Sunday, February 28, 2010

Swedish Meatballs

Ever since my first visit to IKEA, I have been in love with the Swedish Meatballs they offer in their restaurant. They also sell them frozen in their little Swedish Market along with a packet of dry gravy mix. We had bought those a few times and while they were not bad at all, they just weren't great either especially since the dry gravy mix has a ton of additives, including the dreaded MSG.
I knew I could find a version much more to our liking along with being able to use all natural ingredients. I spent time searching all over the internet and through recipe books and magazines but nothing really struck me as mouthwatering, until I came across Tyler Florences Lena's Swedish Meatballs with Lingonberry Sauce which looked incredibly promising.

The recipe is pretty straightforward. You make your meatballs and while they are cooking in the oven you make the sauce. After the meatballs are cooked through, you add them back into the sauce and have them "hang out" for a while to mingle the flavors.

I followed the recipe almost exactly with a few minor substitutions and additions. First off I did not use 3 lbs of meat. We are a family of five and 2 lbs is more then enough with plenty of leftovers for us.
So I went ahead and used 1 lb lean ground beef (93 %, which also cuts some of the fat), 1/2 lb ground pork and 1/2 lb ground veal but I suppose you could use any combination of these meats.
I cut the heavy cream in the meatball "dough" to 1/3 cup but used all the other ingredients as written.
For the sauce, I didn't have chicken stock left in my freezer so I just went with canned chicken broth (I prefer Swanson chicken broth which has won several taste tests).
I also added another 1/2 tsp. of ground allspice to my gravy along with 1/4 tsp. freshly ground nutmeg.
It turned out amazing. Never will I buy another frozen meatball or dry gravy mix again.

Here are a few tips:
Tyler adds black current jam to the sauce, and I did as well, it makes the dish. You can find it at most supermarkets. I went with a brand called Hero: Black Currant Fruit Spread which my regular neighborhood  Fry's Supermarket carried.
The heavy cream adds a velvety feel to the sauce but if you are trying to save a few calories I'm pretty sure you can use Half and Half and still get great results.
I served this over egg noodles but it also tastes great over mashed potatoes.
Don't skip the Lingonberries  for serving. They are really what finishes this dish and there are no substitutions. You can find Lingonberries at select grocery stores, the internet or just go to your local IKEA, they carry it in their little Swedish Market.


1 comment:

  1. Holy Yum! I've never had the meatballs at Ikea (I always assumed they wouldn't be good!) but yours look delicious. I think I'll have to pick up some lingonberries from Ikea just so I can make this!


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