9.01.2011

Swedish Meatballs with homemade smashed potatoes

Yesterday was one of those days. No, this week has been one of those weeks, where I just haven't had time or energy to cook. I have lots of ideas, lots of recipes out, but I am not even in the mood to go to the grocery store, let alone cook. That being said, I decided to pull some meats out of the freezer.  I had handy a recent delivery of pork products from my favorite local organic farm.  I had grabbed some of his homemade italian sausage and some ground pork.   I let it thaw and in the meantime, was trying to figure out what I should do with it.  I wasn't interested in anything Italian.  We have had too much of that lately.   I had these great farmers market mushrooms I needed to use up as well and then the idea came.  Meatballs - but then I didn't want Italian.  How about Swedish meatballs.  They have that nice creamy mushroom sauce/gravy.   It all clicked.  Now remember, I am still not in the mood to really cook a gravy from scratch.   So now what, Cream of Mushroom soup.  So tacky, I know, but go with me on this one.... it really worked out and it was really good.

Swedish Meatballs - the quick and easy kind

Meatballs
1 lb bulk italian sausage
1 lb ground pork (can use ground beef as well)
1/2 onion finely chopped
5 slices of white bread crumbled
1 egg
3 T Brown sauce (you can use worcestershire sauce, but I like the thickness of the brown sauce)
1 T salt
1/2 t pepper
1 T garlic powder

Mix all of the above ingredients in a bowl.  Form into balls, about 2 inches in diameter.   Heat frying pan until hot.  Add 1 T olive oil.  When oil is hot, add meatballs (only put in enough meatballs to cover the bottom and leave room for turning.  Brown in batches).  Turn the meatballs as they brown, so all sides are browned nicely.  Do not worry about cooking the meatball all the way through at this point.  Remove from pan and drain on paper towel.   Brown the rest of the meatballs, in batches, removing from the pan when complete.  Remove any excess oil/grease from the pan, keeping all the yummy bits that are still there.  Don't remove too much, as you will sauté some mushrooms next and need a bit of the fat for that process.

Sauce
1 carton fresh mushrooms, cleaned, trimmed and sliced
1 T butter
2 cans cream of mushroom soup
1 c half and half or heavy cream (do NOT use skim, 1% or 2% milk - it thins out the sauce too much)
2 t cumin
2 t smoky paprika
salt and papper to taste

In a medium bowl, mix the soup, cream, cumin, paprika, salt and pepper.  Whisk thoroughly, until a creamy texture is achieved.  In the same frying pan that the meatballs were browned in,  heat remaining oil in pan and add butter.  When melted, add the sliced mushrooms.  Saute until nicely brown.  Add the meatballs back to the pan.  Cover the entire mixture with the sauce, spreading it out evenly over all the meatballs.  Turn burner down to low and cover the pan.  Cook for about 15-20 minutes.   Serve over homemade smashed potatoes or a nice wide Amish egg noodle.