Monthly Archives: June 2011

How Swede It Is

Tuesday night, I found myself in need of a foodstuff to bring to a party at work. I had a bag of frozen meatballs, and I could have done meatballs marinara, but I always like to try something more interesting than folks are expecting. I’d made meatballs in a cream-of-mushroom-soup-and-sour-cream based sauce once, and I wanted to try that again, but I had no cream of mushroom soup on hand. So I did what I do best in these circumstances: I improvised.

The result was well received, so I thought I’d commit it to electrons…

Swedish-Inspired Meatball Sauce

  • 1.5T butter or comparable lipid
  • 2T white whole wheat flour (I imagine white will work, but wheat gives it a heartier and more complex texture, and is also just generally better for those not sensitive to it)
  • 2-3T Sour cream
  • 1 can (12 oz) evaporated milk
  • 1 cup beef broth
  • 1/4 tsp salt (adjust based on the saltiness of your beef broth)
  • 1/8 tsp black pepper
  • pinch nutmeg (optional)

Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat exercising care not to burn the butter. Slowly sprinkle in the flour, working it into the butter with a whisk or paddle until it forms a roux. You should end up with a sort of doughy lump that doesn’t flow. Fold in the sour cream. This step should be done quickly as the sour cream may burn from contact with the pan (If this proves too challenging, work the sour cream in after the milk. It’s harder to get the sour cream to mix evenly, but you’re less likely to burn it.) Pour the milk in at a continuous, steady pace, working the roux in. If all goes well, you should have a smooth, lumpless liquid about the thickness of pepto bismol. Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring frequently. Add the beef broth. Be careful not to add the broth too fast or you might get lumps. Remove from heat.

Add salt and pepper to taste. Also, if you find the taste of the sour cream too aggressive, sprinkle it with sugar (or sucralose). For a more authentically Swedish taste, stir in a pinch of nutmeg. White pepper will also give it a nice exotic kick, but only if you like white pepper.

Suggested SFW Application

Fill a crock pot with your preferred sort of cooked meatball. I used frozen Italian meatballs because I had a bag of those. Cover with the meatballs with the sauce. You may need to double the recipe depending on the size of your crock pot. I used a 4-quart crock pot and about 20-30 meatballs, and needed two batches to achieve adequate coverage. I ended up with about half of the sauce left over. If you’ve got something like a chafing dish (or you just want to serve the meatballs on a platter or shallow dish), you’ll need less.

The astute among you may note that there’s nothing in this recipe that’s aggressively Swedish or Meatballish. I think this would work well over beef tips and noodles, or throw in some mushrooms and serve it over a steak on a bed of wilted baby spinach leaves. Hey, that sounds good. I gotta go get something to eat.