Cooking Alton Brown’s Swedish Meatballs

When my wife suggested I make Swedish Meatballs, I was all for the idea. As I mentioned when I made Beef Stroganoff, I’m a big fan of the meat/gravy/sour cream combination in any and all forms. All I needed to do then was find a recipe. I didn’t realize my wife had her mom’s in the big black binder she uses as a cookbook, so I gave a search and settled on Alton Brown’s because, well, dude knows his stuff, right?

First off, I’ll note the changes I made by going down the ingredients list. I used a few hot dog buns instead of bread, regular butter instead of clarified and sour cream instead of heavy cream because I always wind up buying and using just a portion of the stuff and throwing the rest out. I probably should have just followed that part of the recipe, but I’ll get there.

I’m still working on the post I did about making beef stock, but since I made this recipe after I made the stock, one of the first things I did was grab three cups worth of it, put it on a flame and started defrosting. Meanwhile, I got my water set up for the egg noodles (oh yeah, we like to eat our Swedish Meatballs on egg noodles) and then got to work on the meatballs. I didn’t weigh each one like the recipe suggests and just eyed them. Weighing each and every one would have been a pain!

At this point, I fired up the heat for the noodle water and got to cooking the meatballs. I did about 10 at a time and would add them to a baking sheet when they were good and brown. I’ve cooked meatballs in the past and wound up chopping them up testing to see if they were done, but putting them in the oven finished off any pink spots and help hold the balls’ structural integrity.

Once all the balls are cooked and in the oven you basically make a roux and then a gravy. Toss some flour in the pan, stir until clumpy and then add the broth, sour cream and whisk until thickened. I’m not sure what the scientific difference between sour cream and heavy cream is, but I saw it in my pan as it took forever to thicken and even after 20 minutes or so wasn’t super thick. I pulled it and poured it over the noodles and meatballs, though it was thinner than I would have normally liked.

Even though the gravy wasn’t as good as it could have been, I don’t know if I’ve ever made a better non-Italian meatball. The nutmeg and allspice were a great combination with the beef and pork and came out super tasty. I also made the mistake of using olive oil to keep the noodles from sticking to one another which really threw the flavors off (it took me a few bites to figure out what the heck I was tasting that was a little funny). Even with all that, I still liked the meal. Next time, I think I’ll follow Alton’s recipe more closely or try and decipher my mother-in-law’s, but the important thing (aside from enjoying the meal and the leftovers) is that I learned from the process.



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