Thursday, August 13, 2009

Swedish Meatballs

Summer is usually a time when I crave nothing but fresh produce and light meals. Sometimes, however, but stomach turns traitor and I just gotta have some comfort food. This year, I've been seeing a lot of traitorous activity in my nether-regions, I suppose due to the fact that our weather has been so freakishly fickle, and the produce hasn't exactly been overflowing. So, it didn't surprise me recently when my brain started whispering the words..."Swedish Meatballs" a low, lecherous tone, making my mouth water.

See, normally, I consider comfort food to be those dishes that remind me most of my youth, or other times when I felt safe, secure, and otherwise content. Swedish Meatballs is not a meal I ever at as a kid, but it reminds me so much of Beef Stroganoff (which IS a meal I remember fondly from my mother's kitchen) which I can't eat because it is generally made with mushrooms.

I dug around a bit and came across this great blog and a recipe for Swedish Meatballs that sounded great. I made my grocery list and planned to go to the store after work to get the ingredients. And then....I got the know the call....the one from the school/daycare that has you turning your work PC off before you've even hung up the phone, standing up from your chair and hollering to your office neighbor that you have to leave because Mt. Vesuvius is erupting breakfast all over his school.....yeah, THAT call.

So, unfortunately, I didn't get to try Gin's recipe, but I did have all the ingredients I needed for another version (from Alton Brown) that I had printed and saved a day or so before. Taking advantage of Ty's four hour uber-nap that afternoon, I mixed up the meat and rolled all the meatballs. When I have a dish with meatballs in it, I like to have one that is actually bite-sized. I want to be able to shove the whole thing in my mouth without either having to cut it, or take a bite out of it while its still on the fork, so I use my little scooper that I use to make my Aztec Truffles (hmmm haven't posted about those yet...mental note to buy chocolate...) so they would be nice and manageable. However, you know what that means...the smaller the meatball, the MORE meatballs you have to roll....yeah, I was at it for a while.

In the end, it was so worth it. I made the meatballs up ahead of time and then left the pan on the stove until Matt got home and whisked up the gravy while boiling some egg noodles. I ate the leftovers the next day while we were at home again (under sick-boy house arrest) and they were just as tasty the second time around.

The one thing I might do different next time is increase the seasonings. The meatballs were tasty, just a bit bland for my taste buds. I also wondered about rolling them in either breadcrumbs or Parmesan cheese before cooking them....something for next time.
Alton Brown's 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.

**And, if you're me, while the meatballs are cooking, set a pot of salter water to boil and make some nice egg noodles to serve this won't be sorry!


ARLENE said...

OMG, haven't had a Swedish meatball! can't remember the last time. Not a dish my mom made, but I made them when I was young, usually as an hors d'ouevres. Yum, yours look great. Hope Mt. V is better.

Kim said...

Sorry to hear that your little guy is sick again : ( Sick-guy house arrest...I'm real familiar with it. I love swedish meatballs with all that yummy gravy and the noodles. They look really saucy and yummy.

NV said...

Aw, poor Ty! Hope he's feeling better.

As for you ... if I didn't like you so much, I might throttle ya. Those meatballs look to die for! Now I'm starting and it's barely 8 a.m. :-)

NV said...

I meant "starving."

Pam said...

I've been thinking about Swedish meatballs ever since last my last trip to Ikea.