Saturday, January 24, 2009

Swedish meatballs with buttered noodles and nutmeg gravy

Wow, what a week. Not even a (much-needed, and well-spent) paid holiday or a sexah new president could shake the funk of cold weather and crampy ladytimes. I made it to the gym again, to try to run off some of my shitty attitude, but it just made me more tired. When push finally came to shove, dinner had to come with gravy.

You love those Ikea Swedish meatballs so much, don't you. Of course you do, you're not made of stone. You don't, however, love driving through traffic to circle the 50-acre parking lot, or swimming through the crowds of mouth-breathers that hoved in from the suburbs to buy exquisite plywood shelving with sleek birch veneers. What in the fuck can you do, though? You love those meatballs.

So make them your damn self already. Mix together some ground chuck and ground pork (about 3:1, respectively, for about a pound total), an egg, a half-handful of plain bread crumbs, a quarter of an onion (minced), more nutmeg than you think you should (at least ten scratches across your microplane zester), four or five good cracks of pepper, and a few pinches of crunchy salt. Mix only until combined, and use a little ice cream scoop to perfectly portion out meatballs onto a silpat. Roast these at 400 for about 20 or 30 minutes, until they're browned and lovely.

Whilst the meatballs are roasting, get a roux going. When it's nutty, whisk in milk until the lumps are all gone, and it is creamy and gravylike. Add some cracks of pepper (white is nice, if you have it), salt and 10 or 15 scratches of nutmeg. After it's bubbled for a spell (and the floury taste is gone), add some minced fresh thyme and a generous spoonful of creme frâiche, and taste. Whilst the gravy is simmering, boil some egg noodles. When they're done, toss in a knob of butter to coat. Toss a squonch of chopped parsley at it artfully.


Serve with a mug of hefedunkel and bork bork bork.

43 comments:

glamah16 said...

I would take youe meatballs over frozen Ikeas any day. Funny I had Swedish Meatballs on the brain today. Like the addition of nutmeg to the gravy.

Syd said...

The meatballs look divine. But, "bork bork bork" makes me laugh and warms my soul. My (late) little brother always did that imitation.

[Huge smile]

peter said...

I'm sorry, but there aren't nearly enough umlauts in that post.

And what a coincidence- I made gravy too tonight! OMG n' shit!

fenavo said...

Meat, Carbs and Gravy! Sounds like the perfect trifecta!

Nicebroom said...

For years I used to brag about my mother's meatballs because she's, y'know, Swedish (like, off the boat.) Nice gravy rich with drippings and sherry (or port, or red wine, but I like it best with sherry.) I would scoff with disdain at Ikea's, 'cause they tasted nothing like her's. Then I found out last year that her recipe is unique to her region. Maybe even unique to her town. Mama told me Ikea's meatballs are pretty authentic. I felt positively hoodwinked. Your recipe sounds pretty good (and pretty much like the traditional one!)

ediblearia.com said...

Mmm. Your recipe literally got me off my ass and down into my kitchen, where I immediately stole your idea and hacked it up into something I could pretend to have invented.

n' shit.

Rev. Danno said...

Hey, this is one of my favorite things to make and/or eat. I think if that one Chef was indeed a Swed he'd say biork biork biork, but do you expect from Jim Henson(who got arrested in Maryland, New York, Washington D.C. and New mexico for illegally breading Muppets, that's why he had to move "Jim Henson's Creature Shop" to London, and also what the hell was Gonzo?).
Oh yeah, that Nutmeg you gave me from Fiji, lasted about two weeks, I cook with Nutmeg a lot. Again thanks for the Nutmeg.

Peter G said...

I too love those meatballs at IKEA...but yours don't come with furniture...how come?

Foodycat said...

I might have to have some sauteed mushrooms in there somewhere...

Kevin said...

This meatball meal looks great!

Natalie said...

This dish looks so cozy an wonderful. I could cuddle right into it (although that could get messy).

natalie said...

yum! i love swedish meatballs, and yours look delish!!

Lo said...

It's true. Swedish meatballs solve a world of ills... but, I'm with Syd. Pretty sure the borking is what did it. That will put a smile on your face any old time.

SOUP OF THE DAY said...

That sounds like a fine way to shake funk!

I totally agree with the nutmeg... it seems that when making these, you can just never have enough nutmeg in the meatballs. Every time I make them I think, hmm... needs more nutmeg. It just makes them unique.

Caviar and Codfish said...

MMM nutmeg meatballs. Love them. Especially since I'm claustrophobic and that day that I went to IKEA would've been the *most* horrific day of my life but for the meatballs.

Thanks.

Zen Chef said...

I have to admit i love those Ikea meatballs with lingonberries too but the drive and the lines are a pain in the ass. You did an awesome job with it.. but you already knew you were.. awesome, didn't you?

Maryann said...

This is one of my favorite dishes and yours looks so good! I actually love IKEA's furniture, but ixnay on their eatballsmay :)

Jen of A2eatwrite said...

These look fab, but I gotta tell you, my Swedish daughter would be appalled because you GOTTA brown them in butter.

Now THAT is off the hook. ;-)

Hungry Gal said...

found your site via tastespotting.

Dinner without a allen key. I like it.

Your writing style is hilarious. I haven't made Swedish meatballs in a long while... you've inspired me.

khemasanine said...

I've been a regular reader for some time now, and have held myself back from asking for your hand in marriage (it was very difficult when you made the poutine with sweet potato fries). The fact is that you've consistently hit my epicurial g-spot with every post. And on a super gloomy gray day Swedish meatballs are... just perfect. Sigh. I've asked my fiance if we can open up the relationship. I'll keep you posted on his response.

Bellini Valli said...

These are probably way better that what the Big Box of Swedish design is serving up in their restaurant.They have the right idea though. I head to Ikea to drool over storage and fold up chairs and will fight my way through the crowds to do so..wink..

Elra said...

Hey, thanks for the straight forward recipe. Now, I can skip the IKEA's meat ball. Ha ..ha..ha...
Cheers,
Elra

cook eat FRET said...

that loud sound?
that was the sound of my head hitting the keyboard when i passed out from an anxiety attack over the fact that i wanted this dish so bad...

heather as for pure cooking - you, zen chef and jen at last night's dinner - you're the cooks i wanta be...

you've no idea how amazing that sounds to me.

no
idea

Ken Albala said...

AH! I thought I was the only idiot who went to IKEA to eat the balls. BORK indeed! I swear I've never tried to make them though. Who would ever have thought of nutmeg? Once again Heather, you astound.

Ken

maggie said...

just got my first Cook's Illustrated...it had a long article about perfecting swedish meatballs. I'm no expert but yours look pretty good.

Heather said...

yummm. nutmeg makes so many savory things better! my italian grandma puts it in everything. the gravy sounds great!

Peter M said...

IKEA, I hate that they try & force one to go through the whole store and I've found the exits.

I like your "chop-chop" instructions to a straight-up, good ole Swedish Meatballsa'dish.

Heather said...

Courtney - The nutmeg is pretty much a necessity.

Syd - Glad I can warm your soul. Next time, I'll warm your cockles. ;)

Jube - I can never tell if you're making fun of me.

Fenavo - It's the Holy Trinity.

Nicebroom - Swedish FOBs are so cute. That's really cool that mine is similar to the real deal - I was just shooting from the hip on that one.

Ren - Your Swedish pot roast looks pretty good, actually. Steal away.

Danno! - That gigantic Fijian nutmeg was the best. I am totally out of mace, too, so we might need to go back.

Petah - I actually used some Ikea textile and an Ikea bowl in that photo. :P

Alicia - I thought about that too! But then I thought it would taste too much like beef Stroganov. :\

Kevs - Well, that's because it was!

Natalie - Still sounds like a party to me.

Natalie - They really did hit the spot. :)

Lo - 'Bork' is such a great way to say so many things.

Traci - The nutmeg does the trick, for sure. Such an under-appreciated spice.

Robin - I'm totally powerless against the happy, Scandinavian designs and sweet, sweet bargains. Powerless!

M. Zen - Oh, you just reminded me! I ran out of lingonberries, and was going to mention that I really love them on the meatballs.

Maryann - We have so much Ikea furniture it's not even funny.

Jen - Everything is better browned in butter, but this is still extremely tasty. :)

Hungry Gal - Who needs an allen wrench when you have bork, bork, bork? Thanks for the visit. :)

khemasanine - I guess if he says no, you can always buy him cooking lessons. ;) Thanks for the ego-boost.

Val - I'm always tempted to bury the rails of my shopping cart in someone's Achilles' tendon, but I refrain.

Elra - Ikea is for furniture and adorable napkins, not for lunch. Well, those 99c hot dogs aren't so bad.

Claudia - Aww! There, there. Don't you mean "no ikea"?

Ken! - Nutmeg is the missing link. It gives them that "Swedish" taste. Give 'em a shot! Unless you really just need a new coffee table.

Mags - Swedish meatballs don't really need a long article to perfect, but those Cooks Illustrated folks will always find a way.

Heather - Italians are great at adding sweet spices to savory dishes. Fennel seed is still one of my favorite secret weapons.

El Greco - If you hum "It's a Small World After All" and pretend you're in one of those on-rails zombie shooters, it's a lot more entertaining.

Jude said...

Pretty amazing how the Ikea parking lots always seem to be packed. Walking the length of a football field in this weather sucks.

Alex Rushmer said...

Love it. Consider this a Official Swedish Seal of Approval. Or an OSSOA, which sounds like the name of an IKEA kitchen trolley.

Mosby said...

As Nicebroom's sister, let me clarify: Mom's recipe is from McCalls, ca. 1968. See what happens when you don't teach your kids to cook? It should be noted that mom's meatballs do, in fact, rock and since she's Swedish, they're Swedish. QED.

Marc @ NoRecipes said...

Nicely done, and I suppose you can make a shit ton (I'm petitioning the ISO to get this added as an official unit of mass) and freeze them after roasting. Probably cheaper and definitely tastier than the ones frozen bags they sell at Ikea.

duodishes said...

Mmm, those meatballs look perfecto.

The Short (dis)Order Cook said...

Oh yum. I've made a couple of attempts at Swedish meatballs, but they always seem a bit inauthentic. Of course it doesn't help that I have to do them with turkey due to Sir Pickypants not being able to stomach real people's meat.

Brittany said...

you know whats crazy? I've never set foot in an Ikea in my life.
I have, of course, heard of the meatballs though.

Fuck Ikea. These look like they're prolly better. I'm gonna make em my damn self.

we are never full said...

god, this is the second swedish meatball recipe i've seen in the past week. it's as if my nana is being channeled thru you all. growing up, she used to be so annoyed that i would only acknowledge my italian heritage and never my swedish. she made awesome swedish meatballs but which had a weird, viscous-like sauce. whatever, it was good when i was little. but this is like for grown folks. nice.

J.Danger said...

totally awesome. Mine never come out right, so maybe your will!

E said...

Add a bit of allspice with the nutmeg for more Swedish authenticity. I have to agree with Jen of A2 that they should be browned in butter before going into the oven - use the drippings to make the roux...now I'm gonna have to make them more often than once a year (Xmas Eve) damn you evil temptress.

Megan said...

These look delicious! I actually just made Swedish meatballs last weekend! And they weren't the IKEA ones...

Cindy said...

Great post! I've made meatballs, I've made gravy and I've made noodles. I've just never put them all together. It was delicious and looked just like yours, down to the sprinkle of parsley. Thanks for the inspiration! I've never had Ikea's meatballs but will have to give them a try. I added mushrooms to my gravy.

Von said...

You make it sound so easy!

Cari Snell said...

Yum!!!!! Would love to feature this recipe on my site www.canigettherecipe.com with full credits and links back to your site! Please let me know if you are keen at carisnell@shaw.ca

Heidi said...

Even though this post is about a year old...and I just found it...it this has got to be one of the most entertaining, and tasty, foodie blogs I have found yet! And you can bet your ass I'm making these meatballs for dinner tonight!