Sunday, January 10, 2010

Viking Vittles; Svenska Köttbullar - Swedish Meatballs

Unlike French Fries, Danish Pastry and Vienna Sausage; Swedish meatballs (Svenska Köttbullar) are the national dish of Sweden. They are usually a made of veal or a combination of ground beef and ground pork which is then mixed with finely minced onion and seasoned with Nutmeg, All Spice, and White Pepper with milk soaked bread as filler all bound together with an egg or two.

What really makes 'Swedish Meatballs' is the size (only about 1 inch) and the texture of the meat due to the milk soaked bread and the method of processing the meat until smooth. I am, at times, very influenced by my Danish heritage and tend to utilize Mace in place of Nutmeg as well as adding Cardamom to just about everything. But today is not that day. In order to present a more "true to the origin" recipe, I am leaving those out this time.

However the Crème Fraîche and the shallots are staying in, normally heavy cream is added at the end of the pan sauce construction stage, but I like the slight tang provided by the Crème Fraîche, and the shallot seems to deliver more flavor than a yellow onion.

Swedish Meatballs

1 cup Buttermilk White Bread (Crust removed)
3 oz Whole Milk
4 TB clarified butter or ghee, divided (I prefer Beurre Noisette - Browned Butter)
3/4 cup finely minced shallot
2 cloves of garlic slightly broken
1 1/2 tsp kosher salt plus a pinch or two for shallot
2 lbs ground Veal –or- 1 lb ground Pork mixed with 1 lb ground Beef (preferably not less than 10% fat)
1 large Egg
1 large Egg Yolk
3/4 tsp White Pepper
1/2 tsp Nutmeg, ground - or Mace
1/4 tsp All Spice, ground - or Cardamom
1/3 cup AP flour
3 cups Beef Stock
4 oz Crème Fraîche or Heavy Cream
16 oz Egg Noodles of your choice

Place the torn bread in a bowl with the Milk and let it soak.

In a sauté pan over medium heat, place 2 T of the browned butter and when hot, add the shallot and Garlic along with a pinch or two of salt.

Sweat the Shallots until they become soft and translucent… Do not Sauté them (No sizzling).
Remove from the heat and extract the garlic.

In your stand mixer’s bowl, combine the Milk/Bread mixture, Ground Veal, Egg Yolk, Egg, 1 1/2 tsp Kosher Salt, White Pepper, Nutmeg, All Spice, and Shallot.

Put the spurs to it and beat on medium speed for 3 to 5 minutes. (You want a completely homogeneous mixture.)

Lay a double layer of Plastic wrap over your kitchen scale and scoop meatballs into 1-ounce portions, then move to a sheet pan.

Chill the sheet pans for about 30 minutes.

Rub your hands with olive oil, or use latex gloves, shape the meatballs into… Well, balls... of about 1 inch in diameter.

Heat the remaining 2 TB of butter in the sauté pan over medium-low heat, or use and electric skillet set to 350 degrees F.

Sauté the meatballs golden brown all over, about 8 to 12 minutes.

Move the meatballs to a baking dish and place in the warmed oven; you may have to work in batches.

When all of the meatballs have been cooked, decrease the heat to 250F and add the flour to the pan or skillet whisking until sufficiently 'Cooked', about 2 to 3 minutes.

Gradually add the Beef stock while whisking constantly; then continue whisking until the sauce begins to thicken.

Add the Crème Fraîche and continue cooking until the sauce thickens a little more.

Retrieve the meatballs from the oven, smother them with the sauce simmer for 5 minutes.

Then serve in a chafing dish with toothpicks as an appetizer, or my favorite way, which is over fresh egg noodles as a main course.



Katy ~ said...

A keeper recipe! So hard to find a good Swedish meatball recipe and here it is. I've been looking for quite a while for this. Excellent!!

Michele said...

I've never tried them with creme fraiche but I bet it makes them a little more luxurious!

Bob said...

Holy crap. Awesome. I'll have to surprise my girlfriend with these someday this winter, she loves Swedish meatballs.

Patti T. said...

I agree, it is really hard to find a good recipe for Swedish Meatballs, yours sound just like the ones I remember eating when I was a youngster. I love them on noodles also, especially home made ones.

Danielle said...

I love swedish meatballs!! These look so good!! so how come when I make meatballs in a skillet like that, I end up with 3 dimensional triangles?

Mike Benayoun said...

Thanks for the recipe. Those are definitely better than the IKEA version... unless you prefer horse meat ;-) Prepared kottbullar yesterday and served them with lingonberry jam, pressgurka (pressed cucumbers) and potatismos (mashed potatoes). They were absolutely DELICIOUS! I am ready to go back to Stockholm and celebrate Midsommar next week ;-)