Hello Everyone! We’re finally into the last month for 2016! Gosh how time flies by so quickly! Anyway, I won’t go into another sentimental tangent on how the year is almost up and all that jazz, and I’ll just get right into it! Like I said on Instagram, I won’t reveal what the theme for December will be for Amcarmen’s Kitchen – instead I will have you guys guess what the theme is. You don’t have to guess right away, and I think the theme will only be a little more clear by the second or third week.
So, I first came across this dish, not through my travels to Sweden, but through the many adventures I’ve had when, as stereotypical as this will sound, visiting IKEA. Yes, IKEA – whether it was when I was still living in Australia, or travelling through Singapore, you’d definitely see me at their food court for either lunch, or dinner, depending on the time of day I visited there, with a plate of köttbullar. If you were to ask ten different Swedes about making köttbullar, you will most indefinitely get ten different answers. Sure they would be similar in some way or another, but most Swedes will have their own way of making köttbullar and so everyone will use a bit more or a bit less of this or that ingredient. Apparently, köttbullar is Sweden’s national dish, which some do question as it is not a particular exciting dish that speaks for the whole Swedish cuisine. Nonetheless, I think most real Swedes would agree that these meatballs are pretty good.
I can’t get over how deliciously amazing the gravy that accompanied my meatballs were. I think I probably ate half of it by the time every element for the dish was done, and I definitely drowned my balls in the gravy after. In southern Sweden many people prefer their ground meat with a little more fat, but the further north you go, the less pork you will find in the meatball mixture. However, bread or crumbs allowed to swell in milk are as important as the lingonberries on the side. They give Swedish meatballs their special soft consistency. I had some leftover herbed focaccia bread lying in the fridge from the week before and so I decided to cut them up into about 1cm cubes, drizzle them with a bit of olive oil and then toast them in the oven until browned and crisp. I then added the toasted bread into a food processor and pulsed until crumbed. Before we dive into the recipe, please check out the original recipe for Classic Swedish Meatballs over on BBC Good Food.
Also, you may notice that once you go through to the recipe that I mentioned about ‘blanching’ the balls before browning them. The reason why I decided to blanch the balls first is to maintain it’s round shape and therefore I shall not encounter a lifetime of sadness when it come to browning them after. I cannot express how much sadness I’ve experienced when making meatballs. Every time I fry them, the go flat on one side, and of course, when I try to flip them, they somehow get ruined, and when that happens, my day is ruined.
PREP TIME 15 MINS | COOKING TIME 20 MINS | MAKES 20 MEATBALLS*
*My balls were about slightly smaller than a ping pong ball and I managed to make 20 of them. You could probably make 30-35 balls if they are slightly smaller than mine.
For the meatballs
- 400g lean pork mince
- 1/3 cup bread crumbs
- 1 large free range egg, beaten
- 1 small brown onion, finely chopped
- 1 tbsp finely chopped parsley, plus extra to serve
- Ground salt and black pepper, to taste
For the gravy
- 3 cups beef or pork stock**
- 50g unsalted butter
- 3 tbsp plain flour
- Ground salt and black pepper, to taste
Optional to serve
- Chunky mashed potatoes
- 2-4 tbsp of Lingonberry (otherwise red currant, raspberry, or cranberry jelly), less or more to taste
**I made my own pork stock by boiling a few pork bones with black peppercorns, salt, and dried bay leaves.
- In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients for the meatballs and mix until well incorporated. Then, form the pork mince mixture into meatballs to the size that you want.
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and the drop each meatball in one by one and ‘blanch’ for about a minute to a minute and a half before removing them from the pot. You may need to do this in batches if your pot is not big enough. Once removed, drain.
- Heat a large frying pan with about 2 tbsp of olive oil over medium-high. Add in the meatballs and brown all over, about 5 minutes altogether. Again, you may need to do this in batches. Once browned, transfer to a dish lined with a paper towels to absorb any excess oil from the meatballs.
- To make the sauce/gravy, first make a roux by heating the butter in the same frying pan on medium heat until melted and slightly browned. Then, slowly whisk in the flour, stirring until smooth. Continue to stir for several minutes as this allows the flour mixture to cook, until the roux is the colour of coffee-with-cream.
- When the roux has cooked to a lovely shade of light brown, slowly add the stock to the roux, stirring as you add the stock. The stock will sputter at first and the roux may seize up, but keep adding the stock slowly and keep stirring. Eventually the sauce will loosen and become silky.
- Serve the meatballs on a bed of chunky mashed potatoes, topped with the gravy and an optional of lingonberry on the side. Enjoy with family and friends!
– Ally xx