Believe it or not – I’ve never made Swedish Meatballs. In fact, I’ve never eaten them, either.
They look so good, though!
And they seem like something all of the kids would eat. So, I started keeping my eyes open for Swedish Meatball recipes – actually a couple of months ago.
I kept coming across recipes that were sort of appealing but might have a component that I knew would take them out of the running for my family. So I kept looking. But I put Swedish Meatballs on the menu – for today. No pressure, right?!
So, I printed out a couple of different recipes, and what I ended up doing was building a new one from a conglomeration of others. Here goes.
You should know up front that I wanted a recipe that would give me some free time in the middle, so I opted to use a crock pot for a portion of the recipe. I pulled my favorite crock pot (All Clad – it’s fabulous) out and set it on high for 4 hours, and put 2 cups of beef stock in to begin to warm up.
I started by making a panade – a thick paste made by mixing bread crumbs, flour, rice, etc. with water, milk, stock, butter or sometimes egg yolks. It is often used as a binder. This panade is made with 4 slices of white sandwich bread. I threw them in my trusty Cuisinart and pulsed them until they were pretty finely chopped.
I then transferred the bread to my stand mixer’s bowl. Of course, we still need liquid for our panade, so I used 3/4ths a cup whole milk to add to the bread. I mixed it thoroughly, using the paddle attachment on my mixer. Let it sit for a few minutes to allow the bread to absorb all of the liquid.
I then rough chopped a medium sized sweet onion (we have Mayans around abouts here this time of year), and then threw it in the food processor and chopped the bajeebers out of it. It was pretty juicy, so I used a small sieve, and drained the liquid off of the onion, and then added it to the panade.
Next, I added the ground beef, eggs, parsley, salt, dry mustard, garlic, ginger, and pepper. Mix together until completely incorporated. It’ll look something like this:
Now you’ll need a good sized frying pan. Go ahead and set it on medium high heat on the stove top, and melt 1/2 a cup of butter in it. When the butter is melted, start scooping out about 2 tablespoon sized balls. Brown meatballs on all sides, removing them once they are browned to the crock pot.
Here’s what they looked like when I had them transferred to the crock pot:
True confessions here. I do have beef stock on hand – but it was frozen solid and I was running out of time – I had a kid to pick up and take to allergy shots. So I used my last packet of Lipton’s Onion Soup Mix – you know – the one full of all sorts of crap that I don’t want to feed my family. I added it and 4 cups of water to the crock pot, and tried not to fret over all of those little bits of dehydrated onion. If they got through – the boys would NEVER touch this stuff with a 10 foot pole!
As it turned out, after cooking for 4 hours – and making the house smell absolutely AMAZING – and removing the meatballs to a stone wear dish and covering with tin foil, I set them in a warm oven to hold until I was ready for them; I then took the sieve and drained the liquid from the crock pot. This effectively removed all of the little onion bits that were visible to the naked eye. Hooray! (Well, I would have gladly eaten the little onion bits – but we all know that’s just not going to happen right now!)
I then made a roux in a nice sized sauce pan. First, you melt 1/2 cup of butter over medium high heat, then, whisk in 1/2 cup of flour, whisking until a smooth paste has formed. Then I added in the soup broth, continuing to whisk until smooth. Then I added in 2 cups of heavy cream, 1/2 cup of sour cream, and 2 tablespoons of Worcestershire sauce, whisking to that all of the ingredients were completely incorporated. I then reduced the heat down to a pretty low setting, making sure to avoid scorching the sauce.
Another revelation about the eaters in our house? There’s one component that will about 99% of the time choose rice. There’s another component that will 99% of the time choose noodles. Then there’s the last component who will ask why we’re not having mashed potatoes with this meal – always.
I chose to prepare both rice and egg noodles.
I think in most households you might get away with transferring the meatballs into the sauce – but I knew at our house we’d have a greater success ratio if I served everything separately. So I did:
Interestingly enough, my normal rice and noodle scenarios did not play out as usual tonight!
My rice person had noodles. My noodle person had rice. My potato person had noodles. And my last person had a little of both. Go figure. I might have done a little bit of both, myself. It sure looked yummy.
Verdict: John really liked it. Although he thought it was very reminiscent of stroganoff. The sauce was, quite similar, in fact. He says we should do this one again.
Jessica: She liked it, too. No flowing editorial on it – just that it was good, and she liked it.
Jonathan: He liked it, as well. Thinks we should have it again some time.
William: He liked it, but was a little flipped out about the fact that the meatballs were soooo tender. I will confess to having a little slip of the hand when measuring the milk for the panade, and it was a little looser than it should have been. He found me out! He would enjoy these again in the future, as well.
I can tell you – these smelled AMAZING and it was all I could do to keep from grabbing one of those little meatballs and snacking away! I’m so glad we had enough left over to freeze. I will definitely be getting into these in the future!
Will I make these again? You betcha. I might try adjusting the sauce a bit, so that it’s less stroganoff-y.
So – all in all – not a bad recipe!