I have a secret obsession with genealogy, I think it’s because of my grandparent’s stories of their childhood were so different and sad. One of my grandmothers was adopted, and the other was in an arranged marriage and had to move thousands of miles away from her family when she was very young, so either they didn’t or couldn’t tell me stories of their families. I’ve asked every family member that is still around for anything thing they might know. I asked for stories and boy did I get some stories! But that only got me so far. I signed up for ancestry and started a tree with all the info I had been gathering. Then I went on, and on, and on. I was able to trace a branch of my tree back to 417 AD. Which is crazy! The only reason I was able to trace my line back that far was because of my 21st great grandparents (early 1300s), also known as the first of a long long line of Swedish royalty. That’s right, this unrefined banana is descendant of Swedish royalty! And yet I still don’t get any discounts at Ikea, which is all I really want.
Learning these facts about myself sparked a need to know more about the food that comes out of my new found motherland. My husband bought me a big ass Nordic cookbook and I read it like a novel. Although, I don’t think I’ll be cooking anything out of the marine mammal chapter, yikes! I figured the easiest place to start is clearly with my #1 reason to go to Ikea, Swedish Meatballs! Now I know there are debates out there whether Swedish meatballs are actually Turkish. Even Sweden is claiming that King Charles XII (who took the throne in 1697 or almost 400 years after my family lost the throne) brought the recipe for meatballs back with him after spending years in a country that was under Turkish rule. Regardless of where these meatballs originated, when there’s a plate of mashed potatoes topped with meatballs that are smothered in a creamy brown gravy and served with a side of perfectly sweet and tangy lingonberry jam, you won’t care where they came from just where they’re going, in your mouth!
Yield: 35 2oz meatballs
1lb ground Beef
1lb ground Pork
1/2 a medium Onion, grated
3 Garlic cloves, grated
1 cup day old Bread, pulsed in a food processor to make bread crumbs
1 whole Egg and 1 Egg Yolk
1 cup Heavy Cream
1 teaspoon All Spice
1 teaspoon granulated Garlic
1 teaspoon granulated Onion
1/4 teaspoon Nutmeg
Salt and Pepper to taste
Step One: Soak bread crumbs in the cream in a medium bowl until the bread has fully absorbed the cream (it will still be wet).
Step Two: Add the grated onion, garlic, all eggs, and seasoning (minus the salt and pepper) and mix it all together.
Step Three: In a big bowl add pork and beef mix until just combined then add the bread mixture mix again until just combined. Don’t over mix or it will make tough meatballs. Season with salt and pepper, cook off a small taste to see if you need to add more seasoning adjust as needed. Let mixture rest in the fridge for at least an hour, if not over night.
Step Four: Roll into balls I use a 2oz scoop to form them. Place on a lined baking sheet, bake at 375° for 15 minutes. You want them to be brown but only about 1/2 way cooked. They will finish cooking in the sauce.
Yield: about 4 cups
4 tablespoons Butter
1/2 cup Flour
2 1/3 cup Beef Stock
2/3 cup Heavy Cream
Salt and Pepper to taste
Couple grates or small pinch of Nutmeg
To Start: In a heavy bottom large pan or cast iron pan (making sure the pan is large enough to hold all the liquid and the meatballs). In a medium pot heat the stock to a simmer.
Step One: Add butter to the pan and heat on medium heat until the melted and stopped foaming. Add flour using a whisk (that is safe to use in your pan), whisk flour consistently to prevent lumps. Cook the roux until the flour is cooked enough to not a raw flour taste but not long enough to color.
Step Two: Slowly add the simmering stock to the roux, whisking consistently to avoid lumps. Once the stock is incorporated continue to cook on medium heat for 5 minutes, then add cream and season to taste once happy with the seasoning level add the meatballs. Cook covered for 5-10 minutes until meatballs are cooked through.
Sour Cream and Dill Mashed Potatoes
Yield: about 4 servings
2 lbs Yukon Gold Potatoes, or a non waxy starchy potato
1 stick Butter
1/2-1 cup Milk
1/2 cup Sour Cream
2 teaspoons granulated Garlic
1 teaspoon granulated Onion
1 tablespoon fresh Dill, plus some for garnish
To Start: Peel potatoes and cook in boiling salted water until fork tender. In small sauce pot add butter, milk, onion and garlic and bring to a light simmer.
Step One: For smooth potatoes run boiled potatoes through a ricer, right back into the same pot you boiled them in. Mashing with a traditional potato masher will be just fine but wont be as creamy, whatever way you are mashing make sure that you don’t over stir or you will have wall paper paste and not mashed potatoes.
Step Two: Carefully fold in the butter and milk mixture, and sour cream until just mixed, again not over stirring. Season with salt and pepper adjust seasoning as needed then add the fresh dill, setting a side some for garnishing.
To finish: Serve family style just make sure there is ampule enough of lingonberry jam and if your feeling it also have a side of cornichons. We Nords love our pickles!