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Menu suggestion...what to make with Swedish Meatballs and Potato cakes

I am planning a menu for a special night with friends. I am a little torn (and stumped) about what to put with the Swedish Meatballs in a creamy lingonberry gravy and Yukon gold potato patties. I was thinking braised fennel, but the color is so similar to the other dishes, I'm afraid it would be unappetizing. I had thought of Brussels sprouts, but not everyone loves them. I think the menu needs something a little tangy or vinegary to offset the richness of the meatballs and potatoes.

Also, what would you start the meal with?

help!

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  1. I'd start the meal with some sort of whitefish fritter or a chowder.

    And to go with the meatballs & potatoes, a red cabbage braised with red wine (or red wine vinegar), onions, fennel seed or juniper berries.

    9 Replies
    1. re: weezycom

      Exactly my thoughts about the cabbage dish!

      1. re: CookieWeasel

        weezy..weasel...

        great minds not only think alike, they sound alike, too!

        1. re: weezycom

          The braised cabbage would be so nice, and colorful. I was hoping to find something that wouldn't be so monochromatic as the brown meatballs, golden potatoes. Do you have a recipe for the cabbage you'd mind sharing?

          1. re: kgreig

            Use a big cookpot. Throw in a medium yellow onion (not sweet), chopped, sauteed in some canola oil until translucent. Add a medium head of cabbage, outer leaves & core removed, quartered & thinly sliced, one apple peeled cored & chopped, 1 and 1/4 cups apple cider vinegar, about a tablespoon of kosher salt (start with a bit less, you can add some more after things cook down if you think it needs it), and a tablespoon or so of caraway seeds OR juniper berries OR 1/4 cup of gin. Sitr it around, turn it down to medium low and cover, stirring every now and again for about 30-45 minutes.

            ETA: this keeps in the fridge for about 10 days-2 weeks due to the high vinegar content

        2. re: weezycom

          Oh my gosh, I clicked on the thread to say just that. I have made this meal so many times!!!! Except usually with mashed potatoes. I usually put apples in the red cabbage, as well.

          1. re: Full tummy

            That is one of my go-to vegetables, including the apple. Mustn't cook it too long or the cabbage loses its red and can end up a weird shade of blue. Another alternative is sauerkraut, but include some julienned carrots and strips of red pepper to bounce up the colour.
            With an acidified veg I like rosti.

            1. re: Paulustrious

              I could eat rosti anytime, especially with poitrine fumée (gotta get me some) and red cabbage. Now that's a combo. Yum!

              1. re: Full tummy

                Full Tummy or Paul...do you have a recipe for rosti that you'd like to share? There is one I love that is finished with sliced tomatoes and raclette cheese...(probably too rich for this menu, but a keeper otherwise)

        3. How about green peas with tiny pieces of mushrooms and roasted red peppers, well-seasoned of course? Why not make the meatballs with regular pan gravy (after browning the meatballs, make the gravy from the pan drippings, then cook the meatballs in the gravy for a half-hour like my mother and all of our Norwegian immigrant friends did), then serve the lingonberries on the side?

          1. Why not a beet salad with orange dressing or cucumbers in a salt/sugar "pickling" solution? I'd start with smoked salmon on cucumber (if cucumbers aren't your side dish) or gravlax on rye with mustard.

            10 Replies
            1. re: Dcfoodblog

              I made them this summer and, along with boiled potatoes, served a cucumber salad and a beet salad with a creamy horseradish dressing. For me, that cucumber salad is a must when I make Swedish meatballs. For dessert, I made a Swedish apple cake that is very easy.

              1. re: MMRuth

                Please share the recipe for the cucumber salad!!!

                1. re: Full tummy

                  The one I made this summer is from Scandinavian Feasts, by Beatrice Ojakangas. (That's the only book of hers I have, but I love it, and she has many other interesting looking Scandinavian books.)

                  2 large European Style Cucumbers
                  1/2 cup lemon juice or white wine vinegar (I might have used 50/50)
                  1/2 cup sugar
                  1 tsp salt
                  Dash white pepper (I'm pretty sure I just used black)
                  4 T chopped fresh dill
                  Dill sprigs for garnishing

                  Slice the washed cukes "paper thin", and mix the lemon/vinegar, sugar, salt, pepper and add to the cukes in a bowl. Sprinkle dill on top, and then refrigerate for 3 hours. Then drain, and serve with the garnish.

                  The other one I use is from a v. old book that my mother bought when we lived in Southern Sweden:

                  1 med cucumber (about a lb)
                  1/2 cup Swedish spirit vinegar (could never find it - used white wine)
                  1 1/4 cups water
                  1/3 cup sugar
                  Finely chopped parsley

                  Slice the cuke into thin slices. Mix the dressing ingredients (minus parsley). Let it sit for a couple of minutes, and stir occasionally to make sure the sugar dissolves. Toss the dressing with the cukes, add the parsley, chill for about 2 hours.

                    1. re: MMRuth

                      My (Danish) mother did this vinegar-bathed cucumber thing, and almost always served it along with sliced cold beets. Don't recall if the beets also got their own vinegar bath. Sometimes she would do onions that way too, and add them to the salad plate. Made for a very pretty salad, and fat-free too.

                      1. re: Sharuf

                        How much sugar did she add? It would be great to find a nice cucumber salad without so much sugar.

                        1. re: Full tummy

                          I think I may not have used quite the full amount called for when I made it.

                          1. re: Full tummy

                            Don't know her recipe. A little sugar was involved, and some water to cut the vinegar.

                        2. re: MMRuth

                          that sounds like such a lovely salad!!!

                  1. Multi-greens salad lightly dressed to balance out the meatballs and the potato cakes.

                    1. I just made Swedish Meatballs on Wednesday! I served sauteed Broccoli with olive oil, s&p, and red pepper flakes. Provided nice contrast to to the creaminess of the gravy.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: goldy12

                        I was thinking of something like that, to cut through the creaminess and rich flavors

                      2. I love the idea of a beet salad with this dish. Either with the orange dressing, as suggested, or mixed with a bit of crumbly white cheese and walnuts...

                        1. So many great suggestion! I would lean toward braised cabbage with cream and/or baked apples. I'd start the meal with wine, cheese & bread.

                          1. KGreig- do you have a good recipe for Swedish meatballs that you can share? My boyfriend keeps asking for me to make them- and most of the "recipes" I find are "buy a package in the store and heat"....
                            Thanks in advance!

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: fmcoxe6188

                              Here's the recipe that I've used for years:

                              http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/282786

                              A couple comments - I now use about 1 1/2 tsps all spice - I usually start with a little less, then fry up a little bit of the mixture, and adjust the seasoning as needed. Also, on another thread, a poster suggested chilling the mixture before forming them into balls, and that helps a lot.

                            2. Don't forget the lingonberry sauce!

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: Passadumkeg

                                that is a must! Without it is like having turkey with no cranberries! Sacrilege!