Meatballs are not only for frying. In Scandinavia, we have a lot of dishes with boiled meatballs, and when you look in old cookbooks, like one by Madam Mangor from 1837, she includes recipes for meatballs in sauce. This classic dish is, I think, one of my ultimate comfort dishes.
FOR THE MEATBALLS
- 500 g / 1lb 2oz minced ground pork
- 1 small onion finely grated
- ½ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- 2 eggs lightly beaten
- 2 tablespoons plain all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons breadcrumbs
- 1 teaspoon each of sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
FOR THE BROTH
- 1 tablespoon sea salt
- 3 bay leaves
- 5 thyme sprigs
FOR THE SAUCE
- 1 1/2 pounds celery root celeriac
- 2 leeks
- 3 apples
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 3 tablespoons plain all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup spelt grain
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Small bunch of parsley or chervil chopped, to serve
- Mix the minced pork with all the other meatball ingredients. For the broth, pour 6 cups water into a saucepan, add the salt and herbs and bring to a boil.
- Use a spoon to form the meatball mixture into balls, lower them into the boiling water and let them cook for 10–15 minutes until they rise to the surface, which means they are done.
- Remove them from the broth with a slotted spoon and set aside.
- Strain 3½ cups of the broth into a jug.
- Meanwhile, peel the celeriac and cut into 2-cm / ¾-in cubes. Slice the leeks and rinse well. Cut the apples into slices 1cm / ½ in thick. Melt the butter in a large saucepan.
- Add the flour and stir well, then add the reserved broth a little at a time, stirring constantly until the sauce is smooth, without any lumps.
- Add the leeks and celeriac and let it simmer for 20 minutes.
- Add the meatballs and apples about 5 minutes before the end of cooking, and cook until the meatballs are warmed through.
- Meanwhile, rinse the spelt grain in several changes of cold water. Cook in lightly salted water for 15–20 minutes, then drain.
- Season the meatball sauce to taste with salt and pepper, sprinkle with the parsley or chervil and serve with the spelt.