Friday, January 14, 2011

Cranberry Sauce and Swedish Meatballs

We don't have cable TV at home.  Yup, we only watched four out of over 50 channels:   Discovery Channel, Food Channel, History Channel, and National Geographic Channel.  On top of that, the only time we watch TV is probably around meal time.  So we've cut off cable service.  Since then, PBS and Create are almost permanently on our TV when its on.  Well, except when we're watching our favorite dramas at night or during World Cup season.  hehe...  Anyway, when I was tuning in to Create one morning, I saw this lady making Swedish meatballs.  My mind instantly skidded to a halt in front of the blue and yellow building of Ikea.  Sadly, there are no Ikeas in Colorado, but not for long though.... heeeeh!  A new Ikea is coming to town this fall.  Yay!

Now, I haven't had Swedish meatballs for quite a while now, and was just missing it quite a bit.  The show must have read my mind.  Seriously!  Although, I must say that as I was getting ready to jot down the ingredients they used, I realized that the ingredients were (to me) "some" this and "a little" that.  I gave up trying to write anything down, and went online instead to look up some recipes.  I did finish watching the show to learn the basic process and techniques used for the dish.  After comparing some online recipes, I decided on Scandinavian Cooking's recipe.

Now, the other dilemma I had, was the sauce.  I like pairing the meatballs with lingonberry sauce.  Again, sadly, no Ikea, thus no lingonberry sauce.  sigh...  I was almost giving up and going to make a brown sauce for it instead, when Eureka!  Cranberries!  Cranberries went on sale after new year and I got a bag of it sitting in my fridge.  Gave myself a little imaginary pat on the back, and went straight to the kitchen, feeling pretty happy with myself.  Maybe even humming a happy little tune on the way down the staircase...

1- You can either choose to pan fry it or oven bake the meatballs.  According to Scandinavian Cooking's article, pan frying will give you a "better result".  I baked them this time, and it came out pretty alright.
2- If you are baking, remember to adjust your baking time to complement your meatball size.  I made two batches, the first batch was about 1-1/4" in diameter and the second batch was smaller at about 3/4" diameter.  The first batch came out okay at about 13 minutes in the oven.  While the second batch, came out too dry because I forgot to readjust the baking time.
3- If you made too much, just freeze them up and save them in airtight containers or ziplock bags.  Heat up the meatballs when you need some Scandinavian Cooking suggests that the meatballs be reheated for 10-15 minutes at 375°F "in a single layer on an ungreased rimmed baking sheet".
4- Certain recipes will call for a mix of beef, pork, and/or veal.  You can decide on the types of mixture you prefer.  However, this meatball recipe is supposed to be quite tender.  So I would suggest trying to avoid using meats that are too lean.  
5- Using fresh bread as filler gives a pretty good result, so if you have some fresh breads, use those if you have them, otherwise, bread crumbs, flour, or mashed potatoes works too.
6- When baking, use a baking tray with rims, not baking sheets, because there will be some liquid bubbling out during the baking process.
6- If you're making them at the same time, start with the cranberry sauce, and while it's simmering and cooling down, make the meatballs.

Swedish Meatballs (slightly adapted from this recipe)

1lb minced meat (pork, beef, and/or veal)
1 egg
1/2 cup half and half (milk, cream, or water is also fine)
1 cup torn bread or mashed potatoes, or 1/2 cup bread crumbs or all purpose flour
pinch of salt and pepper to taste
1/2 onion, finely minced
mustard to taste (about 1/8 tsp)

Mix all ingredients together until well-mixed, then form into balls of about 1-1/2 inch diameter.
Pan fry over medium high heat in a little oil until browned on all sides.
Place the meatballs about 1 to 1-1/2 inch apart on parchment lined baking tray, and bake in 450°F oven for about 13 minutes.

Cranberry Sauce

1 bag  (12 oz) cranberries
1-3/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup water
1 cinnamon stick (~2 inches long)
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
Rinds and juice from 1 orange
Combine all ingredients in a medium sauce pan.
Boil over medium high heat for about 2 minutes, stirring constantly.
Reduce heat to low, and simmer for about 10-15 minutes until thickened.
Remove from heat and cool on cooling rack.

Enjoy and hopefully you'll enjoy this recipe as much as I did ^.^


  1. Looks great, glad you had your craving satisfied!

  2. Hey there! Glad to know that i pumped the bugs out of you! And yes, i'm glad Lester shared your blog on his trial to make Bak Kwa. Hahaha keep up the flaming good work!