Arthur Schwartz the Food Maven: Ropa Vieja (“Old Clothes/Old Rags”) Swedish Meatballs

Arthur Schwartz was the restaurant critic and executive food editor of the New York Daily News for 18 years. Perhaps what he’s best known for is as a chameleon—he’s successfully worked in radio, print media, cookbook publishing, TV, and teaching. Today Arthur talks about: Ropa Vieja (Old Clothes/Old Rags) Swedish Meatballs

Today’s Recipe

(You may want to check the seasoning in the meatballs, in which case make a tiny patty of the mixture and dry-fry it in a small skillet.)

Swedish Meatballs

Makes about 48 small meatballs 

½ cup plain dry breadcrumbs½ cup milk or half and half1 small onion1 large egg

½ teaspoon nutmeg½ teaspoon allspice½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 ½ teaspoons salt

12 ounces ground beef

12 ounces ground pork

Oil for frying

5 tablespoons butter

3 tablespoons flour

1 ½ cups beef broth (or 1 14-ounce can)

½ cup heavy cream, light cream, or half and half 

In a large bowl, combine the breadcrumbs and milk. Grate the onion into the bowl using the coarse side of a box grater. Stir in the egg and seasonings until well mixed.
Add the two meats and using a fork, mix together until homogenous. (Or use your hands.) Using a tablespoon measure, scoop of the mixture and form into small meatballs. Arrange them on a baking sheet.(You may want to check the seasoning in the meatballs, in which case make a tiny patty of the mixture and dry-fry it in a small skillet.) When ready to fry, heat enough oil to cover the bottom of a large skillet and add 2 tablespoons of the butter. When fat is shimmering, fry meatballs in batches to brown on all sides. Set aside as the meatballs brown. They should not be fully cooked in the center – if you want to check. When all the meatballs have been fried (you can fry-off some, and freeze the rest either before or after they are fried), pour off the used oil/butter in the pan, and melt 3 fresh tablespoons of butter.  Stir in the flour and let bubble a couple of minutes while scraping the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon. Pour in the broth, stirring constantly. Let the sauce simmer a few minutes, checking for salt and pepper.

Add the meatballs and let simmer a few minutes to fully cook the meatballs.

Serve hot.



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