All of the best recipes involve leftovers being creatively utilized. Think about it! Chop suey, soups and casseroles of almost every kind, and most any conglomerate food dish has a firm foundation in using up leftovers. It is a fine cook, indeed, who came up with ways to cleverly disguise leftovers and then serve them as a brand new meal. This brings us to one of my favorite of the brilliant leftover transformation dishes: Swedish Meatballs.
Some stale bread, slightly sour milk, and a bit of meat doesn’t sound very appetizing, if you think about it. That’s what makes Swedish meatballs such a spectacular invention. Let us all take a moment to thank whatever wondrously innovative out-of-the-box home cook it was that first combined those ingredients and then created… drumroll please… the meatball. Then, to make a creamy gravy to cover the meatballs and perhaps some homemade egg noodles — well, we certainly owe them a debt of gratitude. Yet again, simple honest food breezes into the winner’s circle and greets a cheering crowd.
Yes, I’m cheering. Why not?
Don’t answer that.
Let’s take a look at that recipe, shall we?
You will need:
- 4-6 slices of stale bread
- 1/2 cup milk (sour milk or buttermilk is preferred*)
- 1 pound of ground venison (turkey or beef works well, too)
- 2 Tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
- 1 teaspoon Dijon or brown mustard (optional)
- 1 sweet onion, diced very fine
- 3 Tablespoons olive oil
- 3 egg yolks
- 3/4 teaspoon white or black pepper
- 3/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 3/4 teaspoon ground allspice
- 3 Tablespoons butter
- 1 palm-full of all-purpose flour
- 2 cups water or milk
- 1/2 cup sour cream or yogurt
- salt and pepper to taste
In a medium-sized mixing bowl, pour 1/2 cup of milk over the stale bread. Once the bread has soaked up the milk, squish it with your hand. Try not to have too much fun. Or just give in and really enjoy it.
See? Better than mixed martial arts!
Now, add the Worcestershire sauce, pepper, allspice, nutmeg, and the mustard.
And the eggs:
For reasons known only to the dust-bunnies under my bed, I felt compelled to show you those spices in their little jars. Compelled.
Now that you’ve fully recovered from witnessing my OCD… add the ground venison (or ground turkey or chicken or beef) to the mixture.
I used venison because I happen to have a freezer full of it and I think it is yummy.
Heat the 1 1/2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a saucepan and sauté those onions. Add the onions (not the olive oil) to the meatball mixture but do not rinse the pan. Keep all that delicious oniony flavor right where we can see it. We wouldn’t want it sneaking off somewhere, after all. Sneaky things, onions.
Preheat the oven to 250 degrees Fahrenheit. Now start forming those meatballs.
Now, add in another 1 1/2 tablespoons of olive oil. Once the oil is hot, place them in the saucepan and sauté them until they are golden brown on all sides.
They require regular turning.
When they are cooked, place them in a casserole dish and stick the casserole dish in the oven to keep warm. Now, melt the butter in the saucepan with the drippings, onion stowaways, and bits of meatball.
Using a whisk, add a little bit of the flour at a time. Stir constantly and let the flour brown a little bit in the pan. This is very important because we want all those flavors to live happily ever after.
Now, pour in the water or milk a little at a time. Use the whisk during and after each addition.
Remove the skillet from the heat and add the of sour cream. Mix until smooth and lovely. Add salt and pepper to taste. Or don’t. That’s just fine, too.
Now, put the meatballs on top of the egg noodles and ladle the gravy over top. I think that I’ve already confessed that gravy is my favorite condiment. Right?
This is my favorite part… the romancing.
Hello, gorgeous. Where have you been all my life? Do you come here often? *yum*
I’ve been told that pictures like the one above are quite dangerous when viewed between meals because they cause hunger pains. Please know that the hunger pains are completely intentional. I am not immune, either. In fact, every time I post a recipe — I want to make it all over again. So consider yourself warned: use caution with the first and last pictures of my food posts.
*NOTE: simply add a dollop of lemon juice or vinegar to fresh milk if you do not have sour milk or buttermilk handy