Thursday, January 22, 2009

Swedish Meatballs

When I decided to cook the short ribs last week, The Spouse asked me what my goals were for the Cook's Illustrated subscription. I thought about half a second and then said "To try and make every recipe in them. I want to test America's Test Kitchen."

The only problem I have with ATK is, frankly, they use high and full-fat ingredients. The original recipe for this called for heavy cream, ground pork, ground beef, a ton of vegetable oil for frying, blah blah. I don't cook like that because we don't eat stuff like that.

So, this recipe is a slimmed-down version of the original. I substituted ground turkey for the ground pork and ground beef. I used skim milk instead of cream. I ALSO doubled the recipe for the meatballs and reserved half for the Italian Wedding Soup that I'll be making this weekend - which means I also eliminated the brown sugar from the meatballs. I also did not use milk, brown sugar or lemon juice in the sauce.

Another big change was the method of cooking. I'm usually not a "fussy" chef - flip once halfway thru and be done with it. However, when I tried the recommended cooking directions, I ended up with flat pancakes, not balls. So what I ended up doing was constantly going around the pan in a circle, flipping and turning the meatballs in order to get them to retain their shape.

IMO, even with using extra-lean ground turkey breast, the meatballs were delightfully springy and moist. Nothing was missed by using leaner types of meat.

Swedish Meatballs

2 large eggs
1/2 cup milk
2 large slice sandwich bread , crusts removed and bread torn into 1-inch pieces
2 lbs ground turkey
1 large onion, grated
1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground allspice
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1/4 tsp garlic powder
3 tsp table salt
2 tsp baking powder
olive oil as needed

1 tbsp unsalted butter
1 tbsp unbleached all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
salt and pepper to taste

Whisk egg and milk together in medium bowl. Stir in bread and set aside. Beat half the turkey, onion, nutmeg, allspice, pepper, salt, and baking powder until smooth and pale, about 2 minutes. Meanwhile, mash bread mixture until no large dry bread chunks remain; add bread mixture to turkey mix and beat until well combined. Add remaining turkey and mix until just incorporated. Form meat mixture into 1-inch round meatballs.

Heat a pan over medium heat; add oil and heat until shimmery. Add meatballs in single layer and saute, flipping each meatball several times to brown on all sides and retain their shape. When meatballs are done, remove from pan and place on a plate covered in paper towel to drain. Set aside half the meatballs for freezing or later use.

Pour off any remaining oil in pan and discard, leaving any browned bits behind. Return pan to medium-high heat and add butter. When butter is melted, add flour and whisk constantly until flour is light brown, about 30 seconds. Slowly whisk in broth, scraping pan bottom to loosen browned bits. Bring to simmer and cook until sauce is reduced to about 1 cup, about 5 minutes.

Add the remaining meatballs to sauce and simmer, turning occasionally, until heated through, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, and serve.


Joelen said...

I love swedish meatballs - such a comfort food!

bensbaby116 said...

I have made swedish meatballs before, but they definitely weren't this healthy! I'll have to try your recipe sometime. Thanks for posting!