Most of you no doubt know that I spent 18 years in Norway and as the only difference between Norwegian and Swedish meatballs is the size (Norwegian ones are much bigger), meatballs quickly became a staple in our house. We still have them at least once a month - you have to hang on to some things from ‘home’ and they’re one of my youngest’s favourite meals and as most supermarkets sell them, they’re obviously popular here.
What I’ve noticed though is that people buy what’s called Swedish Meatball Sauce. It comes in packets and is made by Coleman’s. Whether or not there are any other brands I couldn’t tell you but the fact that meatball sauce is VERY easy to make, buying a packet mix is a complete waste of money.
Rather than buy ready made meatballs and sauce, you might just as well make your own. Here’s how:
250g minced beef
250g minced pork (double the beef if you don't have pork mince - or vice versa)
1 tsp salt
1 tsp ground black pepper
3 tsp fresh parsley or 1 tsp dried (optional)
1 tsp ground nutmeg (optional)
2 tbsp cornflour
300-400 ml milk (or use water if you don’t use dairy)
½ small onion, finely chopped
2 tbsp butter or margarine for frying
- Mix the minced meat and salt together until it’s a sticky mess then mix the cornflour, parsley, nutmeg and pepper in.
- Gradually add the milk or water while still mixing then mix in the onions. Form into whatever sized balls you like.
- Brown the fat in a frying pan then add the meatballs (in batches if necessary). Shake the pan now and then to ensure that they’re fried on all sides. Once they’re nice and brown, leave them to fry over a gentle heat for 3-5 minutes, depending on their size.
3 tbsp butter
3 tbsp flour
500 ml beef stock
A little vinegar taken from a jar of gherkins (optional)
A few drops of soy sauce or gravy browning (optional)
A little milk (sorry, but water just won’t cut it but you could use a milk alternative I guess)
Ground black pepper
- Melt the butter in a saucepan and mix in the flour to form a paste (or roux, which is the proper word for it).
- Add the stock and simmer very gently for about 5 minutes so that the flour taste disappears.
- Add the soy sauce/gravy browning, vinegar, a little milk and pepper to taste. Simmer for another minute.
- Taste - add more pepper if needed.
Y’see, the sauce really is easy and sooooo quick. And let’s face it, who doesn’t have butter, flour, some form of beef stock (unless you're a vegetarian of course, but then none of this would interest you anyway) and black pepper in the house? The other stuff’s just an added bonus if you happen to have it.
The meatballs aren’t difficult either and home-made ones are not only more authentic, they taste a whole lot better too. And as with all made-from-scratch food, you know exactly what you’re getting.
Traditionally, along with the above sauce, Swedish meatballs are served with boiled potatoes (in their skins) and lingonberry sauce, only I haven't been able to find either lingonberries or ready made sauce anywhere. Ikea probably do it but I'm not going all the way there just to find out. I must remember to look out for it next time I go though (I always get their weinerpølser - hot dog sausages - there's nothing in this country quite like them!)
And a meatball meal in the cafe is a must too :)