Swedish Meatballs--A Holiday Tradition
A family recipe for Swedish meatballs. Lightly spiced with allspice and cream, these beef and pork meatballs bake in the oven for a taste of the holidays any time of year.
Like many Americans, I seem to 'get my heritage on' over the holidays. I eat special foods that I don't normally eat the rest of the year, I make recipes handed down from my foremothers, and I decorate in ways that remind me of my heritage. Being of Norwegian-Swedish-Scottish heritage, with ties of the heart to Denmark and Finland, my food traditions involve mostly potatoes, butter, meat, fish, and dried fruits. (A departure from the usual Farm Fresh Feast fare).
Growing up, our family Christmas Eve celebration was different than everyone else I knew. We'd invite a bunch of folks to a smorgasbord supper, followed by a table top Bobby Hull hockey tournament, then a buffet of sweets--assorted cookies, fruit soup, and lefse--and finally we'd attend the candlelight service.
Besides in the comforts of her own kitchen, my mom managed to create this meal in the unlikeliest of settings. She's done a smorgasbord in an un-winterized beach house, my apartment in Germany, and even broke my first mixer while visiting me in Illinois (they got me a new one which I still have and use!). I have absorbed many lessons from my mom's shoulder over the years, several of which I impart via this blog.
For today's recipe I've brought in some guest workers--my folks. I had the privilege of their company recently. I knew I wanted to do something that I could blog about, but (as usual) I wasn't really sure what. Mom brought Red River Cereal and we made Red River Rolls (my favorite bun to eat turkey leftovers with!). I thought about making lefse (a Norwegian potato-based flat bread) but when I hit the grocery store and saw ground pork marked down I knew what to make: Swedish meatballs.
(original recipe by Oty Rogers in the 1969 BCC-YMCA cookbook)
- 1 cup fine dry bread crumbs
- 1 cup warm half and half
- 1 pound ground beef
- 1 pound ground pork (original recipe called for half veal and half pork)
- 1 cup milk
- 2 eggs (hey, something from the farm share!)
- 1/4 cup finely minced onion
- 1 Tablespoon salt (this is half the amount called for in the original recipe)
- 3/4 teaspoon pepper (2/3 teaspoon in the original recipe)
- 3/4 - 1 teaspoon ground allspice (1/4 teaspoon in the original recipe)
- In a small bowl, combine bread crumbs and half and half. Set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl (I used my cheaper-than-this-link refurbished stand mixer, not the handheld that replaced the one broken while making meatballs back in Illinois) combine meats until thoroughly mixed.
- Add the soaked bread crumbs and milk. Mix well. Mix in the eggs, onion and seasonings.
- Chill mixture for an hour up to overnight.
- When you're ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Form into small balls, about a tablespoon worth per ball.
- Bake on a broiler pan for 30 minutes until well-browned. Serve with a cream sauce.
- These make a huge bunch of meatballs--enough for 3+ meals for our family of 4. I froze a few bags, thawed them overnight in the fridge, and reheated them in the cream sauce.
Merry Christmas from my blog to you and yours!
|My daughter and I assembled this centerpiece for the solstice--empty jars (yeast, capers, salsa, lemon curd, olives) with tea lights and tiny ornaments bought last January on clearance at IKEA. I'm absurdly pleased with it.|