Swedish Turkey Meatballs with Spaetzle

Life has been very busy since the holiday season ended. Of course I’m feeding my family and making daily dinners. I just haven’t had the opportunity to blog the recipes I have been developing. The recipes are on many Post-its in my Recipe Journal. I need to light a fire under my fingertips and get typing.

Over the holidays, my friend and professional photographer, Lana was visiting and she gave me some great DSLR lessons. Since I take all my blog and Instagram pictures in ‘real time’ as I’m cooking my family’s dinner and the end plate is my dinner plate. She helped me with my camera settings, i.e. ISO, f-stop etc. and lighting for my night shoots in my kitchen and at my permanent staging table. What a wonderful difference from the iPhone pictures I was using previously on the blog. The pictures are visually more appealing and more professional. Check out Lana’s Facebook Viva Image Group – Photography and Videography Service

Tonight’s dinner, as with most of the 5 o’clock rush dinners, came to fruition at about 5pm 😉 with what was available in the fridge and freezer. Swedish Meatballs smothered in gravy and served on a spaetzle is very comforting for a late January dinner. And it is very simple to whip up.

If you are a regular reader of the 5 o’clock rush, you will know that I stock pile a LOT of ingredients ahead and save leftover components in the freezer. The kids are disappointed when is no room for ice cream!

The caramelized onions were made ahead from previous recipe. Caramelizing onions are very time-consuming so when I make them I usually double up.

If you have leftover kale from your kale chips or salad, remove stems from cleaned kale and place in a Ziploc freezer bag and it can be chopped to add to soups or sauces

And the balsamic mushroom enhancers are also in the freezer from a previous adventure Flavour Enhancers for Future Recipes ** but with reduced balsamic vinegar for added flavour.

Check out my Instagram @the5oclockrush to see my daily dinners photos.

Swedish Turkey Meatballs with Spaetzle

Makes about 40 Mini Meatballs Serves 4-6
Swedish Turkey Meatballs with Spaetzle

My Dinner Plate Swedish Turkey Meatballs with Spaetzle

Mise En Place

Mise En Place

Mise En Place

  • 1-500g pkge. Bechtle™ spaetzle or egg noodles

Meatballs

  • 1 lb. extra lean ground turkey
  • ½ cup breadcrumbs
  • ¼ cup cooked caramelized onions *
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbsp. balsamic mushroom enhancer **
  • ¼ cup frozen kale or spinach, chopped ***
  • 1 tsp. rosemary, stem removed and finely chopped
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • ½ tsp. black pepper

Gravy

Mise En Place

Mise En Place

  • 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • ½ cup cooked caramelized onions
  • 3 tbsp. flour
  • 3 tbsp. butter or canola oil
  • 3 cups chicken stock, homemade or terra packed
  • 2 tbsp. balsamic mushroom enhancer
  • 1 tsp. coarse grain Dijon mustard
  • ¼ tsp. black pepper
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • green onions, sliced
  • finely chopped rosemary

Garnish

  • fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • olive oil or melted butter
  • sour cream

Place a large pot of heavily salted water on the stove to boil.

In a large bowl, combine extra lean ground turkey, bread crumbs, egg, balsamic mushroom enhancer, kale, and cooked onion; season with salt and pepper. Using a wooden spoon or your ‘gloved’ hands, stir until well combined. Using a small spring-loaded ice cream scoop, fill scoop with mixture and form about 40 meatballs.

Meatball Mixture

Meatball Mixture

Using enough olive oil to coat the bottom of a 12-inch cast iron skillet. Add meatballs, in batches, and cook until all sides are browned, about 3-4 minutes. Transfer to a plate.

To make the gravy, melt butter in the same cast iron skillet. Add the finely minced garlic and caramelized onions. Whisk in flour until lightly browned, about 1 minute. Gradually whisk in chicken broth and cook, whisking constantly, until slightly thickened, about 1-2 minutes. Add in the grainy mustard and balsamic mushroom enhancers. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Stir in meatballs, rosemary, sliced green onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until meatballs are cooked through and thickened, about 8-10 minutes.

Cook spaetzle according to package instructions.

Drain noodles, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with fresh chopped parsley.

Serve immediately, garnished with sour cream, if desired.

Swedish Turkey Meatballs with Spaetzle

My Dinner Tonight Swedish Turkey Meatballs with Spaetzle

Swedish Turkey Meatballs with Spaetzle

My actual Dinner Plate of Swedish Turkey Meatballs with Spaetzle (6:45pm)

* To make a quick version of caramelize onions:

Caramelizing onions is a long slow process to develop the sweet, rich flavours which can take up to 90 minutes to prepare. This is a ‘cheater’ version.

Chop a large onion into a medium to fine dice.

Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion, and cook, stirring frequently, until onions have become soft and rich brown colour, about 10-15 minutes. Add a little sugar to speed up the process.

Dinner Tonight-Swedish Meatballs

Dinner Tonight-Swedish Meatballs iPhone photo (6:45pm)

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My Best Gravy for Thanksgiving Dinner

A Happy Thanksgiving to my American followers.

I hope that you are having an amazing day, watched the Macy’s Day parade and ready for football with family and friends while your feast is roasting and simmering away on the stove.

This is the last post for My Best Gravy for Thanksgiving Dinner will be the best compliment to all the past recipes I have posted for your Thanksgiving feast.

Check them all out here by clicking links below:

My Best Stuffing for Thanksgiving Dinner

My Best Roast Turkey for Thanksgiving Dinner

and the most popular My Best Mashed Potatoes for Thanksgiving Dinner

My Best Gravy for Thanksgiving Dinner

Serves 6-8
Thanksgiving Dinner 2014

Thanksgiving Dinner 2014

Mise En Place

Turkey Stock

Turkey Necks and Vegetables for Stock

Turkey Necks and Vegetables for Stock

  • Neck from your turkey
  • 1 carrot, peeled
  • 1 onion, peeled and quartered
  • 2-3 stalks celery
  • parsley stems
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 4-6 cups cold water

Combine neck bone, onion, garlic cloves, carrots, parsley stems, bay leaves and celery stalks and 4-6 cups cold water in a medium pot. Bring to a boil over high heat; skim off impurities then reduce heat to low and simmer, uncovered, 1 hour. Pass mixture through a fine sieve. Reserve stock for making gravy.

Remove the turkey from the oven, and place on a cutting board with rimmed cookie sheet underneath to catch any juices. Cover with aluminum foil and allow resting for at least 30 minutes up to an hour.

Remove the roasted vegetables from the bottom of the pan.

* A trick that I use for a flavourful and thick gravy is to use roasted vegetables. I pass them through a fine-meshed strainer or you could place in a blender with a little of your stock. This puree will be added to the gravy after the roux is formed.

Or if you choose not to use; discard the vegetables.

Making the Gravy

Mise En Place

  • Turkey drippings from your roasting pan
  • pureed vegetables from your roasting pan *
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups starchy potato water from making your mashed potatoes **
  • 1 cup white wine
  • salt and pepper
  • freshly chopped sage

Place roasting pan on stove across two burners.

Bring pan juices to a simmer over medium-high. Cook, scraping up browned bits with a wooden spoon until smooth and the liquid starts to thicken.

Using these drippings make the roux in the roasting pan with equal amounts of flour to fats in the pan.

Cook, stirring, until blended, about 1 minute.

Add passed or pureed roasted vegetables now if using.

Time to switch to a whisk and gradually add in hot turkey stock, and the reserved starchy potato water ** Just like reserving 1-2 cups of salty pasta cooking water for pasta dishes, I think that there is a little flavour and starchiness in potato water, if you don’t have just leave out.

Add white wine if using, or beer, cider or bourbon are good alternatives.

Whisking continuously.

It is about 4 ounces of roux to a quart of liquid

Bring to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until gravy thickens and no longer tastes floury, about 5 minutes.

I always pass gravy through a fine sieve to confirm that there are no huge lumps of flour or vegetables that were missed; season with salt and pepper. Add finely chopped sage and keep warm.

If adding rustic or woody stem herbs such as thyme or rosemary; add at the beginning. If adding delicate herbs such as parsley or sage at the end.

I think that if you follow that above steps of My Best Gravy for Thanksgiving Dinner you will be pleased with the results.

Tip: A coffee thermos makes a great vessel for keeping gravy warm.

 

 

 

Solutions for the typical problems when making gravy.

Lumpy Gravy

Strain it again through a fine-mesh strainer. Or use an electric appliance such as blender, or with a stick blender, until smooth.

Bland Gravy

A little more salt. If that doesn’t work, add Worcestershire sauce.

Gravy that is Too Thick

Whisk in boxed chicken broth until you’ve reached the right consistency, then taste and re-season the gravy again as needed.

Gravy that is Too Thin

Make a cornstarch slurry which equal parts cornstarch and COLD water. (1 tbsp. of cornstarch to 1 tbsp. of cold water to start) Whisk in a little the slurry and bring to a simmer. I have also used Robin Hood Easy Blend flour to thicken my gravy.

Thanksgiving Dinner 2014

Thanksgiving Dinner 2014

Thanksgiving DInner 2017

Thanksgiving Plate for 2017

Baked “Fried” Chicken & Pumpkin Cheddar Herbed Waffles with A Maple Gravy

I love my CUISINART CANADA Breakfast Central™ Waffle/Omelette Maker WAF-600C  so I was searching for a savoury recipe for waffles that would put it to use. Chicken and waffles is a great southern classic and is a dinner I always wanted to try it on the family. 😉

There are many versions of this classic available on the web. My search began with a chicken that had the attributes of being “fried” but did not involve a molten pot of oil on my stove.  And there are many recipes to cook chicken with a crispy crunchy skin that didn’t involve a deep fryer. But the thought of a Maple Gravy in this recipe that I adapted below had my taste buds curious.

Baked Fried 😉 Chicken & Pumpkin Cheddar Herbed Waffles with a Maple Gravy

 Adapted from Oven Fried Chicken & Waffles with Maple Gravy
Baked Fried Chicken and Pumpkin Herbed Cheddar Waffles with Maple Gravy

Baked Fried Chicken and Pumpkin Herbed Cheddar Waffles with Maple Gravy

 

Baked “Fried” Chicken Ingredients:

    • 1 cup buttermilk
    • 1 whole chicken, cut into 6 pieces (breasts, thighs, legs)
    • 1 cup all-purpose flour
    • 1/3 cup cornmeal
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • 3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
    • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
    • finely chopped fresh thyme leaves
    • Cooking spray

      Battered Chicken Pieces on baking rack

Place chicken and buttermilk in a container, cover and marinate in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 425°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil. Set a wire rack on the baking sheet and coat it with cooking spray.

Whisk together the remaining ingredients in a small bowl. Place this flour mixture in a paper bag or large sealable plastic bag. Place one piece of chicken in the bag and toss to coat. Shake off excess flour and place the chicken on the prepared rack. Repeat with remaining chicken pieces. Discard any leftover flour mixture and buttermilk marinade. Lightly coat chicken with cooking spray.

Bake at 425°F for 30 minutes; turn the pan and bake 20 minutes longer, or until chicken is brown and crispy. The chicken was incredibly moist and tender.

Pumpkin Cheddar Herbed Waffle Ingredients:

    • 2 cups all-purpose flour
    • 2 tablespoons sugar
    • 2 teaspoons baking powder
    • 1 teaspoon baking soda
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • 2 cups buttermilk
    • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
    • 1/4 cup of canned pumpkin puree
    • 1 cup of grated cheddar cheese
    • chopped fresh chives
    • 2 large eggs
    • Cooking spray, for waffle iron

      Mmmm Waffles

      Mmmm Waffles

Preheat the waffle iron to medium-high heat.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, grated cheddar cheese, and salt; set aside. In a large bowl, whisk together buttermilk, butter, pumpkin puree, chives and eggs; add the flour mixture, and mix until batter is combined. Do not over mix – there should still be some lumps.
Spray preheated waffle iron with cooking spray. Spoon a ladle full of batter approx.1/4 cup into the waffle iron and close the lid. Cook until golden brown about 4-5 minutes. Serve immediately or keep warm for a few minutes in a low heated oven.

 

Maple Gravy Ingredients:

    • 3 tablespoons butter
    • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour or Robin Hood ® Easy Blend
    • 1-3/4 cups chicken stock made from bones from chicken carcass
    • Salt and pepper to taste
    • 1/2 cup pure maple syrup

Make a roux.

Start by melting the 3 tablespoons of butter in a pan over medium heat.

When the butter melts and turns frothy, stir in the 3 tablespoons of all-purpose flour. You can use either a wooden spoon or a whisk.

As you continue to stir flour into the butter, you’ll see that a thick paste is forming stir constantly 2-3 minutes until flour turns golden brown. Slowly whisk in heated stock. Over medium-high heat, bring to a boil, stirring constantly until gravy thickens (about 10 minutes). Season with salt and pepper to taste, then stir in syrup. Reduce heat to low until ready to serve.

TO ASSEMBLE CHICKEN & WAFFLES: Cut waffles into halves or fourths. Stack waffle sections and top with chicken pieces then drizzle with copious amounts of maple gravy. Garnish with fresh chopped thyme and/or chives, if desired.

Finished dinner

Assembled Chicken and Waffles dinner