Sweden, By The Numbers

opening lineHere’s my opening line.

When I write a column, I have a topic.  Today’s topic is the Swedish meatballs at Ikea, and the copycat recipe I have.  Then the column begins to write itself in my head—which this one has, but in an uncharacteristically fragmented way.  The last thing that happens is that I come up with the opening line; often in the shower, or while walking the dog.

Today I both showered and walked the dog almost four miles and came up with bupkis.back pocketWhen this has happened in the past, and I’ve fretted about it to Petey, he’s suggested the opening line seen above.  I always laugh, thank him, and tell him I’ll keep it in my back pocket (Care & Feeding of Husbands-Chapter 1.).

And then come up with an actual opener that I use.

But not tonight; so Petey to the rescue.laplandI do though, have some crazy weather facts about the Lapland region of Sweden that I discovered while doing research for this piece.

Kiruna is in Lapland and the northernmost city in Sweden.  It lies ninety miles north of the Arctic Circle.  The warmest temp ever recorded was 88.9 (F) degrees, in July 1945.  The coldest was -45.9 (F) in January 1999.  The sun does not set for the fifty days between May 28th and July 16th and doesn’t rise from December 11th to January 1st (22 days).  Yikes.

Now, for the meatballs.meatballsFurniture Store Swedish Meatballs

1 cup homemade white bread crumbs

2 tablespoons butter

1/3 white onion, minced

2 cloves garlic, minced

¼ teaspoon ground allspice

kosher salt, or to tastesw chef¼ teaspoons freshly ground pepper

½ cup milk

1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

¾ pound ground veal or turkey

½ pound ground pork

1 large egg, plus 1 egg white, beaten

vegetable oil, for baking sheet

queen kristina

Queen Kristina of Sweden

2 tablespoon butter

2 tablespoon all-purpose flour

1 ½ cup beef stock

1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

¼ cup heavy cream

kosher salt to taste

freshly ground black pepper, to taste

For service:garnished meatballs2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped

Lingonberry or tart mixed-berry jam

To make meatballs: Put bread crumbs in a large bowl. Heat 2 tablespoons butter in a skillet over medium heat. Add onion, garlic, allspice, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper and cook, stirring, until soft, about 5 minutes. Add milk and 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce and bring to a simmer. Pour milk mixture over bread crumbs and stir to make a thick paste (called panade); let cool. Add ground veal or turkey, ground pork, egg and egg white to the bowl and mix until combined. Brush baking sheet with vegetable oil. Scoop meat with small portion scoop, then roll into 1-inch balls and arrange on prepared baking sheet. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

swedish royal family

Not Ikea models.  This is the Swedish royal family–honest.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Bake meatballs for about 20 minutes or until cooked through.

To make gravy: Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add flour and cook, whisking, until smooth. Whisk in beef broth, 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce and bring to simmer. Add heavy cream and meatballs. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until gravy thickens about 10 minutes. Season to taste with salt and black pepper. Transfer to serving dish and sprinkle with the parsley.  Serves six.meatballs w aspaServe with a simple starch like egg noodles or mashed potatoes and a dollop of jam.  You can also serve on toasted and buttered bread like a split baguette or Texas toast.

Because of the very rich nature of this dish, green vegetables as a side and post-prandial walk are highly recommended by me, your doctor, your arteries, and your Levi’s.swedish fansThanks for your time.

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