SCANDI MEATBALLS WITH CREAM SAUCE
Traditionally served at buffets, smorgasbords or at midsommar (midsummer) celebrations, meatballs – or, as the Swedes know them, köttbullar – vary slightly from family to family and town to town. While opinions may differ on whether to use beef, veal or a mixture of beef and pork, with a thick sauce or a thin gravy, köttbullar are always accompanied by a generous dollop of lingonberry jam. Use a cranberry or redcurrant sauce if you can’t get hold of any lingonberries.
SERVES 4 30g (1¼ oz) butter, plus extra for frying 1 onion, finely chopped 30g (1¼ oz) crustless white bread (stale bread is good) 75ml (3fl oz) milk 500g (1lb 2oz) minced beef and pork, mixed (250g/9oz of each) ½ tsp ground allspice ¼ tsp grated nutmeg 2 tsp chopped sage sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
FOR THE SAUCE 15g (½ oz) butter 2 tbsp plain flour 175ml (6fl oz) regular or double cream 175ml (6fl oz) chicken stock juice of ¼-½ lemon, to taste
TO SERVE lingonberry jam or cranberry sauce 1 Melt half the butter in a saucepan over a medium heat, then add the onion and season with salt and pepper. Turn the heat down to low, cover and cook for 8-10 minutes until completely tender. Take off the heat and set aside to cool. 2 While the onion is cooking, break up the bread, place in a small bowl and cover with the milk. Leave to stand for 10 minutes or so to absorb all the milk. 3 Place the minced meat in the bowl, add the allspice, nutmeg and sage, then season with salt and pepper and mix well. Place a frying pan on the heat. Break off a small piece of the mixture and fry it in a little butter, then taste it and adjust the seasoning if needed. 4 Shape the mixture into 24 balls, about the size of a walnut in its shell. Cover and place in the fridge overnight, if you wish. 5 When ready to cook, place a large frying pan over a high heat, add the remaining butter and allow it to melt and foam. Tip in the meatballs and cook for 10-12 minutes, turning the heat down slightly once they are a good golden colour. When they are cooked in the centre, transfer them to a dish to keep warm. 6 To make the sauce, add the butter to the pan the meatballs were cooked in and, using a whisk, stir in all the lovely juicy bits stuck to the bottom of the pan. Add the flour and continue whisking for a further 10-20 seconds. Gradually pour in the cream and stock, whisking all the time to prevent it going lumpy, and bring to the boil, then cook for 1 minute. Taste and add lemon juice and seasoning. 7 Place the meatballs on warm plates, pour over the hot cream sauce and serve with lingonberry jam or cranberry sauce. ➤