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Friday, August 15, 2014

Scandinavian Meatballs 
With Creamy Dill Sauce
I don't usually make this dish until it's cold outside, but I've been thinking of these last couple of days incessantly. So tonight I broke down and cooked 'em up. If you check the internet for these, there's a lot of different sauces for these delectable meatballs. This is very close to the recipe that my Mom has made forever. Same basic taste, thickness, but I know it's not the same ingredients or cooking method, and that's ok. Hers are almost as good as mine! : D

I like to keep the meatball mixture pretty simple, and excel in the flavor of the sauce. Since these meatballs are simmering in the sauce you'll find the pairing to be wonderful. My sauce has a touch of nutmeg, (or substitute Mace - not the protection spray however!) that itty-bitty-bit of nutmeg just makes the sauce even though it sounds odd to add it.

A couple years ago I catered a Christmas Party for a local Real Estate office. These were one of the choices of the main dish category. Everything was setup and ready to go, then the office manager came out of her office literally lead by the enticing aromas, and the visual display of the tables. She eyed the platters of my Chicken Salad Sliders, the Swedish Meatballs, the desserts...

When we were cleaning up after a very successful holiday party, employee after employee came up to get my business cards and exclaim very happily that they loved, loved, loved the Swedish Meatballs, the Chicken Sliders, the desserts... ; }

I happily left the remaining delectables for them to fight over.

So today it's   Scandinavian Meatballs,

Meatball Ingredients:
1 lb. 80/20% ground beef (yes you can use leaner meat, just remember that some fat adds some necessary flavor, and these are simmered to cook in broth, not fried)
1 cup GF bread crumbs (I used two pieces of focaccia bread made from my "WOW Pizza" crust.)
1 large egg
2 Tablespoons milk
2 Tablespoons Lawrey's Seasoned salt
Kosher salt and pepper  *if using table salt cut amount ihalf
3-4 cup water
1 teaspoon salt

Sauce Ingredients:
14.5 ounce can chicken or beef broth
12 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1 Tablespoon dried dill
1 Tablespoon dried parsley
1/2 cup sour cream
1/4 cup water
2 Tablespoons tapioca or corn starch
salt and pepper to taste if needed as there's a lot of salt in the broth
Meatball Method:                                                                      
1. Break apart small focaccia bread or any other type of bread (about 5 ounces) into inch size pieces, and grind in your food processor into small pea sized pieces in your food processor.

2. In a medium bowl mix the ground beef, bread crumbs, egg, and milk, by gently squeezing the ingredients together using your hand. Don't over mix them or they will be tough and chewy. Using a portion scoop or Tablespoon, portion the meat mixture into two Tablespoon portions, roll gently into balls and set aside. If the mix is sticky, spray your hands with nonstick spray.
3. Bring the water, and salt to a boil  in a medium size saucepan and add a third of the meatballs. Turn the heat down to simmer, and cook for five minutes, remove the meatballs to a medium-large bowl and cover with foil. Repeat for the remaining 2/3 meatballs.

Sauce Method:
4. In a separate medium-large saucepan bring the chicken or beef broth to a boil. Turn heat down to simmer and add the cream cheese, salt and herbs, stirring occasionally to break up clumps of cheese. With a wire whisk, beat the sauce mixture until as smooth as possible. While the sauce is simmering, stir it occasionally to prevent it from scorching. 

5. Mix the 1/4 cup of water with the cornstarch/tapioca starch, pour it into the cream sauce with one hand while whisking with the other hand. This will thicken considerably, which is really what you want. Ideally the sauce should be thick enough to coat the meatballs and adhere to them without completely sliding off. You can use the "metal spoon" method - dip a metal spoon into the sauce. It's the correct thickness when you can run a finger down the middle of the sauce on the back of the spoon and the "runnel" stays - meaning that the sauce does not fill back in.
6. If your sauce has any lumps you can pour it into a fine mesh sieve, which will catch the unsightly blobs of cream cheese, (even top chefs do this step!) Strain this mixture through the fine mesh. You will see that a lot of the herbs are stuck inside, but it's okay really, enough pieces will pass through and will give you nice little flecks, not to mention that they've already flavored the sauce. Discard the lumpy stuff. Of course you can add more herbs to the finished sauce. We just happen to love it with or without flecks, you make the choice.
7. Once all of the meatballs are cooked, add them all into the sauce. These are fabulous served over rice, pasta, along side potatoes, or served a la cart for a buffet dish. If you have a chafing dish with a sterno type heating device or electric, that's perfect for keeping these warm for parties.