IKEA SWEDISH MEATBALLS

I know IKEA is a giant global furniture chain, but before researching these great little balls of meat I wasn’t aware that IKEA is also one of the world’s largest food retailers. At the very top of the list of the most popular menu items at the stores’ cafeteria-style IKEA Restaurant & Bistro are the Swedish Meatballs, which are consumed at a rate of 150 million each year. The meatballs are moist and delicious and come smothered in a cream sauce and served with a side of lingonberry jam. But if you don’t feel like working your way through the giant rat maze of furniture that is the ingenious layout of each store to get to a plate of these meatballs, you can now make them at home with very little effort. The secret is to use ground beef that is 20 percent fat and a food processor to puree all of the ingredients. If you don’t have a food processor, a blender will work to puree the onions, which you can add to the rest of the ingredients and mix thoroughly with your hands. I found that a 1¼-inch cookie scooper is the best way to form the balls, but you can also form the balls with a teaspoon measure and your hands—keep your hands thoroughly moistened with water to prevent the meat mixture from sticking to them.

MEATBALLS
⅓ cup chopped onion
1 large egg
1 egg white
⅓ cup beef broth
2 tablespoons water
½ pound ground beef (20 percent fat)
½ pound ground pork
½ cup plain bread crumbs
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon white pepper
⅛ teaspoon allspice

CREAM SAUCE
1¼ cups beef broth
⅓ cup heavy cream
4 teaspoons cornstarch
1 tablespoon apple juice
¼ teaspoon salt
⅛ teaspoon garlic powder
⅛ teaspoon onion powder
⅛ teaspoon white pepper
1 bay leaf
2 teaspoons vegetable oil

ON THE SIDE (OPTIONAL)
Lingonberry preserves


Cooking method

1-Combine the onion, egg, egg white, beef broth, and water in a food processor or blender and mix on high speed for 15 seconds or until the onion is completely pulverized. If using a blender, pour this mixture into a large bowl and combine it with the ground meats, bread crumbs, and seasoning. Mix thoroughly with your hands. If using a food processor, add the ground meats, bread crumbs, and seasoning to the food processor and mix on high speed for 30 seconds or until all of the ingredients are combined and the meat has a smooth consistency.

2-Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.

3-Use a ⅓-ounce cookie scooper (or a teaspoon measure) moistened with water to form balls that are about 1¼ inches in diameter. Moisten your fingers with water to make forming the balls easier. Place the balls on a nonstick baking sheet or a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat and bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until the meatballs are just lightly browned. Turn the meatballs over halfway through the cooking time.

4-While the meatballs are baking, make the sauce by whisking all of the ingredients, except the bay leaf, into a small saucepan over medium heat. When the mixture begins to bubble, add the bay leaf, then reduce the heat and simmer for 6 to 7 minutes or until thick. Discard the bay leaf.

5-Just before you are ready to serve the meatballs, brown them in a sauté pan over medium heat with a couple of teaspoons of vegetable oil. Serve the meatballs with the cream sauce poured over the top along with a small side of lingonberry preserves, if desired.

6-(OPTIONAL) You can freeze the meatballs after they have baked. To reheat, add 2 teaspoons of oil to a sauté pan over medium heat. Cook the meatballs in the pan, stirring often, until browned and hot all the way through.

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