Saturday, March 8, 2014

Magical Swedish Meatloaf

Last night I was told that the Swedish meatloaf I made for our Friday night family gathering was "magical", and it got enough raves that I thought I'd share the recipe here for anybody who would like the recipe for themselves. It was originally a Swedish meatball recipe, and had different ingredients, but I modified it for my own personal tastes and developed it into a meatloaf recipe in order to cut out a lot of the prep time. If you are not familiar with making meatballs, they are a very labor intensive dish. So, the following was my solution to it.

Swedish Meatloaf:
1/2 onion, peeled and grated
2 Tbsp. butter
2/3 cup milk
5 slices of white bread, crusts removed, diced
2 eggs
1 lb. ground pork
1 1/2 lb. ground chicken
2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. nutmeg
1 tsp. ground cardamom
2 tsp. pepper

1.) Saute the onion in the butter over medium-high heat until the onions soften and turn translucent, 3-4 minutes. (You aren't looking to really brown them or caramelize them.) Remove from the heat and cool.
2.) In a large bowl, mix the bread pieces with the milk. Set aside for a few minutes to let the milk absorb into the bread. When it's absorbed, use a fork to mask into a smooth paste, or use your fingers.
3.) Add the cooled onions to the paste and mix very well. Add the eggs and spices and mix very well into the paste. When it's been well-incorporated, add the ground pork and chicken and mix very well. (This will take a few minutes to really make sure the two different meats have blended as well as mixed in with the bread mixture. This takes patience. It will be a very runny mixture when it is complete, don't worry, it'll firm up when it cooks.)
4.) Pour into a standard-sized loaf pan, you don't need to grease it, and bake in a 350 oven for about an hour to an hour and fifteen minutes. Halfway through the baking, check to see if there are a lot of juices accumulating and pour them off if you need to. You will need to do this again at the end as well. Ground chicken has a lot more moisture in it than other ground meats and you don't want to steam/boil this.(Do not discard the drippings, save them for the gravy)
5.) When the meatloaf is at least 165 degrees internally, remove it from the oven and allow it to rest for ten minutes or so before cutting into it. I usually serve this with plain noodles and the gravy that I will share the recipe for as well.

6 Tbsp. butter
1/3 cup flour
1qt. chicken stock
1/2-3/4 cup sour cream
salt, to taste

1.) Melt butter in a 2 qt. saucepan. Whisk in flour. Let the mixture cook until it is a rich brown color, stirring constantly.
2.)As the flour mixture(roux) cooks, heat the chicken stock in another pan until it's simmering. Slowly add the chicken stock a little at a time. Stir well until the sauce is smooth and thickened.
3.)Remove the sauce from the heat and add the sour cream and salt to taste. Mix until fully incorporated and serve on the meatloaf and noodles.

Now, if you're like me, you don't always have time to make homemade sauce like this, or you don't always have the chicken stock on hand. I developed an alternative to this that I think works very nicely. Take a packet of chicken gravy mix(foodies might cringe at this, but we all know we use this stuff, don't try and pretend you're too good for it), and prepare it as the instructions call for. When it is made, strain the drippings from the meatloaf into the gravy and return to a boil. Allow it to boil for a few minutes to make sure the drippings come up to the proper temperature. When this is done, remove from the heat and add as much sour cream as you want. And, voila! There you have, easy semi-homemade gravy for the meatloaf that took a lot less time and butter...

This meatloaf makes about 6-8 servings depending on how large a serving you want. I also discovered that it freezes and thaws very well. You can make a whole recipe, eat it for a day or two and then wrap and freeze portions for another time. The gravy, however, you would need to make fresh each subsequent time. So there you have it, my Swedish Meatloaf recipe. Enjoy!