Sunday, January 18, 2015

Swedish Meatballs

Ah, the joys of cooking. Labouring over the kitchen counter and sweating your glands out to prepare sumptuous meals for your love ones. Nothing beats preparing some home cook meals and seeing the happy faces stuffing their faces and giving you the thumbs up for the glorious spread you have prepared.

OK I let my imagination run a little, as you can clearly tell. I don't cook for large groups (doubt I can handle it), plus with only the both of us in the house, it makes trying out new recipes a lot more fun, as I have a willing guinea pig.

This is my take on IKEA's Swedish meatballs. The recipe makes a large batch of over 40 meatballs, so I split them into 3 batches (eat one batch, freeze the other 2 batches for next time). I got the recipe from here.

3 ounces fresh white bread, crusts removed and bread cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1/2 cup milk
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
1 medium onion, minced or grated, divided into two portions (you will cook half and the half remains raw)
1 pound 4 ounces ground beef chuck
12 ounces ground pork
4 teaspoons (18 grams) salt, plus more for seasoning (this is your own judgement, I had reduced the amount by half)
2 large eggs
1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper, plus more for seasoning
1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
Olive oil for light frying

Meatball sauce ingredients:
3 tablespoons flour
2 cups chicken stock or beef broth (I used half a beef cube stock)
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon apple cider vinegar

In a medium bowl, combine the milk and white bread and let it soak for about 10mins. Meanwhile, heat up a skillet or pan and melt 2 tbps of butter on it. Add half of the minced onion and cook until they are golden and tender. In a deep bowl, combine the beef, pork patty, cooked onions, raw onions, eggs, white pepper, and allspice and using your clean hands, mix everything up thoroughly (or you could use a mixer to help you mix).

Once you have the patty ready, line a piece of baking sheet or aluminum foil over a rack. Using your hands, take a tablespoon of meat mixture and roll them into a balls, about the size of golf balls. Prepare a small bowl of water, as you will need a bit of water to prevent the mixture from sticking to your hand.

Pre-heat the oven at 100°C. While the oven is pre-heating, pre-heat the oil in a deep skillet over medium heat, and lower the meatballs into the oil to fry, turning them to brown all over (about 2 minutes). Transfer the meatballs into the oven to keep warm (that's why you pre-heat the oven at 100°C).

In a saucepan, melt the remaining butter over medium-high heat until it's foamy. Whisk in the flour and cook, whisking until the raw flour smell is gone. Whisk in the beef broth and let it simmer until the sauce thickens. Add the soya sauce and apple cider vinegar, and season with salt and pepper. Now let me tell you that this sauce recipe is clear-ish, and not the brown sauce you find in IKEA. To add the brown colour to the sauce, you can add a dash of thick soy sauce or some Worchestershire sauce.

Serve the meatballs with some chopped parsley for garnishing, with the sauce in a separate bowl. You can add lingonberry on the side or any jam you like.

I've also discovered that the longer you cook the roux, the colour will change from pale yellow to the shade of coffee with cream.

White roux - cook and butter and flour for a few  minutes until the raw flour smell is gone
Blond roux - same cooking method as white roux, but cooked for a minute or two longer to get a darker colour
Brown roux - the darkest of roux, this is cooked for the longest amount of time until you achieve a coffee-with-milk shade. Best to cook this under low heat to prevent burning.