Daddy's Swedish Meatballs

My dad served as a Scout Master for as long as I can remember, and probably even longer than that. He, his brother, and my older brother have all achieved the Eagle Scout rank - I think my grandfather did, too - so it's kind of a family tradition. We Zaharchuks are outdoorsy folk. What else is there to do in upstate New York or New Hampshire?

Kidding aside though, the Boy Scouts have positively impacted my family in ways I don't think I could even begin to unravel. Beneath the grander pursuits of building character, developing discipline and a sense of personal responsibility, and ingraining lifelong practical skills, is an incredibly meaningful foundation. The Scouts teach kids how to socialize healthily and appropriately, provide a safe environment for that socialization process, give kids the academic and emotional attention they need and sometimes don't receive at home or school, and allow them to have a healthy outlet for the stress and anxiety of their adolescent years. 
 
Also, they teach you how to shoot a bow-and-arrow and bb gun. And you go hiking and kayaking and swimming and camping. All of the camping. I joined The Girl Scouts when I was a wee little lass, since I wanted to shoot a bb gun too like my older brother (I don't quite recall whether my motivation was to be like him or to be able to threaten him with my shooting prowess...). But all we did were arts and crafts (and I got bullied sometimes by the other girls, but that's a tale for another day). I lasted through Daisies and Brownies, and then I quit. No shooting, you say? No Holly. Bye.

But I did attend many a Court of Honor for Troop 20 (Hudson's local troop). This recipe is for my dad's famous Swedish Meatballs, which everyone loved but no one could figure out what was in them. Now you know. You can thank my daddy. He wrote the recipe and took the pictures below, and he measured everything out for once just for you (he usually just goes by feel). I edited the recipe to clean up the language, as he probably knew I would. I am his daughter, after all.
 
Troop 20 Court of Honor Swedish Meatballs

100 meatballs (1/2 oz each), I buy these frozen
3 tbsp oil
1/2 c flour
4 c chicken stock
1 c half-and-half
2 medium onions, chopped with a medium dice
2 lbs mushrooms, roughly diced
Salt (~4 tsp)
Pepper, freshly ground (~3 tsp)
Pinch nutmeg (~30 grains)
2 tbsp butter
1 c sour cream

Heat oil over medium heat, then add the onions and sweat them with 1 teaspoon of pepper and 1 teaspoon salt, giving them a 5 minute head-start.

Add the mushrooms over the onions and top with 2 more teaspoons salt. Cook 10-15 minutes to remove the liquid and start to cook the mushrooms, stirring occasionally.

Add the butter and allow it to come up to temperature with the other ingredients. Then add the flour to the mixture, stir, and cook for 2 minutes to remove the powdery raw-flour taste. You’re making the roux here to thicken up the sauce.

Add the chicken stock a cup at a time and STIR: you are making a sauce, so scrap the bottom and mix!

Bring to a boil, add in the meatballs, then increase the heat to medium-high until it returns to a boil. This may take 20-30 minutes, since the meatballs are cold. KEEP STIRRING.

Add in more salt and pepper to taste, then the half-and-half. Drop the temperature to medium-low and stir. Add the nutmeg and sour cream, stirring to move the bottom up to the top and incorporate completely.

Keep at 160-180 degrees F. I use a Crockpot (not too high or you will break the sauce).


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