Monday, April 10, 2006

exercise in frustration (supper edition)

I made Swedish meatballs today for the first time in about 15 years, and they came out awesome. The frustrating part? None of the kids would eat them!

Yes, yes, I should know that by now, how neophobic my kids are about food. But they are so mildly spiced and so delicious, how could anyone not like them? I'm OK with DS1 not eating them, as they did taste of onion -- cooked onion -- and that is one thing he literally can't stomach. I thought that since they were practically carmelized before going into the mix that DS1 would be OK with them, but he wasn't. DD barely tasted them, and DS2 ate maybe one meatball -- better than the others, but nothing spectacular.

All the labor-intensive and time-consuming activity was worth it, though, because DH enjoyed them as much as I did. Leftovers for us!

Swedish Meatballs
(serves 6-8)

3 slices whole wheat bread
1/2 C half-n-half
1/2 C water

1 onion, diced fine
2 T unsalted butter

1 pound lean ground beef
1 pound ground pork
1 pound ground veal

1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
salt & pepper to taste

to cook:
1 T oil

1 C chicken stock
1/2 C heavy cream

Break up the bread into large chunks and then whir in your food processor to fine crumbs. Put the bread crumbs, half-n-half, and water in a large mixing bowl and stir to combine. Let the bread crumbs soak while you saute the onions.

Melt the butter in a large skillet, and add the onions. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring often, until softened and just starting to brown. Scrape the contents of the pan into the bread mixture and stir.

Add the ground meats to the bread and onion mixture; sprinkle seasonings over the meats. Mix very well; it's often best to use your hands to do this. Shape the mixture into 1-inch meat balls; this recipe makes several dozen.

Put the oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Gently place the meatballs around the pan, leaving at least 1/2 inch of space between them. If you crowd too many in the pan, they'll steam, and not brown. Cook for about 4 minutes, then turn over to brown on the other side for another 4 minutes. Then turn them so the side brown as well, for about 12-15 minutes total cooking time. Lift them out of the pan gently onto a plate or covered dish, and immediately brown the next batch. Continue browning until all the meatballs are cooked.

For the sauce: pour off the excess grease in the pan, then return it to the heat. Add the chicken stock and use a spatula to scrape up all the browned bits off the bottom of the pan. Let the stock reduce for a few minutes, then lower the heat and stir in the cream. Stir thoroughly and heat just until warmed; taste, and adjust the seasonings (more pepper may be necessary here.)

These are great served with wide egg noodles, but we made do with plain old elbows as we had no other pasta! I think they'd also be great with frizzled cabbage or even just plain cauliflower for those who are trying to avoid carbs. Assemble your bedding ingredient, top with meatballs, and pour the sauce over all.


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