When we were growing up, one of my mother’s favourite ways to keep my brother and I entertained was to pile us in the car and head to IKEA. Upon arrival, friends of ours would always seem to magically appear. All four children would be seated in the cafeteria with steaming plates of their infamous meatballs. The mama’s would take turns supervising us covering our faces in the delicious, brown gravy with sticky fingers decorating the table tops. The other would steal five precious minutes to browse, blissfully nag-free.
Meatballs are therefore high in the ranks of my favourite comfort foods, bringing me back to my childhood. I’m not above travelling to IKEA just to visit the cafe. I hunted meatballs down with a vengeance on a recent trip to Stockholm and have since found a recipe that definitely does the Swedish variety (or Svenska Kottbullar, as they're known) justice. Largely adapted from Jamie Oliver’s version, I’ve made a couple of tweaks to a recipe which will feature often this autumn in our little London flat.
15 minutes prep, 1 hour in the fridge, 25 minutes cook time = 1 hour 40 minutes total. Serves 4.
For the meatballs
- A handful of mixed fresh herbs - I used flat leaf parsley and chives
- 300g minced pork
- 300g minced beef
- 1 egg, beaten
- 100ml whole milk
- 75g breadcrumbs
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
- butter, for frying
For the sauce
- juice of ½ a lemon
- 300ml beef stock
- 2 tbsp flour
- 10g butter
- 60ml double cream
- ½ tsp marmite [optional]
- cranberry jam
- fresh dill, to garnish
- buttered baby-topped carrots
- creamy potato mash with chives
- cranberry (or lingonberry) sauce
1. Roughly chop the herbs, and add them into a mixing bowl with the minced pork & beef, egg, milk and breadcrumbs. Crack the pepper over the top and sprinkle generously with salt. Using your hands, mix the mixture together.
2. Grease a baking tray, and roll the mixture into small meatballs - you should be able to make about 30. Place them on the tray and cover with cling film. Leave them in the fridge for about an hour.
3. When you’re ready to cook, add the butter to the pan and wait until it is nice and hot and the butter starts to brown. Add the meatballs one by one (I find tongs help out in a big way here), and cook for 3-4 minutes until brown. Then turn the meatballs, cooking on each side for a further 3-4 minutes until brown all over. Transfer to a plate when done.
4. Remove any excess fat from the pan and wait until it has cooled down. Then, make a roux from the flour and butter. Slowly add the stock (you may not need the full 300ml), working into the roux. Add in the lemon juice, cream, marmite and a dollop of the cranberry jam, bringing it to the boil. Add the meatballs back in and let the mixture simmer for another 10 minutes.
I served the mixture on a bed of fluffy mashed potatoes alongside buttered carrots. Serve the meatballs with a drizzle of the brown sauce, and a good tablespoon of jam on the side. Läcker!
With Love, Kate