By Brien R. Sörne
A Swedish word derived from three other words: smör (butter), gås (goose) and bord (table). The old Swedish peasants, so the story goes, saw the small pieces of butter that Xoated to the surface of the cream while it was being churned which reminded them of geese swimming to the surface on a pond.
These butter pieces were just the right size to be spread on a slice of bread. So eventually, smörgås came to mean “buttered bread.” The Swedes’ love of open-faced sandwiches and their generous approach to inviting all to share in a bounteous meal, provided a natural fit for the two ideas: open-faced sandwiches piled high with a variety of spreads and toppings laid out in a sumptuous display of delectable items from which to choose.
The traditional Swedish smörgåsbord consists of both hot and cold items. Bread, butter and cheese are a must. Customarily, cold dishes are offered first, usually beginning with various fish like salmon and herring, accompanied by salads, deviled eggs, goose liver pâté and plenty of cold cuts. Hot items include Swedish meatballs, brown beans, sliced ham, boiled or mashed white potatoes, pork sausage and sweet and sour red cabbage. Another must is knäckebröd which Americans might know as “hardtack” or “crispbread,” which comes in a variety of styles and flavors. It is ideal for serving as a plate upon which your items can be
stacked! Beverages include Aquavit (a flavored distilled spirit), beer and stout, and a uniquely Swedish mulled wine called Glögg. Deserts often include a wide variety of baked goods, and especially Pepparkakor (thin, crisp, gingerbread cookies).
If all of this is new to your way of celebrating, you may want to start with a few simple dishes, and ones that your family is less likely to find unusual. (Pickled herring is an acquired taste). Here is our favorite recipe for Swedish meatballs that will be a welcome addition to your feast!
|Prep Time :: 30 minutes, Cooking Time :: 45 minutes
Yield :: serves 12 to 15
1 pound of ground pork
1 teaspoon of nutmeg
|Mince or finely chop the onion. Thoroughly mix the meats together in a large mixing bowl.
Add the breadcrumbs, onion, egg and half-and-half and continue mixing until all of the
Cover the mix with waxed paper or a damp dishtowel and chill for at least 30 minutes.
Heat a small amount of cooking oil in your best fry pan over medium heat. Don’t let the
While the oil is heating, roll small amounts of the mixture (about 2 or 3 tablespoons
Once the meatballs are made, place them gently into the hot oil until the pan is full and
Keep cooking until the meatballs are brown and firm. You can always open one up to
For the Gravy
Using the same pan you used for your meatballs (oil discarded), add the butter and melt
Continue cooking, allowing the roux to bubble slightly without browning. While stirring,
Remove your meatballs from the oven and pour the gravy over the entire batch. You can reserve some of the gravy if you choose to for those who want additional gravy. Serve immediately.