I like to think I am pretty honest with you. Not in a take a photo of my stretchmarks and post it to Instagram kind of a way. I’d have to be paid a lot to do that. (I do have a price for this kind of thing… don’t we all? Oh, okay, just me). Anyway, I digress. I am honest with you in that I don’t pretend making macarons is easy. I don’t try and profess that making homemade soup brings you closer to God (whichever one you worship… even the God that is blue cheese). I’m also not going to pretend these meatballs are speedy.
They’re the closest I can get to Ikea meatballs without hotfooting it to the nearest blue and yellow motorway church (what is it with all the religion references today? sorry…) or popping into my local Iceland. (What you didn’t know Iceland sell Ikea meatballs? The actual real deal! Yep – they do and they’re 25p cheaper in Iceland. Go figure). BUT (and there’s always a but when good stuff is involved) making meatballs that are as good as (if not better) than Ikea’s takes time.
I can’t just tell you to pop everything into a food processor, whizz it up and off you go. Sorry. I know that’s what everyone wants, but (another but.. pah!) life just isn’t like that. If you want Ikea meatballs you’re going to have to work for it. I even made the creamy sauce that they serve with the little pockets of meaty heaven. It’s incredibly, disgustingly calorific but hey, who cares, this is about obtaining meatball perfection, not worrying about hips and thighs. I’m not Rosemary Conley and neither are you.
Lots of great recipes like this in my books, Recipes from a Normal Mum, (available on Amazon, at The Works, Waterstones, WHSmith, The Book Depository and many smaller outlets) and The Power of Frozen (available exclusively in Iceland stores and through their website) which is just £2.99 at the mo! And no, the recipes are not just about frozen food. Every recipe has instructions of how to make with chilled ingredients too.
This time last year: Rye, spelt & poppy seed rolls, Never fail pancakes, Fluffy sweet potato pancakes, Mars Bar brownies and I wrote a letter to my 15 year old self with all the things I’d wish I’d known over 20 years ago.
Ikea style meatballs in a creamy sauce
For the meatballs:
- 1 onion, peeled and very finely chopped (about 85g)
- 25g salted butter
- 70g peeled, cooked potato
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp allspice
- 1/2 tsp ground white pepper
- 1 clove garlic, peeled and crushed
- 290mls milk
- 85g breadcrumbs
- 75g plain flour
- 250g beef mince
- 250g pork mince
- 1 large egg
- 2 tbsp fresh dill, very finely chopped (or 2 tsp dried dill, though this is only as a last resort)
For the sauce:
- 25g salted butter
- 20g plain flour
- 600mls hot beef stock (homemade or you can use a stock cube)
- 300mls double cream
- 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
- 2 tbsp fresh parsley, roughly chopped
Fry the onion in a frying pan with the butter over a low heat for about 10 minutes until soft, stirring occasionally. Grate the potato (you can also use 70g frozen mashed potato defrosted if you prefer) and add to the pan along with the salt, allspice (this is NOT the same as mixed spice – it’s a ground up berry, not a mixture of nutmeg, cloves etc), white pepper (again, please don’t substitute black pepper if you’re looking for authentic Ikea meatball flavour) and garlic. Fry for a further 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, then add the milk and turn the heat up to medium.
Stir the onion mixture as it’s bubbling away and remove from the heat when it’s thickened to the consistency of a thick gravy. This takes about 10 – 15 minutes. Add the breadcrumbs, stir until they absorb the liquid and the mixture looks like a nasty sludge. Remove from the heat.
Grab a bowl and fill it with cold water. Next to it pour the flour onto a plate. Next to that arrange some non stick baking parchment over a large roasting tin. Preheat the oven to 200C/fan 180C/gas mark 6. Now we are ready to begin the meatball making process. Mix together the beef, pork, egg and dill in a large bowl using your hands. Ensure the dill is really well distributed. Add the onion-bread sludge mixture (don’t wash the frying pan – we need it for the sauce!) and again use your hands to mix together. Now dip your hands in the cold water, take a bit of the very wet mixture, slightly smaller than a golf ball and roll into a ball in your palms. Gently roll in the flour and place in the roasting tin. Repeat (especially the water stage) until all the mixture is used up, then bake in the oven for 30 minutes, turning carefully once. I made 30 meatballs. Please don’t be tempted to make the meatballs smaller as they shrink in the oven.
Now make the sauce. You need the grubby looking frying pan that has the bread mixture in it. Don’t wash it – it has lots of flavour that we need. Add to it the butter (from the sauce ingredients) and fry on a low heat until the butter is bubbling. Next add the flour and use a whisk to mix together. Whisk over a low heat for about 2 minutes. Add 200mls of the beef stock and whisk the sauce rigorously until smooth. Then add more beef stock and whisk again. Continue until all the stock is in the frying pan and turn the heat to medium. Leave the sauce to bubble and reduce for about 10 – 15 minutes until it has a thick gravy consistency. Add the double cream and Worcestershire sauce, whisk well and leave the sauce to reduce back to the thick gravy consistency again. (Takes about 3 – 5 minutes).
Serve the meatballs with mashed potato or rice, lashings of the creamy sauce and a little parsley over the top. If you find the sauce is ready before your meatballs, turn the hob off and reheat the sauce 10 minutes later – it’ll need a good whisk.
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