The final recipe for our first World Bento from Scandinavia is Swedish meatballs. You cannot get more Swedish than IKEA and Swedish meatballs. And for those of you who do not know, IKEA’s cafe serves some pretty decent meatballs. We obviously prefer making our own at home because you can control the quality of the ingredients, but if you are at IKEA, and feeling hungry, grab some as a snack. IKEA’s little “grocery” and cafe section also serves some pretty delightful Nordic (and inexpensive) treats, that are worth a try if you are thinking of creating your own Scandinavian bento at home.
Kids generally love meatballs and they are easy to make “international”, and hence use the humble meatball as a vehicle to introduce the little ones to different flavors (and the world). I make a rather delicious and often-requested Indian kofta (meatball) curry. Then there is the “ever popular” Italian/American spaghetti and meatballs (“pasketti and eatballs” as we used to call them when the munchkin was younger). The Middle East has a whole host of kofta (meatball) recipes. Check out this article from the Huffington Post on 15 International Twists On Meatball Recipes for inspiration. I am envisioning an International Meatball Party and perhaps even a “meatball swap”! 🙂
Swedish Meatballs – adapted from Alton Brown
- 2 slices fresh white bread
- 1/4 cup milk
- 3 tablespoons clarified butter, divided (used regular butter)
- 1/2 cup finely chopped onion
- A pinch plus 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 3/4 pound ground chuck (used just beef and you can substitute with turkey)
- 3/4 pound ground pork
- 2 large egg yolks
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 3 cups beef broth (used chicken broth)
- 1/4 cup heavy cream
- Preheat oven to 200 degrees F.
- Tear the bread into pieces and place in a small mixing bowl along with the milk. Set aside.
- In a 12-inch straight sided saute pan over medium heat, melt 1 tablespoon of the butter. Add the onion and a pinch of salt and sweat until the onions are soft. Remove from the heat and set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the bread and milk mixture, ground chuck, pork, egg yolks, 1 teaspoon of kosher salt, black pepper, allspice, nutmeg, and onions. Beat on medium speed for 1 to 2 minutes. (we did this by hand to save ourselves some washing up)
- Make tablespoon size meatballs and place on a sheet pan
- Heat the remaining butter in the saute pan over medium-low heat. Add the meatballs and saute until golden brown on all sides, about 7 to 10 minutes. Remove the meatballs to an ovenproof dish using a slotted spoon and place in the warmed oven. Do not overcrowd pan.
- Once all of the meatballs are cooked and in the oven, decrease the heat to low and add the flour to the pan or skillet. Whisk until lightly browned, approximately 1 to 2 minutes. Gradually add the beef stock and whisk until sauce begins to thicken. Add the cream and continue to cook until the gravy reaches the desired consistency. Remove the meatballs from the oven, cover with the gravy and serve.