once the gravy is nice and thick, whisk in a little heavy cream and sour cream.
Nestle the meatballs into the gravy and let the meatballs finish cooking through.
We had a lovely jar of lingonberry preserves to serve with our meatballs, which is ideal. However, if you don't have access (meaning you don't have a lingonberry bush in your backyard and/or no Ikea around) you can substitute either red currant jam or cranberry sauce. The substitutes aren't quite equal to lingonberry jam (which has the perfect amount of sweetness and tartness) but they're close.
There weren't any potatoes in the house so I served my meatballs up with some rice, which was still delicious. And of course, we needed some veg, so we had some sauteed broccolini and a big salad.
These meatballs are so good and they totally hit the spot. The gravy is rich and warm and definitely compulsory. The meatballs themselves are flavorful and tender. I highly recommend enjoying these with something that will soak up the sauce, whether that's some wavy egg noodles, some mash, or in our case, rice.
Here's the recipe page:

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