Thursday, June 2, 2011

The Swedes and their meatballs, köttbullar to you and I

I've done meatballs in many guises before, maybe my problem has been that I've never taken them terribly serious. Here in Stockholm, as I'm sure is the case in the whole of Sweden, the issue of meatballs are taken deadly seriously. Swedish meatballs seem to be absolutely necessary for gatherings, comfort and memories. In fact, I'll go so far as to say that along with herring, it's one of the principle necessities keeping this glorious country together.

In my limited meatball career, I've never been a fan of store-bought meatballs , so I've long insisted on making my own, and actually think I made some killer black pudding balls in a tomato and apple sauce for Simon's birthday party just before flying onto Sweden. Home made has never ever been a hassle for me, and I think in the main it's because of the cooking process. No frying. At all. Oven baked. The only way to go.

Generally I don't measure my seasonings and spices, just add quite a bit of the white pepper, and just a dash of everything else. You can serve these with anything - creamed potatoes and gravy with lingonberries and pickled cucumber tend to go down a storm, but in a tomato sauce, wrapped in a pita with garlic mayonnaise, ketchup and chips. The possibilities are endless.

Perfect Swedish köttbullar, oven-baked

900g ground meat
1 yellow onion, very finely chopped
1-2 small cloves of garlic, minced
1 egg
white pepper
pinch of cinnamon
pinch of ground ginger
pinch of cardamom
pinch of allspice

Mix everything to an even batter, and form small, round balls. Put in a large roasting pan, and bake for about 15 minutes or so at 175°C. Shake the pan a few times to ensure an even surface on your meatballs.

Jag är Verkligen Hungrig.

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