Writing takes you to some interesting places. I’m on Chapter 15 of A Pixie’s Promise, and I find myself writing essentially a Viking feast. So much fun! I’ve been consulting the Icelandic Sagas and The Long Ships by Frans G. Bengtsson for inspiration and accuracy. And, of course, I’ve been diving into my Scandinavian cookbooks for a deeper understanding of the cuisine.
One of the staples of a good Swedish smorgasbord is meatballs, and Swedish meatballs are quite different than Italian meatballs. They’re smaller and they often use milk or cream as binding ingredients for a richer flavor and moist texture that can stand up to long periods of baking. Here’s a recipe I’ve put together by combining aspects of two recipes in The Complete Scandinavian Cookbook by Alice B. Johnson.
1 lb. ground beef
1 lb. ground pork
2 eggs (You may substitute 1/2 cup mashed potatoes for one egg)
2/3 cup bread crumbs
1 cup light cream
2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp ground pepper (alternatively, use white pepper)
1 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 tsp allspice
butter or a neutral oil for cooking
Combine all ingredients except the butter/oil in a bowl and mix thoroughly. Roll in to small balls, about 1 inch in diameter. Brown in hot butter/oil on medium heat in a skillet. Alternatively, skip the butter oil, place on a baking sheet, and bake at 350 degF for 15 minutes or until cooked through. Serves 6.
Serving suggestions: If you used a skillet, remove the meatballs and make a gravy by adding 1/2 cup flour to the skillet, stirring to soak up all the fat and to keep from scorching. Add just enough water to make a thin gravy. Place the meatballs in a casserole, pour the gravy over them, cover with a lid or aluminum foil, and cook at 375 degF for about an hour, which will thicken the gravy nicely. Alternatively, instead of using gravy, cover with light cream and bake until cooked through and cream is reduced to a thicker sauce.
If, like me, you prefer not to have gravy, you can also use the traditional Swedish condiment for meatballs: lingonberry jam, available in most major supermarkets. Currant jam is a good substitute. Serve with rice or boiled potatoes.
One of these days, I should try the gravy method in an Instant Pot. I bet it would only take 10 minutes or so to achieve the same result.