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sweden

Swedish Meatballs

Swedish Meatballs

 

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While traveling I was always seeking out food specific to the country.  One in particular that I was thrilled to get to try was Swedish Meatballs at a traditional restaurant called Bullen in Malmo, Sweden.  It was cold outside and these meatballs warmed me up instantly and became one of my favorite meals of my trip.  So I reached out to my sister's boyfriend and asked for a good meatball recipe.  He sent me one in Swedish naturally, but since Google translated 1 pinch of white pepper to 1 cup of white pepper, I had to reference a couple other recipes to make sure it was accurate.  These are the three recipes that I used to create my meatballs:

  • https://receptfavoriter.se/recept/koettbullar.html 
  • https://www.saveur.com/article/Recipes/Swedish-Meatballs-With-Mashed-Potatoes
  • https://addapinch.com/swedish-meatballs-recipe/

INGREDIENTS:

POTATOES:

  • 4-5 russet potatoes peeled and chopped into large chunks
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 8 tbsps butter (I used salted)

MEATBALLS:

  • 3 slices of bread, crust removed (I used Sourdough because it's my favorite)
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1 lb ground pork
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 small yellow onion
  • 1/2 tsp caraway seed
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp white pepper
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tbsps butter(only for cooking)

GRAVY:

  • 2 tbsps unsalted butter
  • 3 tbsps flour
  • 2 cups beef broth
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp thyme
  • 1 tsp black pepper 

SIDES:

  • Lingonberry Jam (or strawberry or raspberry, but Lingonberry is best!  Found it at Whole Foods)
  • Pickled Cucumber (I'm not sure if this is actually traditional since I didn't see it with any other recipe, but they served it at the restaurant and it helped to lighten the very heavy meal so I added it to my recipe)

ASSEMBLY:

So I kind of did all of this simultaneously, but let me explain the separate parts and you can choose to overlap or do independently.

POTATOES:

  1.  Place them in a large pot covered at least by an inch of water and bring to a boil.  Cook until the potatoes are tender.  
  2.  After they are tender, place into a food processor and run on low until your potatoes are the smoothness you prefer
  3. Bring cream and butter to a simmer in a small sauce pan
  4. Remove potatoes to a large bowl and mix in the cream and butter until the potatoes are the creaminess you prefer

MEATBALLS:

  1. Shred your bread and place in a bowl with heavy cream to soak
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  3. Dice the onion into as small of pieces as possible, using a tiny bit of butter saute the onions until golden
  4. In a large bowl combine all the ingredients and softened bread
  5. Using your hands, mix thoroughly 
  6. Taking about 2 tbsps at a time, roll the meat into balls and place on a plate to be ready to cooked (Should make about 40-50 balls depending on the size)
  7. Heat a frying pan with 1/2 tbsp butter until butter starts to brown
  8. In small batches brown the meatballs, don't worry about cooking all the way through (add more butter as needed)
  9. After browned place the meatballs into a large baking pan
  10. Bake meatballs for about 10-15 to cook through
  11. Once done, add them to your gravy

GRAVY:

  1. In a large sauce pan on medium heat whisk flour and butter until mixed and browned
  2. Slowly mix in the broth and milk 
  3. Add salt, thyme and pepper and let simmer for a few minutes to thicken
  4. Once at your desired thickness, add your meatballs

Pretty straight forward but on one plate put a large scoop of potato with a well pressed into it to add the meatballs and gravy.  On the sides add the Pickled Cucumbers and Lingonberry Jam.  I strongly recommend putting a bit of all of it onto one fork and eating in one giant bite, just like thanksgiving

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Swedish Meatball Dumplings (Kroppkakor)

Swedish Meatball Dumplings (Kroppkakor)

One of my goals was to eat dumplings from every country.  But I quickly failed this goal in Sweden when I took a train 40 minutes out of Stockholm to find the other Kroppkakor shop to find that it was closed for summer.  This is how I felt about it:

 

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Anyways, while making Swedish Meatballs I realized that I had all the fixings to turn it into Kroppkakor, so decided to do a variation on them with meatball filling instead of bacon.  So this recipe is a combination of the three from the other dish as well as one from Martha Stewart for the actual assembly of the dumpling

  • https://receptfavoriter.se/recept/koettbullar.html 
  • https://www.saveur.com/article/Recipes/Swedish-Meatballs-With-Mashed-Potatoes
  • https://addapinch.com/swedish-meatballs-recipe/
  • https://www.marthastewart.com/1142474/kroppkakor

INGREDIENTS:

POTATOE DOUGH:

  • 4-5 russet potatoes peeled and chopped into large chunks
  • 1.5 cup flour
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3 egg yolks

MEATBALL FILLING:

These are the same ingredients as for the regular meatballs, I used as much filling as I could for the dumplings and then turned the rest into meatballs that way I got some of both!

  • 3 slices of bread, crust removed (I used Sourdough because it's my favorite)
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1 lb ground pork
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 small yellow onion
  • 1/2 tsp caraway seed
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp white pepper
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tbsps butter(only for cooking)

GRAVY:

  • 2 tbsps unsalted butter
  • 3 tbsps flour
  • 2 cups beef broth
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp thyme
  • 1 tsp black pepper 

SIDES:

  • Lingonberry Jam (or strawberry or raspberry, but Lingonberry is best!  Found it at Whole Foods)
  • Pickled Cucumber (I'm not sure if this is actually traditional since I didn't see it with any other recipe, but they served it at the restaurant and it helped to lighten the very heavy meal so I added it to my recipe)

ASSEMBLY:

You will want to do the potatoes at least a few hours(maybe the evening) before you prepare the kroppkakor so they have time to cool.

POTATOE DOUGH:

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  1.  Place them in a large pot covered at least by an inch of water and bring to a boil.  Cook until the potatoes are tender.  
  2.  After they are tender, place into a food processor and run on low until your potatoes are very smooth
  3. Place into the fridge so they can cool
  4. Remove potatoes to a large bowl and mix in the flour, salt and egg and combine with your hands until you have your dough
  5. Roll into logs about 1.5 inches thick
  6. Slice into 2 inch pieces and roll each piece into a ball

FILLING:

  1. Shred your bread and place in a bowl with heavy cream to soak
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees for any leftover meatballs
  3. Dice the onion into as small of pieces as possible, using a tiny bit of butter saute the onions until golden
  4. In a large bowl combine all the ingredients and softened bread
  5. Using your hands, mix thoroughly 

ASSEMBLY:

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  1. Take each ball you have created and flatten or create a large crater
  2. Add about a tablespoon of meatball filling and close the dough around it
  3. Using your hands roll it around until completely smooth
  4. Repeat until you have used all the potato
  5. Once this is done if you have leftover meat, you can follow the directions for baking the meatballs in the other recipe
  6. Boil a large pot of water and place about 5 into water at time
  7. Once they have risen to the top (about five minutes) drain them on a paper towel
  8. In a large frying pan heat up your butter and add the kroppkakor to the pan, turning to brown both sides
  9. Remove to a paper towel to drain excess butter
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GRAVY:

  1. In a large sauce pan on medium heat whisk flour and butter until mixed and browned
  2. Slowly mix in the broth and milk 
  3. Add salt, thyme and pepper and let simmer for a few minutes to thicken
  4. Once at your desired thickness, place into a dish for dipping
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This is a step up from the swedish meatballs because the meat is already inside of the potato so you just need to dip it in the gravy and lingonberry jam and you've got a party in your mouth!

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Pickled Cucumbers

Pickled Cucumbers

These were served on the side with my Swedish Meatballs so I decided to figure out how to make them myself.  Turns out they are super easy to make and even easier to eat!

INGREDIENTS:

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  • 2 small cucumbers sliced as thinly as possible
  • 1/2 red pepper sliced as thinly as possible
  • 2 scallions diced
  • 1/2 jalapeno (totally optional if you like to add spice, I also kept the seeds to add more spice)
  • 1 1/2 cup water
  • 3/4 cup vinegar
  • 4 tsps salt
  • 3 tsps sugar
  • 2 cloves garlic (optional)

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. In a large jar with a lid add water, vinegar, salt and sugar
  2. Close the jar and shake vigorously until the brine is mixed
  3. Add your vegetables to the brine until completely covered, if you have too much brine just pour a little bit out, or add to a second jar with some of your vegetables
  4. Close jar and let sit at least a few hours or overnight 
  5. Serve as a side to meatballs or eat plain!  
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Cardamom Buns (Kardemummabullar)

Cardamom Buns (Kardemummabullar)

When I was in Sweden I was told about "Fika" which turns out to be the best thing ever because it's getting coffee and pastries, and the pastries in Sweden are delicious!  I wasn't sure how I felt about cardamom, but after eating these every day for about a week I definitely fell in love!  My sister's boyfriend shared a recipe for Swedish meatballs and I am going to use the recipe he sent me for the buns as well, you can check out the original here:

https://nadelundgabel.wordpress.com/2014/09/03/the-joy-of-fika-swedish-kardemummabullar/

I adjusted the amounts from metric for us Americans who are inept at weighing ingredients... hope they are all accurate!

INGREDIENTS:

DOUGH:

  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 envelope dry active yeast
  • 3.5 cups flour
  • 5 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 tsp whole cardamom seeds
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 5 tablespoons butter room temperature

FILLING:

  • 4.25 tablespoons butter room temperature
  • 2.5 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1.5 tsps whole cardamom
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon

TOPPING:

  • 2.25 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1/10 cup water
  • 1 overflowing tsp brown sugar
  • 1tsp cardamom seeds

INSTRUCTIONS:

First thing for everything, put all of the cardamom together and grind using mortal and pestle until as fine as you can get it.  You should add some sugar as the crystals will help to make it easier to grind.

DOUGH:

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  1. Heat the milk until lukewarm and then stir in the yeast until dissolved
  2. In a large bowl mix together the flour, sugar, cardamom, and salt
  3. Stir in the yeast and milk
  4. Slowly add the butter in small cubes until dough is formed
  5. Knead for about 5-10 minutes
  6. Cover with a towel and let sit for 40 minutes

FILLING:

  1. In a small bowl combine butter, sugar, cardamom and cinnamon
  2. Stir until you have a nice paste

ASSEMBLY:

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  1. On a large rectangular cutting board (or marble slab in my case) roll out the dough
  2. Using a spatula or spoon spread the filling all over the dough 
  3. Divide the rectangle into three and fold the two parts on the side over to the middle so there are three layers of dough and filling
  4. Cut these into 2 inch strips
  5. Now take each strip and cut down the middle almost to the end
  6. Twist each piece outward and fold/braid them into a bun
  7. Cover and let rise for another 30 minutes
  8. Preheat oven to 425 degrees

TOPPING:

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  1. In a small pot heat sugar and water until dissolved into a syrup
  2. Mix sugar and cardamom in a small bowl
  3. Once buns are done, using a pastry brush cover the buns with the syrup and sprinkle with sugar and cardamom mix
  4. Enjoy!
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