A trip to Sweden

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After my big GNABRT in 2015, I pretty much used last year as a “year off”. For the better part of the year I did even more nothing than usual.

In retrospect, this probably contributed to the extra energy I had for designing my super spectacular Halloween displays last year.

Still, going into this year, I knew it was time to step up again and do something “big” for a change. Without any real travel plans, I decided on two courses of action. One, we’ll talk about in a later post.

The other is a self-designed project: make at least one new recipe every month.

There are a number of things I especially enjoy eating and frequently I am, if not disappointed, then not exalted when I order those dishes out. My feeling about eating out is, other than the fast food tier, you should be excited by the food you are served.

So, what to do for my first recipe?

I am a lover of meat. I am a lover of meatballs. I am a passionate lover of Swedish meatballs. (Yes, I know the literary trick would have been to put Sweden in the first sentence, but I’ve never been there)

For the last couple of decades, my only exposure to Swedish meatballs has been through the freezer case. Therefore, I decided to take on this challenge.

In one of those odd decisions that are uniquely me, I was driven to this choice because of my Christmas noodle kugel. Publix had a BOGO on Breakstone (the only brand I buy) sour cream, but I only needed one for my kugel. What to do with the other?

A search of the internet for Swedish meatball recipes found one that specifically used sour cream. Done and done.

I groaned as I read the recipe, as there were a number of spices I didn’t have as well as some ingredients that made me frown.

– White bread. I use rye for sandwiches and wheat for PBJ. I never have white bread in the house. Never. I had to buy an entire loaf just to use one silly piece. I suppose I could have cheated with bread crumbs, but it looked like the recipe (all the recipes, in fact) called specifically for it.

– Flour. Ugh. The bane of my cooking. It always seems to take forever to make gravy with flour. Non-lumpy gravy, that is. Still, I did have flour in the house (I may never use it up at this rate), so I resigned myself to the process (again, most recipes required this).

– Ground pork. Really? Can’t I just make ’em with my ground beef? Once again, “first time making them” came into play, so I picked up a package (surprisingly easy to find…I expect there must be many recipes using this meat).

– Despite having a spice rack full of spices I rarely, if ever, use (I have my favorites), I didn’t have ginger, nutmeg or the peculiarly labeled “allspice” (sounds like a Transformer).

Fine. Ready to work. Sauteed my bacon and onions. Mixed my meats, spices, egg yolks and beef broth-soaked white bread. Then came the rolling.

The recipe said it would make 60 meatballs (roughly 1 ½ tablespoons each). I thought I had actually a bit more meat than was required but I ended up with 58 meatballs. Impressive. I’ve never had a recipe come out that close in portions before.

Then the frying. Someday, someone will impart to me the way to prevent your oven top from being coated in sprayed fat and oil. Until then, everything from my counter to my shirt earned odoriferous splashes.

Finally, the sauce. At this point, I was concerned exactly how this was going to taste when I finished. I was familiar with the creamy sauce from all my previous Swedish meatball meals and this didn’t seem to add anything to create the color I would expect.

But, magically, once the sour cream was added, there it was. That tan-colored thick sauce. But would it taste anything like Swedish meatballs?

I’ve left them sitting in the sauce while I’ve been typing this blog, so let me go check right now. Hang tight…

…I give ’em a 7…maybe as far as 7.5.

They’re different from other versions I’ve eaten. Most of that, I think, is the meatballs, which are loaded with bacon, onions and spices. But the sauce is different, too. I think the sour cream might give it just a little tang on the back side.

Originally, I was going to make these over noodles, since that’s how I’ve always eaten them. But none of the recipes mentioned noodles and my Dad looked at me oddly when I mentioned it, so I dropped the idea (honestly, I was always more interested in the meatballs than the noodles, anyway).

My Dad asked me to “save six for us” (him and my Stepmom), so it will be interesting to learn his opinion.

The process of making them was time-consuming. Just rolling all those meatballs alone takes a while and then I needed three pan-loads to cook them all, so, while I love the little goobers, I might not be so invested to spend all that time again as opposed to dumping a frozen box in the cart on my next grocery trip.

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