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Swedish Christmas dishes: Christmas meatballs

Swedish Christmas dishes: Christmas meatballs
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  • Swedish Christmas dishes: Christmas meatballs

    Post #1 - December 21st, 2007, 2:20 am
    Post #1 - December 21st, 2007, 2:20 am Post #1 - December 21st, 2007, 2:20 am
    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:

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    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?):

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    For the meatballs, the first step for me was to grind the chuck...

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    ... three times:

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    The ingredients:

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    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.

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    While the breadcrumbs are soaking, finely dice or grate the onion and fry (without letting it brown) in a tablespoon of butter or oil.

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    Add all of the ingredients to the breadcrumbs...

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    ... and mix:

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    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:

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    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:

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    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.
  • Post #2 - December 21st, 2007, 8:59 am
    Post #2 - December 21st, 2007, 8:59 am Post #2 - December 21st, 2007, 8:59 am
    Hi,

    The cut of meat is a beef chuck 7-bone pot roast, which you can see pictures of here.

    Why is the farm no longer selling retail after year's end?

    Regards,
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
    Facebook, Twitter, Greater Midwest Foodways, Road Food 2012: Podcast
  • Post #3 - December 21st, 2007, 9:13 am
    Post #3 - December 21st, 2007, 9:13 am Post #3 - December 21st, 2007, 9:13 am
    Thanks, Cathy2! I was thinking that it was a 7-bone roast as that bone really is quite distinctive.

    I didn't ask why they were closing their little shop. I suspect one of two reasons: 1) they are perhaps getting too old and can't find someone to take over the place or, 2) tightening EU regulations could be making it too difficult for them to keep running the business like they want to or can afford. My favorite old-fashioned cafe on the island of Gotland finally closed shop as they could understand or afford to live up to tightening EU legislation.

    The good news is that the meat and products will still be available by placing an order and picking them up. They are only shutting down the open-to-the-public, drop-in butcher shop aspect of their operation. We'll see how the rest of the purchases turn out but I'm thinking that I'll be placing an order before too long.
  • Post #4 - December 21st, 2007, 9:30 am
    Post #4 - December 21st, 2007, 9:30 am Post #4 - December 21st, 2007, 9:30 am
    Bridgestone do you have a blog of your own? IHave you thought of starting one if you don't have one?

    I always really enjoy your posts. This is another great one.

    Thanks for sharing and Happy Holidays.
  • Post #5 - December 21st, 2007, 9:39 am
    Post #5 - December 21st, 2007, 9:39 am Post #5 - December 21st, 2007, 9:39 am
    Thanks brandon_w!

    No, I don't have my own blog and I don't think I'll be starting one anytime soon. As long as LTHForum is willing to put up with all of my Swedish posts, I couldn't be happier posting here!
  • Post #6 - December 21st, 2007, 9:48 am
    Post #6 - December 21st, 2007, 9:48 am Post #6 - December 21st, 2007, 9:48 am
    Bridgestone wrote:As long as LTHForum is willing to put up with all of my Swedish posts, I couldn't be happier posting here!


    Very, very willing to wake up to learn about an American living in Sweden.

    It's all good.

    Regards,
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
    Facebook, Twitter, Greater Midwest Foodways, Road Food 2012: Podcast
  • Post #7 - December 21st, 2007, 9:51 am
    Post #7 - December 21st, 2007, 9:51 am Post #7 - December 21st, 2007, 9:51 am
    Cathy2 wrote:
    Bridgestone wrote:As long as LTHForum is willing to put up with all of my Swedish posts, I couldn't be happier posting here!


    Very, very willing to wake up to learn about an American living in Sweden.

    It's all good.


    Agreed. I love seeing all the different ingredients, and your kitchen seems to have the best natural lighting ever.
  • Post #8 - July 6th, 2008, 10:48 pm
    Post #8 - July 6th, 2008, 10:48 pm Post #8 - July 6th, 2008, 10:48 pm
    Bridgestone wrote:Just traditional Swedish Christmas meatballs.
    G Wiv wrote:Ronnie_Suburban Bridgestone's Swedish meatballs
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    G Wiv's photos from the LTHForum 1,000-Recipe Potluck, June 22, 2008, appear here, including this great shot of Bridgestone's meatballs, as prepared by ronnie_suburban. Ronnie also commented on making the meatballs.
  • Post #9 - January 13th, 2009, 5:29 am
    Post #9 - January 13th, 2009, 5:29 am Post #9 - January 13th, 2009, 5:29 am
    I only had a chance to take a few shots of this year's batch of Christmas meatballs but though I'd post here anyway as the ingredients were different.

    The ingredients:

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    About 1/2 pound each of veal chuck/shoulder and pork shoulder, 1 pound beef chuck, two eggs, about 6 Swedish-style anchovies, 1 tbls liquid from the anchovies, one 33 cl bottle of porter/stout, a few slices of Swedish "vört" bread*, a few tablespoons of light syrup (I'd have used molasses if I'd have had some), 1/3 cup heavy cream, an onion. Not pictured: about 3 tablespoons of butter for softening the onion and roughly 1/2 tsp allspice, a few grindings of black peppar, salt (to taste) and about two ground star anise pods.

    I started by grinding the meats:

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    Next, I finely grated the onion and gently softened it in butter for about 5 minutes.

    As the onion softened, I reduced the porter down to about 1/3 and added the bread.

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    I let the bread and porter bubble until the bread had more-or-less become mush.

    Finally, I add the softened onion, syrup, bread/porter mixture, cream and spices to the ground meats and mixed.

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    Of course, taste this mixture before proceeding to make sure that the seasonings are fine.

    I was trying to enhance the Christmas flavors with this year's batch and think I did pretty well. The heavy allspice of my previous batch was tempered by the maltiness of the porter and this particular bread. I was personally really pleased with the subtle licorice hints the star anise added but honestly don't know how many others noticed and/or appreciated it. The texture was very soft and creamy. This, I believe, was due to me taking a tip from ronnie_suburban and frying these very gently and not too long. In fact, I only made small batches this year preferring to roll and fry new meatballs as needed instead of precooking and reheating all of them at once. I will definately continue doing this as any hassle is well paid off in the taste and texture of the freshly cooked meatballs.

    *Swedish vörtbröd is bread flavored with, amongst other things, wort. The wort gives the bread a pleasant maltiness.

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