Brought to you by JOWTC (Jim's Obscure World Tour Challenge), which today lands us in Sweden. Famous for Ikea, meatballs, and nothing else that I can even think of. Then again my knowledge of that whole area up there is questionable at best, so maybe I'm not the best person to ask.
Anyway this is my third installment of the challenge series. The first was pierogi, and the second was lemon meringue. I had actually never even had Swedish meatballs before, much like I had never been to Ikea before. Let's just say I was impressed with both.
Last weekend Jim and I drove up to Atlanta. His parents (thanks guys) had gotten me an Ikea gift card for my birthday and I had heard such great things about Ikea I couldn't wait to see it. Did you know they serve Swedish meatballs in there? We didn't eat any (because we had just eaten at Chipotle...aka burrito heaven) but I was amazed.
First off, it's crazy big in there. And there were a TON of people milling around. I don't know how, but Ikea made me wish I lived in a tiny little apartment again. Don't worry, it wore off when I left the store...it broke the spell I think. They had an exhibit (is that the right word?) based on making small living spaces seem spacious. They had 250, 350, and 480 sq ft "homes" that were designed in such a way that they felt open and spacious (sort of). It's funny, they called them "homes"...when I lived in something that small I called it a "chicken coop"....but that may have had something to do with the fact that it was, in fact, a renovated chicken coop. Oh California, the things we do for love. Back on track.
I milled around Ikea for hours and bought some kitchen stuff, including woodland creatures cookie cutters, and don't think for a second you've heard the last of those, by the way. I also got a new cutting board that I needed desperately and some various other kitchen stuff. It was amazing. If you haven't been, go. It will make you want to remodel your kitchen, fair warning.
Anyway, so all that affordable Swedish furniture made me want to try Swedish meatballs. They were sitting there on the challenge list after all. Now, I must confess. I've had some very limited successes with these challenges. The pierogi were great, sure, but the lemon meringue with the receding hairline?
But let's talk meatballs. These are great. They don't have a lot of spices...pretty much just caraway seeds, but they came out wonderful. Here's the recipe.
(adapted from "A Taste of Georgia"...Sweden? Georgia? I don't get it)
1 lb ground beef
2 Tbsp minced onion
2 tsp margarine
1/2 cup old fashioned or quick oats
1 egg, slightly beaten
1 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp caraway seed
3 Tbsp more margarine
1 can (11 oz) cream of celery soup
1/2 cup water
Brown the onion in the 2 tsp margarine over low heat. Combine meat, oats, egg, seasoning, and cooked onion until mixed well. Using your hands, shape the mixture into small 1 inch meatballs.
Cook the meatballs in the same skillet you browned the onion in, melting the 2 Tbsp of margarine first. Turn continuously until browned on all sides, remove from pan. Add soup and water, stir until smooth, allow to bubble a bit.
Return meatballs to skillet, cover and cook for about 10 minutes more. Serve immediately over cooked pasta...here I used my favorite, Cavatappi.
Swedish meatballs. Not very photogenic, but let's face it, not many of us are (by the way, why does my camera think I'm so much frumpier than my mirror does? Get with it, camera, ya jerk). Great fall food.