On top of spag-EH-tti…..

Well, there’s no spaghetti in Scandinavia, but there are PLENTY of meatballs and meatball recipes. There are many variations on the Swedish meatball theme, and they’re not only made in Sweden, but also Denmark, Finland and Norway.  Everyone seems to have their favorite mixture of meat components (mainly beef, pork, or veal) and seasonings. They’re often covered in a sauce made with cream or sour cream and eaten along with mashed potatoes. IKEA even serves their famous meatballs with lingonberries on the side, though I actually haven’t seen that in many recipes.

I adapted this recipe from Wonderful, Wonderful Danish Cooking (I’ve mentioned it before, and it really is a wonderful book!) and the accompanying mashed rutabagas and potatoes recipe was inspired by a recipe in Christmas in Scandinavia, by Melody Favish.

Danish Meatballs
1 lb. ground beef
1/2 lb. ground pork
1/2 cup bread crumbs, soaked in 1/2 c. milk
1 egg white
1/4 tsp. salt
1 onion, minced

Mix all the ingredients together (hands work best to get it all mixed together well).  Form meatballs of whatever size you prefer. Heat a mixture of butter and canola oil together in a large saucepan and fry up the meatballs in batches if necessary until nicely browned.  Then place all the meatballs back into the saucepan, cover and simmer on low heat for about 45 minutes. Keep an eye/ear on them towards the end so they don’t dry out and burn.

Sauce:
1 onion, thinly sliced
6-8 oz. mushrooms, sliced
2 Tbsp. butter
2 Tbsp. flour
2 cups milk
1 Tbsp. Worchestershire sauce
salt and pepper to taste

Saute the onion and mushrooms over medium heat in butter until wilted and starting to brown. Sprinkle with flour and continue to stir and cook for 1-2 minutes, or until flour starts sticking to the bottom of the pan. Pour in milk and scrape the pan, stirring to make a gravy. Season with Worchestershire, salt and pepper to taste, and cook gently to thicken sauce.  Add cooked meatballs and stir to coat. Serve with mashed potatoes, or mashed rutabagas.

Mashed Rutabagas and Potatoes
1 large rutabaga, peeled and cubed
2 Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cubed
2 Tbsp. butter
whipping cream or half and half
salt and pepper to taste

First, a note about peeling the rutabaga. Rutabagas are generally coated with a lot of wax when you buy them in the store. I peeled mine with a sharp knife while holding it down on a cutting board, much like you would peel a butternut squash. It needs to be peeled more deeply than other vegetables. I noticed that my knife was covered in wax that I had to really scrub to get off.

Place the rutabaga and potato cubes in a large pot and cover with water. Boil for about 20-30 minutes, or until rutabaga is tender.  Drain vegetables and place in a mixing bowl. Beat until mostly mashed, then add butter and enough cream or half and half until they look well mashed and smooth.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

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