There's been somewhat of a lacking in the “traditional Swedish” section lately, so we figured it's time to make up for that by presenting the most Swedish thing in the world (as far as food stuff goes anyway, there's always the “Dala-horse”, moose-warning traffic signs and the ever present IKEA department stores): meatballs! So, here's our recipe for Swedish meatballs with traditional condiments. No matter what your local IKEA restaurant tries to sell you, meatballs are eaten with lingonberries (usually in jam form), potatoes (mashed, boiled or whatever) and “brown sauce”.
Today we're making lingonberry jam, mashed potatoes, meatballs and rosemary/juniper infused brown sauce. And yes, the last thingy is experimental, we planned to make green pepper brown sauce, but were out of green pepper.
For the mashed potatoes, all you have to do is boil the potatoes, mash them up and add some dairy product (we used plain milk) and butter. Work it smooth, and season with (a lot of) salt, white pepper and a pinch of nutmeg.
For the lingonberries we used frozen ones which we brought to a boil with a splash of water and some sugar (use whatever amount you like, but beware of the extremely tart flavor of the berries). Let it reduce somewhat and you're done. This can be done well in advance, since it's supposed to be cold anyway.
For the tricky part, the meatballs and sauce, you need:
500 g Ground meat (we used a 20/80 mix of pork and beef)
Whatever spices you fancy (we used Paprika powder and Cumin)
Butter to fry in
Rosemary and juniper infused Brown sauce
~2 dl Milk
some Rosemary twigs
3 Dried juniper berries
1 Black Pepper Corn
1 tbsp Flour
1 dl Milk
dash Soy Sauce
dash Worcestershire Sauce
Finley chop the onion and combine all the meatball ingredients in a bowl. Put it in the fridge, it's easier to handle when cold.
Bring the 2 dl of milk to a simmer with the rosemary twigs, juniper berries and black pepper corn. Let it simmer for a few minutes and then let it cool slowly.
Heat a frying pan with butter (on our stove we use heat 5 out of 6). Bring out your bowl of meat from the fridge and start rolling small balls of meat and drop them into the pan. If you don't feel fast enough, roll them all before putting any of them in the pan. Fry until they're cooked through and remove them from the pan while making the sauce.
Mix the 1 dl Milk and the flour. Pour it over the fat left in the pan. The brownness of the brown sauce depends on how long you fry it before adding the infused milk, but we usually don't let it fry too long (never really figured out how to get the coloring this way), but instead add a dash of soy sauce to brown things up. Let it emulsify to a thick sauce. Add any other spices you fancy (we used Worcestershire sauce, but you can use anything really).
Traditional Swedish meatballs
Now the sauce wasn't that big of a hit, it tasted good, but maybe not all that extra good compared to the work of infusing and everything. We basically just had a few twigs of rosemary left over and decided to roll with it. All of this is really on a hunch kind of cooking, but then again, the particulars aren't all that important in traditional cooking anyway. :-)