Swedish meatballs, new potatoes, gravy

…and I even threw some green beans in for some ‘vegetable’ aspect.

Tonight I was struggling to decide what to cook. I finally settled on Swedish-style meatballs, purchased yesterday in Tesco.
Despite Swedish meatballs looking very interesting in an episode of Eurotrash I saw years ago, being made by a half-naked Victoria Silvstedt, I had only first tried Swedish meatballs a few months back in the restaurant section of my local Ikea.
They came with something brown I assumed was gravy, and I was offered cranberry sauce which I foolishly took and wished I hadn’t.

Recreating this at home seemed like it might not be too difficult, I thought optimistically.
However while shopping in Tesco yesterday afternoon I realised I didn’t actually know what went into Swedish meatballs, except for meat of some kind. While browsing the fresh meat aisle, I spotted some Swedish-style meatballs already prepared. Convenient or what?

So tonight – meatballs!
What do you have with meatballs? The ones in Ikea had come with potatoes, cranberry sauce and…some sort of Swedish form of gravy?
A quick look on Ikea’s website tells me it wasn’t gravy at all. Apparently what is sold in the restaurant is “traditional Swedish meatballs with cream sauce and lingonberry sauce”.
What the hell is a lingonberry?

Well, lingonberry jam, according to wikipedia:
“is served both as jam, with cereal or pancakes, and as a relish with meat courses such as Swedish meatballs, beef stew, liver dishes, and regionally even fried herring. It has also been used to sweeten the traditional oatmeal porridge. It is less commonly used as marmalade on toast and as a topping on vanilla ice cream”.
Talk about versatile! I can’t think of too many things you could have with sausages, fish, on toast, and with ice cream – and have them all still be edible.

Well that was out anyway.
I’ve got a friend coming round in an hour, and I’d quite like to finish eating before they get here, so I don’t really have time to go to Tescos and get lingonberry jam/sauce/juice/relish to go with them, so I decided that ordinary chicken Bisto would have to do.

New potatoes on, and the oven too. The oven took a surprisingly long time to heat up, but I’m not too fussed because new potatoes always seem to take longer than the 20mins I think they will, even if I start them off with boiling water instead of cold.

The meatballs don’t smell particularly appealing cold from the fridge, it has to be said.
15-20mins in the oven is apparently enough for these. Even starting them probably 10mins after, and putting them in for a full 20mins – the potatoes still didn’t seem quite done by the time the meatballs were.
I killed the oven and left my balls to keep warm (ok – I had to have one – I lasted this long), while I did the green beans.

Eventually, all done..
I removed my balls from the oven (that’s the last one, I promise). The tray is a bit greasy and they’re not really smelling much nicer cooked – they don’t really smell much like I remember the ones in Ikea being like. More like ‘value’ sausages.
Still, as I’ve decided I’m not judging food entirely by smell anymore, I plated the meatballs, potatoes, and green beans, and added gravy.

From the first one, I can tell you Tescos pre-prepared meatballs taste absolutely nothing like what I ate in Ikea.
I don’t know if I left them in a bit long, but they looked a bit overcooked for one thing. Even allowing for that, the blackened outer coating wasn’t hiding much inner goodness either. They were a bit rubbish really. I’m not sure what the official definition of “Swedish-style” is, but clearly English supermarkets and Swedish furniture stores have different guidelines.
I only ate roughly half the packet, so I may attempt a second cooking of the rest, later in the week.

I guess as the Scandinavian flat-pack-masters sell them in their food section, I could buy some next time I’m looking for a stool the size of a bedside table and some unusual pot-plants. Definitely worth considering.

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