Swedish Meatballs

Swedish Meatballs

I've been watching movies more often lately, mostly thanks to my awesome little Roku device, which makes streaming movies from Amazon Prime and Netflix super convenient.  I'm finally getting to see movies that have been on my watchlist for ages.  Like The Hunger Games (LOVED it).  And The Girl with A Dragon Tattoo.  I tried to watch the original version in Swedish, with English subtitles, but my attention span is shockingly short, and I couldn't focus through the first 15 minutes, and realized that it was hopeless.  The English dubbed version isn't bad, it's not as distracting as it could be. So I liked the first movie, and ended up watching the other two in the trilogy over the course of that same weekend.  Now I'm reading the books, having already finished reading The Hunger Games trilogy. I love reading the books after watching the movies, because with no expectations about the movie, I can just enjoy it for the entertainment value; then after, when I read the book, I feel like I get a much more in depth understanding of all the characters and the story, and have faces and visuals to go with the reading. Anyhow, there are several mentions of Ikea and their products in the movie, which sort of made me laugh... it seems stereotypical, but I guess it makes sense given that's where the company is from, after all.  I wasn't sure if it was just product placement (like the iBooks that all the characters use) or if that's just where people go for their furniture over there.  In any case, it made me want to shop at Ikea, even though I don't need anything from there. And it made me crave Swedish meatballs, even though I don't think I've ever eaten them at an Ikea. ;)

Swedish meatballs are basically regular Italian meatballs, except the onions are sauteed prior to adding them to the mixture, and the spices are different. Instead of basil and oregano, they have allspice and nutmeg. Which gives them a unique flavor, quite different from Italian meatballs. And of course, instead of being served covered with tomato sauce, they are covered with a beef and cream gravy.  They are traditionally served with either potatoes or pasta,  and lingonberry jam.  I made mashed potatoes to go with mine, and didn't add the jam. Mostly since I don't have lingonberry jam on hand. ;)  

These are surprisingly easy to make, and super fast. Perfect for a weeknight dinner!

Swedish Meatballs and Gravy

1 cup panko
1/4 cup cream
3 tablespoons butter 
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
1 teaspoon kosher salt
3/4 pound ground beef
3/4 pound ground pork
2 large egg
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
3 cups beef broth
1/4 cup heavy cream
Put the panko in a large mixing bowl, and add the cream. Stire and set aside to soak. 
In a 12-saute pan over medium heat, melt 1 tablespoon of the butter. Add the onion and a pinch of salt and sweat until the onions are soft. Remove from the heat and set aside.
In the mixing bowl with the panko and cream, add the ground beef, pork, eggs, 1 teaspoon of kosher salt, black pepper, allspice, nutmeg, and onions. Mix until well combined.
Shape the mixture into small balls, about 1" in diameter. Set on a lightly oiled baking sheet, and bake in the oven for about 15 minutes, turning once, until browned and cooked through.   
Heat the remaining butter in the saute pan over medium-low heat, and add the flour. Whisk until no lumps remain, and cook 1 to 2 minutes. Gradually add the beef stock and whisk until sauce begins to thicken. Add the cream and continue to cook until the gravy reaches the desired consistency. 
To serve, plate the meatballs, and cover with gravy. 




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