Monday, October 21, 2013

Comfort Food Monday: Swedish Meatballs

Swedish meatballs might be the ultimate comfort food for me. My grandma makes them every year for Christmas, so on the very rare occasion that I eat them more than once a year, they remind me of Christmas and my grandma. I'm not sure if food can get more comforting than that.

Swedish meatballs can range from very easy to fairly complicated. This recipe is somewhere in between. Essentially you are mixing different kinds of meat together with binders and spices, rolling them up, cooking them in a pan and then letting them cook further in a cream sauce. No big thing. Sure, making swedish meatballs is a little time consuming, but it's so worth it! 

Also, cream sauce. This is not the time to think about calories because you aren't making a salad because you''re not a rabbit. 

Sorry. I've been watching a lot of Parks and Rec this week. 

This is the recipe my grandma uses to make meatballs for Christmas, tweaked just slightly. It calls for a combination of beef, pork and veal. Ground veal can be a little tricky to find at a smaller grocery store, but it does make a big difference in the taste of your meatball. I found my ground veal frozen at the meat counter. If your grocery store doesn't have it, simply replace it with more beef and pork in equal parts. 

Swedish Meatballs 
1 pound ground beef
1/2 pound ground pork
1/2 pound ground veal
2 cups bread crumbs
1/2 cup milk
1 onion, grated
2 1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. fresh ground pepper
2 1/2 tsp. nutmeg
2 tsp. paprika
1 teaspoon dry mustard
3 beaten eggs
2 tbs. butter

1. In a large bowl, mix together the beef, pork and veal with your hands (don't think about it, just get in there).
2. In a separate bowl, mix together milk and bread crumbs. Add to meat and mix.
3. Add onions, eggs and seasonings and mix well with your hands, making sure everything is well incorporated and there are no bread crumb lumps.
4. Form into about 48 small balls. Melt butter in skillet and bring to medium heat. Brown meatballs on 2-3 sides for about 3 minutes on each. It's okay if it's not completely done all the way through.
5. Place meatballs into a large cast iron dutch oven/casserole dish. Preheat oven to 400 degrees and make sauce.

2 tbs. butter
2. tbs. flour
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
2 cups half and half
1 cup water
1 tsp. beef paste
1 1/2 tbs. tomato paste
1 tbs. worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 tsp. all spice
salt and fresh ground pepper

1. In the skillet the meatballs were browned in, melt butter over medium heat. Add flour and whisk until flour forms balls. Let cook for about a minute while whisking.
2. Add half and half and garlic. Let cook for a few minutes, whisking frequently until flour is no longer in balls and has incorporated. Add water, and beef base. Let come to a slow boil, whisking frequently. Add tomato paste, all spice, nutmeg, worcestershire sauce and fresh ground pepper.
3. Let sauce cook for several minutes, whisking occasionally until sauce thickens. Add more salt to taste. Pour sauce onto meatballs, making sure all meatballs are covered in sauce.
4. Cover and place in oven for about 30-40 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool for about 20 minutes. Serve over egg noodles or with mashed potatoes.

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