Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Svenska Köttbullar with Butter Chive Mashed Potatoes

     Swedish Meatballs!
     Swedish Meatballs is an old familiar recipe that occasionally rises in popularity.  Swedish Meatballs can be served as an appetizer or as hors d'oeuvres on a tray with frill picks.  Swedish Meatballs served over egg noodles is hearty meal when the weather is cold.  In Scandinavian countries, Swedish Meatballs are traditionally served with mashed potatoes and pickles.
     Low quality restaurant buffets rely on pre-made frozen food products in order to maintain quality.  These places tend to use cheap frozen meatballs.  Swedish Meatballs that are made with a frozen meatball product are really not worth writing home about.    
     Hand crafted Swedish Meatballs that are made from scratch are the best!  Good Swedish Meatballs that are made from scratch are a traditional Smorgasbord item and they are offered at higher quality restaurant buffets.  In fact, the last time that I made Swedish Meatballs professionally was on buffet night at an exclusive yacht club.  This shows what kind of clientele still likes this classic Swedish specialty.

     In many Scandinavian countries, hunting is still the best way to put meat on the table.  Minced venison can be used to make Swedish Meatballs and it is possible that deer meat was used to make the original recipe.  In modern times, lean ground beef is the top choice of meat.
     Swedish Meatballs can be defined as being meatballs that are braised in a cream sauce.  Usually the cream sauce is made with crème fraîche or sour cream.  The pan drippings from cooking the meatballs flavors the sauce and beef broth can be added to enrich the flavor.

     Sliced pickles and lingonberry preserves or other berry fruit jams are commonly served with Swedish Meatballs & Mashed Potatoes during the winter months.  There is quite a difference  between Swedish summer food and Swedish winter cuisine.  During the summer, nearly every meal is eaten outdoors in Sweden and emphasis is placed upon garden fresh ingredients.  Swedish cooks also like to use plenty of fresh herbs during summer months.  Fresh herbs can be added to the Swedish Meatball recipe to increase the appeal when the weather is warm.
     Butter Chive Mashed Potatoes:
     This recipe yields 2 portions.
     Step 1:  Place 12 ounces of red bliss potatoes in a sauce pot.  (Leave the skins on the potatoes.)
     Cover the potatoes with water.
     Boil the potatoes over medium high heat till they are fully cooked and tender.
     Step 2:  Drain the water off of the potatoes.
     Return the potatoes to the sauce pot.
     Place the sauce pot over very low heat.
     Step 3:  Add 2 ounces of chilled unsalted butter pats.
     Add sea salt and black pepper to taste.
     Add 1 tablespoon of thin sliced chives.
     Mash the potato mixture till it is fairly smooth with a few coarse bits of potato intact.
     Step 4:  Keep the butter chive mashed potatoes warm on a stove top or in a 135ºF bain marie.
     Svenska Köttbullar (Swedish Meatballs):
     This recipe yields 1 portion.
     Step 1:  Place 6 ounces of lean ground beef in a mixing bowl.
     Add 2 tablespoons of minced white onion.
     Add 1/2 teaspoon of Dijon Mustard.
     Add 2 tablespoons of plain fine French breadcrumbs.
     Add 2 pinches of sea salt and black pepper.
     Add 1 pinch of nutmeg.
     Thoroughly mix the ingredients together.
     Step 2:  Divide the meat mixture into walnut size portions.
     Roll the meat portions into smooth round meatball shapes.
     Step 3:  Heat a sauté pan over medium/medium low heat.
     Add 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil.
     Place the meatballs in the pan.
     Shake the pan occasionally, so the meatballs cook evenly.
     Sauté the till the meatballs are lightly browned all over.
     Step 4:  Remove the meatballs from the pan and set them aside.
     Drain the excess grease out of the pan, but leave about 1 tablespoon in the pan.
     Step 5:  Return the pan to medium/medium low heat.
     Add just enough flour while constantly stirring to make a small amount of roux.  (About 2 teaspoons.)
     Stir till the roux is a blonde color.
     Step 6:  Add 1 1/4 cups of beef stock.
     Occasionally stir with a whisk as the sauce comes to a gentle boil and thickens.  Try to scrape the brown bits that are stuck to the pan.
     Step 7:  Reduce the temperature to medium low heat.
     Add 1 pinch of sea salt and black pepper.
     Simmer and reduce till the sauce a very thin consistency that can barely glaze a spoon.
     Step 8:  Reduce the temperature to very low heat.
     Add 1/4 cup of sour cream while stirring with a whisk.  Whisk till the sauce is blended.
     Step 9:  Return the meatballs to the sauce.
     Gently simmer and reduce till the sauce is medium thin consistency that easily clings to the meatballs.
     Svenska Köttbullar with Butter Chive Mashed Potatoes:
     Place a mound of the butter chive mashed potatoes on a plate.
     Sprinkle a few pinches of finely chopped Italian Parsley over the potatoes.
     Place the Swedish Meatballs on the plate.
     Spoon a generous amount of the sauce over the meatballs.
     Garnish the plate with an Italian Parsley sprig and sliced pickles.
     Serve with a ramekin of lingonberry preserves or your favorite berry preserves on the side.
     Swedish Meatballs taste so good, that it is easy to crave more!

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