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Swedish Meatballs

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Recipe adapted from Alton Brown's Swedish Meatballs.  [Recipe makes roughly (24) 1-5/8-ounce meatballs].

Whether served as an appetizer or as a main course (alongside some egg noodles or mashed potatoes), Swedish meatballs are one of those comforting dishes that pleases the pickiest eaters.  Unlike your standard Italian meatball, Swedish meatballs are typically smaller in size and are unique both in their texture and taste.  The fresh breadcrumbs soaked in milk gives a nice tenderness to the meatballs, while spices (mainly nutmeg) give the dish a warm, nutty, and lemony taste.

Although the original recipe is fine to use, I altered the proportions so that more common amounts are included (since ground meat is typically sold in one-pound increments [and you won't have 1/4-pound of beef and pork left over as you would with the original recipe] and broth is typically sold in two-cup increments [and you won't have a cup leftover as you would with the original recipe]).  Of course measurements aren't proportioned exactly, but they come pretty darn close.

INGREDIENTS:

3 slices fresh white bread
1/3 cup milk
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 white onion, coarsely chopped
3 garlic cloves 

1 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
1 pound ground chuck
1 pound ground pork
3 large egg yolks
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg

4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
4 cups low-sodium beef broth
1/3 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup sour cream
Kosher salt and pepper, to taste

DIRECTIONS:

Using a food processor, pulse bread into fine crumbs.  Transfer bread to a small bowl, add milk, and reserve.  Add the onion and garlic to the food processor and pulse until a fine dice is achieved.  In a large sauté pan over medium heat, melt 1 tablespoon of butter.  Add the onion and garlic and season with kosher salt.  Sauté for 5 minutes to remove the raw onion taste, and remove from the heat; reserve.

Preheat the oven to 350° F.

In a stand mixer bowl, combine the bread and milk mixture, ground chuck and ground pork, egg yolks, Kosher salt, black pepper, allspice, nutmeg, and onion and garlic mixture.  Mix on low speed just until everything is combined.  Line a rimmed half sheet pan with parchment paper.  Either by hand or using a scoop, form the mixture into meatballs weighing roughly 1-5/8 ounces and equally space on the sheet pan.  [Side note:  This recipe also yields roughly (40) meatballs weighing 1-ounce each or roughly (20) meatballs weighing 2-ounces each].  Bake for 25 minutes, or until an internal temperature of 160° F is achieved.

For the sauce, melt your remaining butter.  Whisk in the flour and stir for one minute to remove the raw flour taste.  Add one-third of the beef broth and whisk for a minute until the lumps are gone.  Add another third of the beef broth and whisk.  Add the remaining beef broth, turn the heat to medium-high, and whisk until the gravy starts boiling.  Remove from heat and whisk in the cream and sour cream.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.  Add the meatballs to the gravy and serve over pasta, or your favorite starch.

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