Wednesday, January 29, 2014
I’m one of those nerds who never has a clue when the Super Bowl is or who’s playing. While I’m happy to join-in critiquing the over-the-top advertisements, I’m an annoying guest when I’m among people who care about the game itself.
“Wait, what just happened?” I have to ask again and again.
Luckily, I show up with good food.
I think sports-watching food is best when it’s bite-sized and will keep well if the game gets exciting and everyone forgets it for awhile. My grandmother’s Swedish meatballs meet both criteria.
Best served out of a warm slow-cooker, they’ll continue to soak in their own gravy as they sit on a buffet table. If anything, they actually get more delicious as the night goes on.
They’re also easy to prepare, and they can be popped straight into your mouth from a toothpick without the need for silverware — the perfect nibble to help you cheer your team to a championship.
Makes about 24 meatballs
For the meatballs
1 cup milk
2 cups bread crumbs
2 eggs, whisked
2 pounds hamburger
1 pound sausage
Small onion, diced
Pinch of nutmeg
1 tablespoon salt
For the gravy
Reserved fat from cooking the meatballs
1/2 cup flour
About 4 cups meat or vegetable stock (I like to use mushroom stock)
Salt and pepper, to taste.
Mix the milk, bread crumbs and egg in a large bowl. Leave that to soak as you mix the remaining meatball ingredients in another bowl. Combine the contents of the two bowls, and, again, mix it all together well. You can use a large spoon, but I always find that a pair of clean hands is the best tool for really getting the ingredients blended.
Breaking off walnut-sized lumps, form the meat mixture into balls. Fry them in batches in a high-sided skillet over medium heat. If your sausage is very lean, you may have to add a little olive oil to the pan to make the meatballs fry correctly, but I’ve never had that problem.
When the meatballs are finished, add 1/2 cup flour to the fat that should be remaining in the pan. (Again, if your meatballs are lean, you may have to add olive oil. You want to have about 4 tablespoons of fat in the pan when you start.) Whisk the flour and fat continually until it congeals together and starts to turn light brown.
Add the stock and continue to whisk until any lumps in the gravy are broken up. Let the gravy simmer for at least 10 or 15 minutes to thicken. If it gets too thick, a little more stock or some water can be mixed in to thin it back down.
Put the meatballs in a large slow-cooker or serving bowl, and pour over the gravy. Eat them right away or wait until halftime — either way they’ll be delicious!
— Meryl Carver-Allmond lives in Lawrence and writes about chickens, babies, knitting, gardening, food, photography, and whatever else tickles her fancy on any given day at www.mybitofearth.net.