Swedish meatballs

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uppladdat: 2009-11-25
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Swedish meatballs

Swedish meatballs are probably one of the best-known Swedish cooking specialties, definitely a necessity on the 'smörgåsbord'.  Norway, Denmark and Finland have their own versions, too. Every Scandinavian cookbook has at least one recipe, usually several. The varieties are staggering to think about!  Why so many? How should you pick one?

Remember that meatballs were probably a way to use up leftovers, and then the mystery of all the different recipes clears up.  The cook used the meat that was on hand, a filler that was available, and ingredients for the sauce based on not only regional or family preference, but what was handy.                            Some recipes call for half beef, half pork. Other recipes have half veal, half pork.   Some have one-third each of pork, beef and veal.  If you have dietary or political objections to any of the meats, substitute others.  Once, as a way to include a vegetarian friend in a 'smörgåsbord' I was serving, I made a recipe using only a vegetarian substitute for ground beef (and only vegetable oil, no dairy or meat products in the sauce). It wasn't great, but it wasn't bad, either.

For flavoring, some recipes use nutmeg and dry mustard for flavoring, others use minced onions and allspice, others use thyme and marjoram.  White pepper is a common ingredient. I once made them with only minced capers for flavoring, and loved it.

Then you'll want to choose oven-frying or pan-frying.  I think that oven-frying is a lot easier, but pan-frying gives a better result.  I choose oven-frying when I'm short on time and patience.                             Sauces? Some prefer a brown gravy, others a white sauce.  Sour cream mixed with a bit of pan drippings tastes great. Gjetost (goat cheese) with some parsley or dill in the white sauce or sour cream makes a tangy treat.

A meatball is a ball of ground meat and other ingredients, such as bread or breadcrumbs, minced onion, various spices, and possibly eggs, rolled together by hand, and cooked by frying, baking, steaming, or braising in sauce.                                                                                                                                          There are many kinds of meatball recipes using different kinds of meats and spices. While some meatballs are mostly made of meat and ingredients to cement the ball, others may include other ingredients. How one makes meatballs depends as much on one's cultural background as on individual taste. There are even "meatless" meatballs to satisfy vegetarian palates.

Meatballs across various cultures

  • In Afghanistan, meatballs are used as a traditional dish with homemade soups and now meatballs are grilled on top of pizza.
  • Albanian fried meatballs (Qofte të fërguara) include feta cheese.
  • In Austria, fried meatballs are called Fleischlaibchen or Fleischlaberl.
  • In Belgium, meatballs are called ballekes or bouletten in Flanders and Brussels and boulettes or boulets in Wallonia. They are typically prepared with tomato sauce or a gravy and served with french fries, potato croquettes or steamed potatoes. Small meat balls are often added as a garnish to tomato soup.
  • In Bulgaria, meatballs are called 'kyufte' and are usually made of a mixture of beef and pork with breadcrumbs and sliced onions. Many other variations exist including different kinds of meat and chopped vegetables.
  • Chinese meatballs (specifically, a dish common in Shanghai cuisine) are most often made of pork and are usually steamed or boiled, either as-is, or with the addition of soy sauce. There are meatballs called Lion's heads. These can range in size from about 5 cm in diameter to about 10 cm. Smaller varieties, called pork balls, are used in soups. A Cantonese variant, the steamed meatball, is made of beef and served as a dim sum dish. A similar dish is called the beef ball and the fish ball is yet another variety made from pulverized fish.
  • Danish meatballs are known as frikadeller and are typically fried, and they are usually made out of ground pork, veal, onions, eggs, salt and pepper, these are formed into balls and flattened somewhat, so they are pan ready.
  • In Finland meatballs (lihapullat) are made with ground beef or a mix of ground beef and pork, or even with ground reindeer meat, mixed with breadcrumbs soaked in milk and finely chopped onions. They are seasoned with white pepper and salt. Meatballs are traditionally served with whopper gravy, boiled potatoes (or mashed potatoes), lingonberry jam, and sometimes pickled cucumber.
  • In Germany, the most famous meatballs are Königsberger Klopse which contain anchovy or salted herring and are eaten with caper sau...

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Inactive member [2009-11-25]   Swedish meatballs
Mimers Brunn [Online]. https://mimersbrunn.se/article?id=58403 [2024-07-22]

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