You have reached your limit of free articles this month.

Enjoy unlimited access to myStatesman.com

Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks.

GREAT REASONS TO SUBSCRIBE TODAY!

  • IN-DEPTH REPORTING
  • INTERACTIVE STORYTELLING
  • NEW TOPICS & COVERAGE
  • ePAPER
X

You have read of premium articles.

Get unlimited access to all of our breaking news, in-depth coverage and bonus content- exclusively for subscribers. Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks

X

Welcome to myStatesman.com

This subscriber-only site gives you exclusive access to breaking news, in-depth coverage, exclusive interactives and bonus content.

You can read free articles of your choice a month that are only available on myStatesman.com.

Swedish meatballs, from the comfort of home


Last year, I read a multivolume Proustian novel about the life of Norwegian writer Karl Ove Knausgaard.

The minutiae of his experience were the point of the book, elaborated in extravagant detail. Everything in his day-to-day life was there, every cigarette break, drinking spree and marital argument — everything, that is, but his meals. What did this guy eat? He mentions only one food with any regularity: the frozen rissoles he heated up for many a meal.

So then, what’s a rissole?

Finding the answer was more difficult than you’d think. Every time I searched online for Norwegian or Scandinavian rissoles, recipes for meatballs like you’d get at Ikea would appear. And when I searched for just rissoles, I got a variant of French-style potato or meat croquettes.

I never did figure out exactly what he was eating.

But the research gave me a hankering for Swedish meatballs, which are about the most perfect thing you could make on a cold, wet evening, whether you’re in Scandinavia, New York or anywhere else a comforting, cozy meal will do your body good.

To clarify: What we call Swedish meatballs here in the United States are made all over Scandinavia, in myriad ways.

Most recipes use a combination of beef and pork: the beef for chew, the pork for flavor and richness. I like a ratio of 50/50, but feel free to change that to suit your tastes. And note that many people substitute veal for the pork. You could probably even try ground turkey.

As for seasonings, onions, either raw or sautéed, are often added to the meat, along with warming spices like allspice, nutmeg and ginger.

Another important ingredient is bread crumbs in milk, which give the meatballs an incredible tenderness. I used panko, which I think provides a fluffier texture than more finely ground dried bread crumbs. Or you could use a diced slice of soft sandwich bread if that’s more convenient.

As anyone who has ever bought a Billy bookcase is likely to know, Swedish meatballs are incomplete without a pool of creamy gravy. Here, I’ve seasoned the gravy with brandy for complexity and mustard for tang. If you’ve still got that jar of lingonberry jam in the fridge from your last bookcase-buying trip, a dollop adds a touch of sweetness and some very welcome color to the plate.

Swedish Meatballs

Yield: 4 dozen meatballs

Total time: 45 minutes

Ingredients

1 cup panko bread crumbs

1/2 cup warm milk

4 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 large onion, diced

2 teaspoons kosher salt, more as needed

1 tablespoon brandy

1 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1 cup beef or chicken broth, low sodium or homemade

1/2 cup heavy cream

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard, optional

1 pound ground beef

1 pound ground pork

2 large eggs

2 garlic cloves, grated on a Microplane or minced

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/2 teaspoon allspice

1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

Pinch cloves

Extra-virgin olive oil, as needed for drizzling

Chopped fresh parsley or dill, for garnish

Steps

1. In a medium bowl, soak bread crumbs in warm milk while you prepare the onions.

2. In a large skillet over medium heat, melt 1 tablespoon of butter. Stir in onions and a pinch of salt and cook until pale golden, about 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer half the onions to a large bowl and set aside.

3. Prepare sauce: Add brandy to skillet with onions and ignite with a long match or igniter (or if you’re using a gas stove, just swirl pan, brandy should catch fire). Let flame die down, then add the remaining butter, letting it melt. Sprinkle in flour. Sauté until flour browns, about 3 minutes. Whisk in broth, cream and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Simmer, whisking, until reduced to a sauce, about 5 minutes. Add mustard, if you like, and season with more salt, if needed.

4. To large bowl with onion, add remaining 1 3/4 teaspoons salt, soaked bread crumbs, beef, pork, eggs, garlic, pepper, allspice, ginger, nutmeg and cloves. Roll into 1-inch balls (about 2 tablespoons each), placing them on one or two rimmed baking sheets as you go.

5. Heat broiler. Drizzle meatballs with oil. Broil meatballs, switching pans’ positions if using more than one so they both get close to the broiler, until well browned all over, 5 to 10 minutes. Serve with gravy, garnished with herbs.


Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Austin360 Eats

Alton Brown agrees with us about the best breakfast taco in Austin (or anywhere)
Alton Brown agrees with us about the best breakfast taco in Austin (or anywhere)

This is Maritza Vazquez’ food trailer called Veracruz All-Natural Tacos located in east Austin at 1704 E.
Jmblya with Chance the Rapper, Gucci Mane and Migos releases schedule; Limited tickets available
Jmblya with Chance the Rapper, Gucci Mane and Migos releases schedule; Limited tickets available

Chance The Rapper performs at the Austin City Limits Music Festival in Zilker Park on Sunday, Oct. 4, 2015.
Will 10th annual Farm to Plate push Sustainable Food Center over $1M mark?
Will 10th annual Farm to Plate push Sustainable Food Center over $1M mark?

The Sustainable Food Center, which runs four area farmers markets, as well as food education, cooking classes and gardening programs, hosts an annual fundraiser called Farm to Plate that is coming up on May 10.
Wittliff Collections to open Sandra Cisneros archive April 29-30
Wittliff Collections to open Sandra Cisneros archive April 29-30

Sandra Cisneros, the author of House on Mango Street, and the recent recipient of the National Medal of Arts from President Obama and the PEN Literary award poses at the Alkek Library on the campus of Texas State University.
6 in-town getaways to make Mom’s day
6 in-town getaways to make Mom’s day

If vacant weekends and days surrounding Mother’s Day are hard to come by, why not treat your favorite mom to a rejuvenating getaway in her own backyard? Austin teems with staycation experiences that prove not going anywhere can be the best escape of all. We’ve got six local options where Mom can relax, get pampered, plunge into the pool...
More Stories