Monday, September 14, 2015

Swedish Meatballs with Cream Sauce and Homemade Stirred Lingon

Last weekend, the family was in the forest looking for mushrooms. We got a nice bunch of chanterelle but the forest was too dry for anything more.  To make up for the somewhat dissapointing haul, I decided to pick some lingon and make my own "rårorda" lingon, which roughly translates as "raw stirred". It was easy and satisfying to make the lingon conserve, although it took a bit of arm work stirring until the sugar dissolved. My solution to that was to make my son do it.
Gustaf loooooves stirring lingon.
And with the lingon, what should we have?  Why, meatballs, of course.  Meatballs are probably the most well-known of Swedish dishes.  And they are definately delicious.  They are made with a combination of pork and beef, which makes them both mild and juicy.  Served with a creamy sauce and eaten with the lingon, and mashed potatoes, it is one of my favorite meals.

These days, most Swedes buy their meatballs pre-made.  And while the store bought ones are pretty good, it is a pity because home-made meatballs are a treat.  They are not hard to make but they do take a little time because of all the rolling into balls.  Plus, you have to fry them up in batches.  Put the whole family to work rolling and frying, and mashing potatoes and you will all feel happy and content as you sit down to a great meal.

About 60 meatballs, serves 6 persons

1 pound (500 grams) ground pork

1 pound (500 grams) ground beef
1 large yellow onion
½ cup dried breadcrumbs
2 eggs, beaten
1 ½ cups milk
½ teaspoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 tablespoons concentrated
veal stock (kalv fond)
Salt and pepper to taste

Cream Sauce:
1 cup cream
1/2 cup water
1 tablespoon flour
soysauce and/or kalv fond to taste

In a large bowl, pour in the breadcrumbs, milk, sugar, soy sauce and concentrated veal stock.  (If you don’t have the veal stock, skip it and add in a teaspoon of salt). Stir and let stand so that the crumbs soak up the milk.  Meanwhile, chop the onion finely.  Make it as fine as you can be bothered to do.  As these are meatballs, if you have large pieces they will stick out of your meatballs.  Put a pan on the stove and put in a generous knob of butter.  When the butter is hot, add in the onions and cook for a few minutes until they have softened.
Breadcrumbs, flavorings and milk don't look yummy.

Softening the onions.

Add the eggs, meat, onions, and a good grinding of pepper, to the breadcrumb mixture and mix until well combined.
It looks like a lot of liquid but it will all mix in.

I use my hands to mix it, if I am in a hurry.
Check the seasoning of your mixture by frying a bit of it in the pan and tasting it.  Adjust the salt and pepper, if needed. Shape the mixture into round balls, about walnut sized.  You can make the meatballs bigger, but the downside is they take longer to cook and it is hard to get them to cook nicely in the middle before the outside burns.

Fry the meatballs in butter, in several batches. Shake the pan frequently to get the meatballs as round as possible.  In between each batch, rinse out the pan with a bit of water, reserving the juices for the gravy.  I usually put the finished meatballs in a serving dish in the oven to keep them warm while I finish the rest of the meatballs.
If you are good, you can "toss" the meatballs.  I just use tongs.
When all the meatballs are done and set aside, put the pan juices back into your pan.  Add a tablespoon of flour and stir it in, cooking for about a minute.  Add in the water and stir vigorously, scraping the pan to blend in all the flour.  Add in the cream and let the sauce come to a boil, stirring all the time.  Taste and adjust the seasonings.  If it is a bit bland, you can add in a bit of the veal stock and /or soy sauce.  When the sauce is slightly thickened, it is ready.
All the browned bits will make your sauce tasty.
Serve the meatballs hot with the cream sauce over, with mashed potatoes and lingon (recipe below). 
That is a tasty dinner.

Rårörda (Raw-stirred) Lingon
5 dl fresh lingon
2 dl sugar

Put the sugar and lingon in a large bowl. 
You can adjust the amount of sugar to your liking.
 Stir until the sugar is dissolved and no longer crunches against your spoon.  Transfer to a clean jar and store in the refrigerator.  If you want to keep it longer than a few weeks, then sterilize the jar.
Have to pick more lingon next time so it fills the jar.

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