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Friday, April 29, 2011

SWEDISH MEATBALLS WITH NOODLES

Swedish Meatballs over noodles...in my Ikea bowl!
I mentioned a while back that the teen had selected a few items from his Emeril Lagasse Cookbook that he wanted to try.  He's so tired from TAKS testing all day that he's not up to joining me in the kitchen but he does want to have the Swedish Meatballs for dinner.  I love Swedish Meatballs...but admit to being worried that they have some spices he might not enjoy.  They are very minuscule so I hope he doesn't give it the thumbs down when he digs in.  Meatballs are not that big of a deal to make - I don't know why we don't make them more frequently!  When I make spaghetti - I generally just make a meat sauce - no meatballs.  I guess it's the ease of dumping the meat in the pan instead of hand-rolling.

I'm getting the prep work done while the teen is taking a "rest".  He said his hand was cramping and he tested ALL DAY (said in a whiny voice).  I suggested a snack and to go get out of the school clothes and put his feet up.  The only good thing about this week is no homework.  He can rest his brain tonight.  Today was math...Thursday science...Friday is social studies.  They did Language Arts last month.  These are the mandatory graduation tests..."exit exams", or as they would say in Harry Potter world, "7th Year NEWT exams"!

You'll be likely reading this on Friday and the ordeal will be almost over.

So, here goes the recipe:

SWEDISH MEATBALLS
Adapted from Emeril Lagasse's There's a Chef in My World

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups finely chopped red onion
4 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter (I ended up using an extra tablespoon of butter when frying the meatballs...maybe it's the Southern girl in me that needed more "buttah")
3/4 pound ground chuck
3/4 pound ground pork
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon plus 1 pinch freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg - (OOPs I used 1/4 teaspoon)
1 cup plain dried bread crumbs (I processed some whole wheat bread instead - 2 slices)
1/2 cup whole milk (I just had 2% milk so I used 1/4 cup half and half and 1/4 cup 2% milk)
1 cup heavy cream
1 large egg, lightly beaten
4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
28 ounces reduced-sodium beef broth
1/4 cup red currant jelly (I substituted red plum jam as I had no currant jelly)

I will say right here - this recipe is soooo much easier if you have mis en place. 
Being able to just dump in pre-measured ingredients made life so much easier
since this was the first time I'd made this!

METHOD:

1.  In a medium skillet over medium high heat, saute 1 cup of the onion in 1 1/2 tablespoons of the butter until soft and light golden brown, 4 to 6 minutes.

The cup of red onion being sauted...do it before you do anything else
so it can cool down before adding to meat mixture
Set aside to cool, then add the onion to a medium mixing bowl along with the ground chuck, ground pork, 1 1/2 teaspoons of the salt, 1/2 teaspoon of the pepper, the allspice, and the nutmeg.

All the ingredients...get ready to "squish"

2.  In a small mixing bowl, combine the bread crumbs with the milk and 1/4 cup of the cream and allow to sit until the bread crumbs are soft, about 5 minutes.  Add the bread-crumb mixture and the beaten egg to the meat mixture and, using clean hands, mix well to thoroughly combine.  This is a very wet mixture!

Quite a wet mixture - wet your palms for easy rolling

3.  Using a tablespoon measure (I used a medium cookie dough scoop), scoop the meat mixture into meatball portions.  (I placed them all on a tray).Using lightly damp clean hands, roll the meatballs until they are smooth and round.  Transfer to a large plate or baking dish while you form the remaining meatballs. (I needed to regularly re-dampen my palms to get a smooth - not sticky - meatball.  Maybe have a small bowl of water at the ready)

I got 34 meatballs from this mixture
4.  In a medium skillet, heat 1/2 tablespoon of the remaining butter until foamy (over medium heat - don't want to burn the butter - and by the way - I added an extra 1/2 tablespoon here and after the 2nd addition of meatballs - totalling 1 tablespoon more than called for in the recipe).  Add one-third of the meatballs and cook, turning frequently, until the meatballs are browned on all sides, 6 to 8 minutes total.  (Remember you are cooking them through - they will cook in the sauce for an hour - just get them firmed up and browned on all sides) 

Handle gently - these are a bit delicate - control the temperature
and pay attention to the time...it's about perfect!
Using tongs or a slotted spoon, transfer the cooked meatballs to a Dutch oven or large heavy saucepan and repeat with the remaining meatballs, adding another 1/2 tablespoon of butter to the skillet before each batch.

(OK - this is where I used a different method - I just put the browned meatballs on a baking sheet and made the sauce in the pan I fried the meatballs in and then added the meatballs to the pan with the sauce...I didn't see needing to dirty another pan - I figure people writing these recipes aren't thinking about washin' dishes!  Also, it's a cookbook for children and I'm sure the intent is not to re-handle the meatballs more than necessary as a kid might crumble them in transfer.)

The lightly browned meatballs resting before being added to the sauce

5.  Add the remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons of butter and the remaining 1/2 cup onion to the skillet and cook until the onion is soft, about 4 minutes. 

Using the same pan gets you all those lovely drippings and the pan fond.
A little more butter and start with the onions!
Add the flour and cook, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes. (You are making a roux here - keep that flour moving!) 

Add the flour and stir constantly...makes a great roux
Whisk in the beef broth little by little and cook until the sauce is smooth and thick, about 4 minutes (you must bring the sauce to a boil or it won't thicken - it took me 8 minutes to get to a moderate thickness...I knew it would have a long cooking time so didn't want to over thicken up front).  Transfer the sauce to the Dutch oven or large saucepan and add the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, a pinch of black pepper, the remaining heavy cream, and the jelly.  Be careful when stirring not to break up the meatballs. (This is where I added the meatballs - after everything was stirred together - don't forget to pour in any juices from the meatballs if you do it this way!)

The sauce is ready to thicken...bring to a boil or it won't thicken!
6.  Bring the contents of the Dutch oven or large saucepan to a boil over medium high heat, then reduce the heat so that the sauce simmers.  Cook uncovered (stirring every so often) for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until the meatballs are very tender and the sauce is thick and flavorful.

About halfway through the simmer!  Sauce is thickening and
you can see the meatballs...it's almost there!

I served over Amish Egg Noodles.  I have also eaten them over rice and over linguine.  I like 'em all those ways!

This was really good.  It was enough that we have an entire 2nd meal ready to go in the FoodSaver sealed bag!  The best part was the teen saying "wow, Mom, that's GOOD!" when I served him this bowl.  That makes ME do the happy dance :-)

The teen's bowl - and he was a happy camper!

Bon Appetit, Y'all!!!

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3 comments:

  1. Looks and sounds delicious!! Hope your son enjoyed!

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  2. oh these look great! thanks for linking them up!!

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  3. Oh yum! Here in Sweden we eat Swedish meatballs with mashed potatoes and lingon berry jam. The sweet and savory is just delicious! I am excited to try this version of the meatballs! Thanks!

    ReplyDelete

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