Meatballs are a Swedish staple food – who hasn’t had them in IKEA? – but what doesn’t always become clear to foreigners is that Swedish people eat their meatballs in different ways. On the one hand you have the posh meatballs (homemade or restaurant ones) that you eat with potatoes, cream sauce and lingonberry jam, and on the other you have the cheap meatballs (readymade like the ones you get in IKEA) that are eaten with pasta and ketchup. (We do not usually have fries and meatballs, and if we do we definitely do not have that with cream sauce and lingonberry jam, like you can get in foreign IKEAs. Heresy!)
I’m not a big fan of ketchup and even less so of plain pasta with ketchup (that version is mainly for kids in schools) but the good, homemade meatballs with (preferably mashed) potatoes, cream sauce and lingonberry jam is hard to beat. I have had Italian meatballs in tomato sauce with pasta and that’s nice, but for me that’s not quite meatballs – it’s a different kind of dish.
So I don’t quite know what made me take the leap to make this dish. First of all I prefer my meatballs lean – I’ve grown up on moose mince ones! – and second, you can’t really have this with lingonberry jam. But I think it was the prunes that did it. I really like prunes, and I was excited by the thought of putting them in a cream sauce.
The recipe I used made the meatballs with veal mince, but they didn’t have that when I went to the supermarket, so I ended up getting lamb mince. I wanted to get something different than my usual lean beef mince, but I don’t like pork meatballs so I thought I’d try with lamb. I think fat-wise they turned out ok, and I don’t know what the fat difference is between lamb and veal, but if they have veal next time I might try it.
Ingredients (4 portions)
50 ml breadcrumbs
150 ml milk
250 ml single cream
50 ml milk
1 tbsp soy sauce
Pinch of cornflour
I start by putting the breadcrumbs in a large bowl and adding the (150 ml) milk, because they needs to swell – and preferably for about 10 minutes.
Prepare your potatoes as you wish (peeling or scrubbing or whatever is needed) and boil until soft.
When the breadcrumbs have soaked up all the milk, tip in the mince and season with some salt and pepper. Mix well (easiest done with your hands) and roll into balls. The size is up to you, but homemade meatballs are usually a bit larger than readymade ones.
Fry the meatballs in butter on high heat until browned (all around).
Take the meatballs out of the pan and set aside (in the oven on a low heat if you want them to keep warmer). Pour cream and milk into the same pan and stir. Add soy sauce and a bit of corn flour, and then the chopped up prunes. Leave to simmer.
If you want to you can also add your peas to the sauce, but I chose not to.
Also If you, like me, want mashed potatoes with this, just add a bit of milk and butter and mash to desired texture.