A Birthday Dinner: Swedish Meatballs
My husband has had a long-standing tradition with his boys (who are now men) since childhood, that he make Swedish meatballs for their birthday dinner. He tried to relay this tradition onto his step-sons but it never quite stuck. They were more a Chinese Chicken Hotpot kind of kids!
We recently had my step-son home for his 36th birthday (yes, it’s been a very long tradition), so I went to work on healthifying this Nordic dish. Actually Swedish meatballs – or Svenska Kottbullar – have a pretty diverse definition according to the internet. There are a varying degree of recipes with heated debate about the most authentic. Most people seem to think that any seem to think that allspice and/or nutmeg is mandatory, and that they be served with a cream sauce. None, however, were garnished with poppy seeds as my dear husband has done throughout his SMM (Swedish meatball making) career!
They are renowned as Ikea’s most popular dish, in fact if you say Swedish meatball to someone, they are likely to reply “Ikea?” Hand in hand with lingonberry jam, I have never tried them at Ikea but can only imagine that it is the cream sauce that sells them as I am told they have plenty of filler (bread crumbs) in them to make them soft and tender. Can someone enlighten me?
So with many possibilities, and trying to stick with the essence of my husbands original version, I have come up with a recipe that is as Paleo as I can get it. And while it wasn’t as good as his Dads, it still got the OK from the birthday boy…. but a request for Chinese chicken hotpot was forthcoming for next time!!
1 small onion
1 small clove garlic
250g fatty pork mince
250g beef mince
100g cold cooked potato (or yam) mashed
3 button mushrooms
1 tab tapioca flour
1 teas nutmeg
½ teas allspice
½ teas salt
pepper to taste
a few sprigs of parsley
60g butter or tallow for sautéing
150g good strong stock (chicken or beef)
300g pure cream
1 teas cornflour to thicken (optional)
Mince the garlic & onion in the TM on SP 8 for 5 seconds. Add the minces, potato, egg, mushrooms, tapioca & spices, salt & parsley and mix on REVERSE SP 3 until well combined and a smooth paste. Season with pepper. Form into tablespoon size balls and refrigerate for at least an hour to firm up.
Melt the butter until bubbling and sauté the meatballs on all sides until lightly brown and set aside while you make the sauce. In the same pan, boil the pan juices with the stock for about 10 minutes until slightly reduced, then add the cream. Reduce until desired consistency – adding the cornflour to thicken if you like it thicker. Serve over egg noodles or zucchini pasta and garnish with poppy seeds.
Do you make Swedish meatballs? I would love to hear about your version!