Meatballs belong to the classical Swedish specialities. Even those who have never visited the country, can find them (Köttbullar) in an IKEA restaurant. It is one of the favourite meals of Swedish children. No wonder they also appeared in a book by Astrid Lindgren. She said that it was necessary to write about food in children’s books. Very often, the characters in her books cook, bake, go to a picnic or at least enjoy food – as the great gourmet Karlsson. In the book Karlsson on the Roof, you can feel his passion for meatballs.
Karlsson has stopped his pacing. He was standing motionless, sniffing like a setter. “Meatballs!” he said. “Tasty, little meatballs I like ver-ry much.” … Eric darted out into the kitchen. Mommy was standing by the stove in a checked apron, surrounded by the most delicious smell of fried onions. She was shaking the big frying pan over the flame, and in the pan jostled lots and lots of nicely browned, little meatballs… She placed six meatballs on a small plate. Oh, how good they smelled and they were small and brown and round, just as they should be. Eric carried the plate carefully in both hands as he hurried back to his room… Presto, Karlsson turned the button, the engine started buzzing, and he glided from the bed straight past the plate. He snatched a meatball on his way, rose rapidly up to the ceiling, and circled round the light, contentedly munching the meatball. “Delicious! Excellent!” he said. “You’d almost think the World’s Best Meatball-Maker had cooked it…” And he made a sudden dive toward the plate and seized another.”
However, you can also find meatballs in some other national cuisines. My recipe comes from Bulgaria, they call them kjufteta. I am sure Karlsson would like them as well. Once a 9-year-old friend of my daughter ate 11 pieces! – I had to stop him because I was worried that it was already too much.
We need: 500 g minced beef and pork, 1 slice of bread without crust, milk, 1 onion, 1 clove garlic – smashed and chopped, 1 egg, chopped parsley leaves, breadcrumbs, 2 tbs oil, salt, crushed pepper, oil for frying
Method: Soak bread in milk, chop onion in very small dice. In a large bowl combine meat, bread, onion, garlic, egg, parsley, oil and breadcrumbs. It works well to squish the mixture with your hands (you can use disposable plastic gloves – sure you have some from hair dyes!). Add salt and pepper. The mixture should be quite wet. Grease your hands with some oil and shape the meat into desired balls. Some people like them big some people like them small, some people like them round some people like them flat. Coat a saucepan with oil and brown the meatballs on all sides. Place them on the kitchen paper to absorb the superfluous fat. Serve with a vegetable salad.