November happens every year! Without even looking at the calender, I can feel the eleventh month in my bones. The pace intensifies as everyone scurries around frantically trying to cross off never ending to-do lists. Keeping sane is no mean feat, let alone feeding hungry mouths. With no time to spare and food creativity on the decline, soulful food is one way to remedy frazzled nerves. My solution? Creamy Swedish meatballs with meaty mushrooms. True story – Temporary respite can be found in a bowl of food.
Meatballs were invented to feed families. The very word meatball rolls easily off the tongue and conjures up childhood memories of casual family suppers that in our home involved a scarlet-red sauce and long, slurpy strands of pasta. Meatballs and spaghetti originated from New York in the early 1920’s, the creation of ingenious Italian immigrants. Like bread, it seems most countries have their own version this popular meaty dish. Favourites at our table include spicy tapas-style Spanish meatballs, these North African chermoula meatballs and of course, Italian Prosciutto meatballs in a rich tomato sauce. Adding to the blog’s meatball repertoire is my latest compulsion, creamy Swedish meatballs. I can’t understand why I’ve never ventured across Nordic boarders before and into the creamy depths of Sweden’s famed meatball, known to locals as Köttbullar.
The sauce is rich with sturdy flavourings that meld flawlessly together. One would think that with a Swedish recipe, the ingredient list would be weird and wonderful. Surprisingly, they’re mostly everyday items that live in your kitchen. Lurking in the fridge you should have a stray jar of Dijon mustard, Worcestershire sauce and a pot of cream. That takes care of the sauce. Concerning the meatballs, you’ll need some fresh parsley, mixed spices, egg and breadcrumbs. Nothing too taxing about this recipe!
Traditionally Swedish meatballs call for pork, but I think we can mix it up here and go with beef mince. Although not conventional, I like to add something that resembles a vegetable and sautéed mushrooms are the perfect meaty partner. To finish, a drizzle of lemon enhanced extra virgin olive oil contrasts the velvety sauce and elevates the flavours to exceptional. So much soothing comfort in exchange for so little effort. Whip up some fluffy mashed potatoes or toss through twirls of tagliatelle pasta. This recipe is guaranteed to become a big favourite around the table. Just Amazeballs!!
Creamy Swedish meatballs with mushrooms
Creamy Swedish meatballs with mushrooms
- olive oil, for frying
- 1 brown onion, finely diced
- 250g mushrooms, sliced
- 1/2 teaspoon oregano
- 500g lean beef mince
- 1/4 cup fresh breadcrumbs
- 1 egg
- 1 tablespoon fresh flat leaf parsley, chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon mixed spice (all spice)
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
- 350ml chicken stock
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 2 heaping teaspoons Dijon mustard
- a squeeze of fresh lemon juice (about 1 tbls)
- 250ml cream (single or whipping cream – about 35% fat content)
- a handful fresh flat leaf parsley, to finish
- In a large-based frying pan, sauté the onion until soft and translucent. Scrape into a mixing bowl and cool.
- In the same pan, cook the mushrooms on a high heat until all the liquid is evaporated. Season lightly with salt and oregano. Remove from the pan, cover and set aside.
- To make the meatballs, combine the mince, sautéed onion, breadcrumbs, egg, chopped parsley, spices, salt and pepper. Mix by hand until all the aromatics and breadcrumbs are evenly worked through.
- Roll into smallish balls. The mixture yields about 20 -25 meatballs. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in the same pan and cook the meatballs until browned on all sides. Add the meatballs to the cooked mushrooms.
- Add the butter to the remaining oils in the pan and heat until bubbling. Stir through the flour and cook for 2 minutes. Slowly add the hot chicken stock, whisking all the while to prevent lumps forming.
- Once all the stock is incorporated, add the Worcestershire sauce, Dijon mustard and lemon juice. Stir in the cream and bring slowly up to the boil.
- Return the meatballs to the pan and coat in the creamy sauce. Simmer for 4-5 minutes until the meatballs are cooked through and the sauce is thickened.
- Scatter over a handful of chopped fresh parsley and drizzle with Lemon enhanced olive oil.
- Serve with buttered tagliatelle pasta or garlic mashed potatoes.