July 20, 2006

Swedish meatballs

A few weeks after my husband’s trip to Sweden, I finally opened the jar of lingonberry preserves he brought home for our Swedish meatballs dinner. I had to give him a little break from it since he must have consumed a few servings of it when he was back there and I bet he wouldn’t like it again so soon. But weeks have passed and I was eager to try it myself. Food 911 to the rescue again! I was watching the Food Network show one afternoon when chef Tyler featured a lady from Sweden who wished to cook authentic Swedish food. Everything they made looked so good and although there’s a recipe in the Swedish cookbook my husband got me, I just had to try Tyler’s version of Swedish meatballs this time. Fresh breadcrumbs were soaked in milk, drained and squeezed before adding to the ground beef and pork mixture seasoned with salt and pepper. This method produced a moist and light meatball mixture. Fresh herbs like dill and parsley were minced and added. The meatballs were formed into about 2” round balls and pan-fried or sauteed in a small amount of olive oil until cooked and browned on all sides. They were then set aside on a plate, while the sauce was made. A tablespoon of butter and two tablespoons of flour were added to the pan with the drippings and cooked for a few minutes, then chicken broth was slowly added into the flour mixture, along with some sour cream and whisked to make a slightly thickened sauce. With Tyler’s recipe, a small amount of lingonberry jam was stirred into the sauce, but this is an option.

Lingonberry jam on crispbread

Lingonberry jam may just be served on the side like a condiment. Then the browned meatballs were returned to the pan with the simmering sauce and the dish was heated through. Additional chopped herbs were sprinkled just before serving. Served with boiled new potatoes, crispbreads and lingonberry jam on the side for a very traditional combination. Gravlax or gravad lax and pickled herring appetizers would have completed the meal. This popular meatball dish, a local as well as an international favorite, is probably the most popular dish in Swedish cuisine. Hearty and full of flavor, the lingonberry jam provided a sweet touch to this classic Swedish meal.

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