If you can believe it, my friend Debbie and I started cooking and freezing hors d’oeuvres for the holidays and the clock hadn’t yet struck December. We usually make crab cakes, caramelized onion squares and lamb meatballs but this year we wanted to change things up a bit. So we consulted Cooks Illustrated for their Swedish Meatball recipe and gave it a go!
My poor Kitchen Aid mixer, which had never before worked its charms on anything non-sweet, gave a good beating to a pork and beef mixture. Using a paddle to mix meatballs was a first, but we trust Cooks Illustrated which suggested it as an ingenious way to distribute the fat in the pork and beef mixture. So, we introduced my mixer to raw meat and made a classic Swedish meatball filling. I have to confess I was a bit skeeved when I used it for chocolate chip batter the next day. It was hard to erase the raw meat image from my memory.
With well moistened hands and a bowl of water close by, we sat across from one another and chatted away at my saran wrap covered kitchen table rolling cocktail sized balls. I took note that Debbie’s meatballs weren’t quite as uniform as mine which caused my art teacher friend to get a bit defensive suggesting that it’s the imperfections which add character to our work. I forgot who she was quoting but I got the gist. It’s just that mine are never as pretty as hers and I felt a little satisfaction in my perfect little meatballs. And she just laughed so all was ok.
I left her at the kitchen table to begin the frying process, which took some attention so as not to splatter grease all about my kitchen. She continued to roll while I fried and we talked about our respective holiday plans. Once we were done, she created the rich sauce using the pan drippings, chicken stock and cream. We evenly split the bounty and ended up with 80 or so meatballs each. When my 8th grader came home from school, he scarfed 8 down before I had a chance to hide them in the freezer. From the look on his face, I think we have a darn good appetizer for our holiday.
What’s next? Today we’re making crab cakes, maybe a southwestern one this year instead of our usual Asian flavors. The two-bite empanadas are also on our list. If you have any suggestions, send them our way.
I found a link for the recipe online. It’s not mine, but it’s a good one, so make sure you take a look at the recipe for these delicious Swedish Meatballs