“There’s no more identifiably Swedish dish than good old Swedish meatballs. There are a few keys to a good meatball – steam the meatballs so they are tender, fry them in brown butter, then combine them with the sauce just at the last minute. They are perfect with pickled cucumber and lingonberry jam.” Adam Liaw, Destination Flavour Scandinavia
- 105 g (1½ cups) loosely packed fresh breadcrumbs
- 200 ml thickened cream
- 250 g pork mince
- 500 g beef mince
- 1 onion, finely grated
- ½ tsp grated nutmeg
- 1½ tsp salt, plus extra to season
- ¼ tsp ground white pepper
- 100 g butter
- 35 g (¼ cup) plain flour
- 250 ml (1 cup) beef stock
- lingonberry jam, to serve (see Note)
Pickled cucumber (pressgurka)
- 1 Lebanese cucumber, very thinly sliced
- ¼ tsp salt
- ½ tsp caster sugar
- 1 tbsp white vinegar
- 800 g peanut fingerling potatoes or other floury potatoes, peeled
- 1 tbsp salt
- 200 g butter
- 250 ml (1 cup) milk
- sea salt flakes, to season
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Chilling time 1 hour
To make the pickled cucumber, place all the ingredients into a zip-lock bag and seal, removing as much air as possible. Massage the bag to combine the ingredients, then refrigerate with a heavy weight on top of the bag for at least 1 hour.
Preheat the oven to 200ºC.
To make the meatballs, place the breadcrumbs in a large bowl and pour over 2-3 tablespoons of the cream, then allow to soak for a few minutes. Add the pork and beef, onion, nutmeg, salt and pepper and stir to combine. Using slightly damp hands, shape the mixture into ping-pong-sized balls and place on a large baking paper-lined baking tray. Pour a little water into the base of the tray and place into the oven for 10-15 minutes or until the meatballs are just cooked through.
Meanwhile, for the mashed potatoes, place the potatoes and salt into a large saucepan, cover with cold water and bring to the boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium and cook for 12-15 minutes or a small sharp knife inserted into the potatoes withdraws easily. Drain the potatoes and return to the saucepan over very low heat for 1 minute. Turn off the heat and allow to stand for 5 minutes to allow the extra steam to evaporate.Mash the potatoes very well, then add the butter and gradually stir in the milk until combined. Season well with salt, then set aside and keep warm.
Melt half the butter in a large, deep frying pan over medium heat. Cook the meatballs, shaking the pan regularly for about 3-5 minutes or until caramelised and the butter is browned. Remove the meatballs from the pan, set aside and keep warm. Do not wash the pan.
Return the pan to medium heat, add the remaining butter and scatter over the flour, stirring for 2-3 minutes. Add the stock and bring to a simmer, scraping the bottom of the pan. Simmer for 2 minutes, then stir in the remaining cream. Season to taste, then then simmer just until slightly thickened.
Divide the mashed potato and meatballs among plates, pour over the sauce and serve with pickled cucumber and lingonberry jam.
• You can find lingonberry jam at gourmet food shops or IKEA. Alternatively, you can use redcurrant jelly, cranberry sauce or even fig paste.
Photography, styling and food preparation by Adam Liaw.
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