I hope all your final days of lent season are going good and that you all are getting ready for the Easter celebrations. I thought of sharing with you something special, a dish which is famous far and wide in the Europe, US and Mediterranean, that is the meat balls. As far as the Indian cuisine is considered for the Easter, it always the traditional food that is served in most probability. In my region it’s duck, beef, hoppers rice and stuff.
Things are changing. New generations try out different cuisines. Still traditions are followed. Easter eggs, hot cross buns and Easter bunny are few things which flash through our mind when we hear Easter. Lamb roast, baked chicken, stews are made world over to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus. I’m a person who think out of the box and like to do things out of the way. So I thought of posting this Swedish Meat balls which are also my version of the IKEA meat balls n mash.
IKEA meat balls have claimed a place for itself in many parts of the world where it is existent. People are crazy about this dish and go flocking to IKEA just for this dish. Same is the case in my house. This has become a habit and there are times when we visit IKEA just fir this meat balls .
Meat balls, spaghetti and mash are often find place on our dinner table. But It was after Ikea visits, Swedish Meat balls took over. Frankly speaking who’s doesn’t like meat balls. Meat in the ball form can be found around the globe. American Meat balls are very famous which is paired with spaghetti. Then there are Italian meat balls, Greek, German, Arab Koftas are all meat balls in varied forms.
Lets talk about Swedish meat balls aka Kottbullar med grassas, are meat balls with creamy sauce. This dish is served with mashed potatoes and lingon berry sauce as a tradition and will be served for all celebrations. This can be found all over Sweden. A combination of beef and pork are used to make this meat balls, but this is replaced according to region, culture and taste. I use only beef for the meat balls as I feel it is the tastiest amongst the red meat.
The history of the origin of this meat ball is very vague. It is believed that
King charles XII, when returned from Istanbul, should have brought this down with him. The first published recipe for this dish was noted down in 1754. Basic recipe is a combination of meat, bread, milk, eggs, onions, herbs and pepper. I haved tried to stick maximum with the traditional recipe, but have made some changes to make it more flavorful and interesting. Instead of using the mince, I grinded the meat to a paste like texture along with parsley and sauteed onions. These two are the main ingredients which are core in making the meat balls tasty and juicy.
It is very important to use good qulaity beef for this. The meaty chunk part with out fibres and too much fat are the preferred meat for this. Wash the meat well in advance. I wash it and drain it first on a colander for 10-15 minutes. Then I keep it on a kitchen towel and paper towel so that all the water is abosrbed and make it as dry as possible. What happens otherwise is that, when you blitz the meat, water will ooze and it will start oozing out more making the meat ball mixture watery and this inturn will break the meat balls while frying and you will find it hard to roll it too.
I have used three types of bread mixture. Panko breadcrumbs, normal, regular bread crumbs and bread soaked in milk. All of these are in small quantities. Panko is optional by all means. Bread soaked in milk is a must as that is the traditional way and it also adds moisutre to the meat balls. Spices like nutmeg, all spice, pepper powders, garlic powder put in the flavors needed for making this dish truly a distinguished one. Addition of the meat tenderizer will make the meat balls tender, juicy and soft. When you fry it, it should be browned but take care that it remains, soft and juicy by not overcooking.
Adding garlic to the sauce is my twist. A tad bit of health and some flavor enhancer too. Do it in the same pan where you fry the meat balls, which will help in adding on to flavors. Usually all purpose flour is used for thickening the sauce, I added a combo of flour and almond meal to make it better. Add the meat balls immediately after the sauce starts to boil, so it remains in the gravy while simmering thus dispersing all the flavors from the meat balls.
Good variety potatoes which are brown and where you get peely skin should be always used for mash. Cook it very tender so that you get a creamy mash. It should be hot and done before serving it. Butter, salt and pepper along with some cream, blitz it in food processor, you get a creamy velvety heavenly mash. You can also do this with potato ricer, masher or the traditional masher. Food pro one will give the best results.
So take a leap at it and enjoy the truly amazing meat balls recipe with the mash. Kids will enjoy this and you will want to keep making it. I have used 1 kg beef here and I got 40 meat balls and I used 20 of these for making this dish. Rest I freeze it and use when needed. You can always do this way so that the work is made easier or use half the quantity. Do let me know how it turned out for sure. Hope you all had a great Easter and happy hols!!!!
Wash, drain the beef until thorughly dry on a kitchen towel. Saute the onions in butter until transclucent and dry. Soak the bread cutting out the edges, in milk, mashing it up.
Blitz the beef, parsley and onions in the food processor until a paste like mixture is formed. Transfer to a mixing bowl, add the spice powders and salt and combine well. Now add all the bread crumbs and egg yolks. Knead again well so that all the flavors and meat well combined. Roll into lime sized balls and rest in fridge for half an hour.
Shallow fry the meat balls in a combination of oil and butter. Drain and keep.
In the same pan where you fried the meat balls, add 3 tablespoons of butter. Add the crushed garlic and saute till aromatic. Add the flours and cook till slighlty browned and aromatic. Add the stock slowly and combine into a smooth creamy mixture without lumps. Add the sauce and mustard along with seasonings. Allow this to boil. Add the meat balls and reduce the flame. Simmer till gravy is thickened and flavors are infused into the gravy. Add the cream and finish it off.
Cook the potatoes till tender. Remove the skin and add to a food pro. Add all the other ingredients and combine into a smooth creamy mixture.
Spread the mash on to a plate. Serve the meat ball with gravy on top. enjoy!!!!!
Happy Cooking !!!