NORWEGIAN SWEDISH MEATBALLS!!
Dear Sybil, I’m always trying to throw little impromptu get-togethers at the beach and come up with cute themes for the parties and just the right menu!...but I find Sandra Lee’s “tablescapes and cocktails” profoundly UNsatisfying….especially because some of my guests are sober, and if your party depends totally on booze, napkin folds, and some citronella candles, you’re a loser…(no offence!) Have you got something that might be fun and a novelty? Sincerely, Bjørnstjerne “Skippy” Bjørnson
Well…..um… Skippy! I may have just the thing for you!...and for any other hosts and hostesses who feel stranded… Out at the seashore for vacation??? Planning a soiree on the patio?? Need a great and quick treat for company dropping by for cocktails at sunset?? In-laws checking up on you with NO warning??? Well, Darlings, Mummy went to her super-secret recipe library, (which looks like Severus Snape's personal storeroom at Hogwarts!! I dated him in Junior High School!...but that’s another story for another time!), and pulled out a simple recipe just perfect for a buffet, or passed hors d'oeuvres, or a midnight snack....in broad daylight!!!!! It's NORWEGIAN SWEDISH MEATBALLS!! I got it from my old friend Hedda Gabler shortly before her unfortunate …um… “accident”! ...so, in a way...you could say..."These are a dead woman's treats!!". They're absolutely perfect for a FJORD FIESTA, and who doesn’t want a new theme like that for their deck party?!?! Make them ahead of time, and let their wonderful flavor develop for a day or two...and of course they're great as leftovers for that midnight snack!!... If there ARE any! You know, with all the Summer Stock Theatre and Plays-In-The-Park-type-things ....we could do a whole Ibsen menu....WILD DUCK as the entree, and of course, Nora Helmer's DOLL HOUSE Macaroons for dessert!!! Enjoi, mes amis!!!!
Norwegian Swedish Meatballs: Serves 4 to 6
For the meatballs-
• 1/2 cup fine dry bread crumbs
• 1/4 cup heavy cream
• 2 tablespoons olive oil
• 1 medium red onion, finely chopped
• 1/2 pound ground chuck or sirloin • 1/2 pound ground veal
• 1/2 pound ground pork
• 2 tablespoons honey
• 1 large egg
• Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
• 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
For the sauce-
• 1 cup chicken stock
• 1/2 cup heavy cream
• 2 tablespoons juice from quick pickled cucumbers (optional)
• Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper • nutmeg (optional)
Prepare the meatballs: In a large bowl, combine the ground beef, veal, pork, breadcrumbs, onion, honey, and egg, and mix well with your hands. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add in the heavy cream, and mix thoroughly. Set aside. Heat the oil in a small skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté for about 5 minutes, until softened. Remove from the heat. With wet hands (to keep the mixture from sticking), (or better yet, use an ice cream scoop!) shape the mixture into meatballs the size of a golf ball, but no larger!! Swedish meatballs are much more elegant when they're small enough to be popped in the mouth without smearing your lipstick! Tres chic!! Place them on a plate lightly moistened with water. You should have about 24 meatballs. Melt the butter and a small amount of olive oil (to keep the butter from burning!) in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the meatballs, in batches if necessary, and cook, turning frequently, for about 7 minutes, until browned on all sides and cooked through. Transfer the meatballs to a plate, and discard all but 1 tablespoon of fat from the skillet. (Well, girls! We have to count a FEW calories!)
Prepare the sauce: Return the skillet to the heat, whisk in the stock, cream, and pickle juice, and bring to a simmer. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Add the meatballs to the sauce, reduce the heat to medium, and simmer for about 5 minutes, until the sauce thickens slightly and the meatballs are heated through. Add a dash or two of nutmeg if you like! Serve hot with the mashed potatoes, lingonberry preserves, and pickled cucumbers! Pickled cucumbers…the perfect Summer treat! Oops! Mummy didn't include those recipes, did she? Oh well... here goes!!
Quick-Pickled Cucumbers and Red Onion INGREDIENTS:
• 1 seedless cucumber
• ½ medium sized red onion
• 1 ½ cups of white vinegar
• 1 cup of sugar
• 2 tbsp. of dill • 6 allspice berries
• ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
• a pinch or two of freshly ground pepper
DIRECTIONS: Using a mandoline or a very sharp knife, finely slice the cucumbers and red onion….really fine… as in “see-through”! It’ll make the salad look ever so much more sophisticated for the recipe-snobs that might be there! But certainly be careful… the tip of finger is such an appetite depressant, don’t you think?! (When handling slicing or poking tools in the kitchen, it’s best not to be chatting on the cell phone or watching All My Children!) Put in a mixing bowl with the dill and a pinch of salt while you prepare the pickling solution.
In a small pot over medium heat, combine white vinegar, sugar, allspice and salt. Stir well until the liquid is simmering and the sugar has completely dissolved. Pour pickling liquid over red onion and cucumbers and stir to ensure everything is evenly coated. Allow to cool to room temperature, then cover with plastic wrap (press the plastic wrap down onto the cucumbers so there is no air) and refrigerate. Chill for at least 4 hours to cool completely before serving. Reserve two tablespoons of the juice for your meatball sauce! It adds just the right tang and serves as a counterpoint to the lush sweetness of the lingonberry preserves. Speaking of which, the best way to get good lingonberry preserves is to just buy them at the store, but make sure they’re high-end. You can get them at any fine gourmet shop or even at IKEA if you happen to be buying a bookcase! There are two ways of serving the preserves according to personal preference; warmed up and with a bit of ginger beer and lime to compliment the heated meatballs… or chilled to contrast with the hot meatballs….your choice!
Smashed Potatoes INGREDIENTS:
• 1 lb. baby new potatoes
• 6 tablespoons milk
• 1/4 cup of crème fraîche or sour cream
• kosher salt and pepper to taste
• 2 tablespoons chopped flat leaf parsely
DIRECTIONS: Put the potatoes in a stockpot, and cover by an inch of water. Season with salt and boil until tender, about 10 minutes. Drain the potatoes, and return back to their hot pot. Add 6 tablespoons milk and 1/4 cup of crème fraîche or sour cream, and season with salt and pepper. Add half the parsley chopped very fine, if using, and smash the potatoes. Plate the potatoes, and pour the meatballs and sauce over the top. Top with the remaining parsley!...and voilà! …er, um…. här är!
You know, Darlings!.. When I think of how those long Winters in Scandinavia with no sun, and then Summers where the sun never sets, I’m not surprised that those beautiful blondes get so down in the mouth… if only we’d popped a few of these sumptuous Swedish meatballs in Hedda’s mouth, she might not have gotten so grumpy! Ah well… As I said before, Enjoi, mes amis!!.... ooops! I mean, Enjoi, mine venner!!!! ...and let me know how you like them!
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