I decided to follow traditions with this year's batch of Christmas meatballs - no pancetta, no garlic, no parsely. Just traditional Swedish Christmas meatballs.
It all started with a trip to a local farm that sells (sadly only until the end of the year) beef, pork and lamb from animals raised and butchered on-site. Unfortunately, I didn't have my camera for the visit as it really should have been documented. There was a side of (nearly perfect) beef hanging in the fully visible back room as well as a handwritten whiteboard with the full processing information (weight, breed, slaughter date and location, grade, etc.) of the 8 steers that the farm had had butchered for the holiday season. I grind my own ground beef but I couldn't understand why the couterpeople kept disappearing whenever another customer ordered ground beef until I realized that they grind every order fresh.
I went home with the following Julbord necessities:
That's an 8-pound brined, unsmoked raw ham, a smoked fårfiol
, a couple of pounds of "prinskorvar" (small, handmade, lightly smoked frankfurters) and a nice chunk of bacon. Everything raised and produced on the farm. All of these will hopeful show up in subsequent posts... I also picked up a few pounds of bone-in pork belly and this gorgeous, 4 pound hunk of chuck (? Can anyone positively identify this cut for me?):
For the meatballs, the first step for me was to grind the chuck...
... three times:
about 1 1/2 pounds of the ground chuck, 1/2 cup breadcrumbs, an egg, about one cup of veal stock, an onion, and the spices (1/2 tsp allspice, 1/3 tsp white peppar, 1/4 tsp cloves and 1 tsp salt)
Start by pouring the stock over the breadcrumbs and letting them soak for a few minutes.
While the breadcrumbs are soaking, finely dice or grate the onion and fry (without letting it brown) in a tablespoon of butter or oil.
Add all of the ingredients to the breadcrumbs...
... and mix:
Do yourself a favor and fry up a little taste of the mixture to make sure that the seasoning is o.k. before making all of the meatballs.
Now the tedious part - make the meatballs. I use a pastry bag to sqeeze out roughly uniform lumps of the meat mixture before rolling them into balls (with oiled hands) onto an oiled cookie sheet.
Finally, fry gently in butter and not too many at one time:
The traditional Swedish Christmas spicing shines through very clearly. We'll see what the rest of the family says on Monday but I'm thinking that my wife will want a reduction in allspice next time...
Apart from the little batch pictured above, I froze the rest of the meatballs uncooked:
I froze last year's meatballs fully cooked last year but thought that the second frying of them (to defrost and warm them prior to serving) made them too dry. We'll see if this method works out better.