The year I put my foot down and told everyone that we were staying home for Christmas (because really, what is the point of having kids, if I can’t enjoy watching them tumble downstairs on Christmas morning, and let them stay in their pajamas until dinner is served), I introduced a new Christmas Eve tradition, a simple dinner of Swedish meatballs with boiled potatoes, cream sauce, broccoli and Ligonberry preserves.
In the past, the meatballs, sauce and preserves came from the Swedish Market at Ikea, but this year I decided we were going to make the meatballs and sauce from scratch. My mom gave me an old Time Life cookbook with authentic Swedish recipes, but I decided instead to use this recipe found in The Boston Globe on Dec 14, 2010 (serves 6)
Use torn bread cubes in place of bread crumbs to make a delicate meatball which absorbs more sauce.
- 1 cup (about 4 slices) torn bread cubes
- ⅔ cup milk
- 1 pound ground beef
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 1 egg
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
- ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon ground allspice
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Canola oil (for the pan)
1. Set the oven at 450. Have on hand a large nonstick skillet with an ovenproof handle or a cast iron skillet. Place a wire rack inside a rimmed baking sheet.
2. In a bowl, combine bread and milk.
3. In another bowl, gently mix beef, onion, egg, parsley, nutmeg, allspice, salt, pepper, and bread mix.
4. Coat the skillet lightly with oil. With wet hands, form 30 small meatballs and place them in the skillet.
5. Bake for 20 minutes, turning once or twice, or until well browned.
6. Transfer the meatballs to the rack to drain. Use the same skillet to make the sauce.
- 1 teaspoon canola oil
- 1 small onion, finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon flour
- 1 cup beef broth
- ½ cup heavy cream
- Salt and pepper, to taste
1. In the skillet over medium high heat, heat the oil. Add the onion and cook, stirring often, for 5 minutes, or until beginning to brown. Stir in the flour, and cook for 1 minute.
2. Stir in the broth and cream. Bring to a boil. Add meatballs; lower the heat, and simmer for 20 minutes or until the sauce thickens.
3. Taste for seasoning, and add more salt and pepper, if you like.
Karoline Boehm Goodnick
Inspired by The Meal Makeover Moms, I skipped the heavy cream and instead created a roux using flour, butter and milk to create the cream sauce.
Sophie and I spent the afternoon, in our matching aprons (thanks mom!) making dinner. While some of my meatballs fell apart in the sauce, we all agreed that the home made meatballs were much better than the frozen version, and yes, both the kids ate them.
New Year’s Eve is approaching and I’m thinking that Swedish Meatballs to mark the last night of the year might make for another new tradition.
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