Thursday, February 10, 2011

Meatless Balls

While I was cutting up the potatoes for this recipe of Swedish meatlessballs I realized that I do not own a potato masher. I had already opted for almond meal over fresh almonds because I don't have a way to grind them, and accidentally bought ground flax seeds rather than whole, but in this case, I saw the lack of a potato masher as a serious hurdle. But when has that stopped me before?

I boiled the potatoes in straight up vegetable broth rather than a vegetable cube and water (the combination of which makes vegetable broth), and I allowed the spuds to soak up all of the broth before beating them with a spoon. Huzzah! “I now pronounce thee mashed.” Or “smashed” since I left the skins on and that seems to be the popular term for such a distinction. We've been over this before when I made potato and egg curry, but I'll reiterate: potato skins are good for you! Just be sure to cut out any eyes or green bits first.

I also neglected to buy an onion, so I skipped the onion browning and just added dashes of dried onion to the potato, nut, and seed mixture. Of course I had to taste this concoction before rolling it into balls and dropping them into hot oil, and the first test was positive. It's actually tasty! 

Once the balls were browned and popped in the oven, I turned my attention to the gravy, which was possibly the most difficult – or at least annoying – part. In my opinion, vegetable broth is just not that tasty. This isn't to say it isn't flavorful, I am just not sure I agree with the merit of those flavors. And the only thing I added to the broth was corn starch to thicken it, as directed. Blech!

So then I added some celery salt pilfered from my mother's cupboard and garlic powder. And after a bit I added some dried chopped onions because I didn't feel there was enough in the potato balls. The onion also added some distracting texture. As anyone who has thickened broth with corn starch knows, corn starch does not like liquid, and all too often forms those funky gelatinous chewy bits that are near impossible to get rid off. But what can you do? (If anyone has an answer to this, then this question is no longer rhetorical.) 

First thought upon poking at them in the oven: I don't think they held together... I probably should have let them brown for longer in the pan, but I was on a time crunch. I also probably should have made more gravy, but I really wasn't sure because the recipe didn't say how much to make, and I ran out of vegetable broth. 

As for the most important (at least in my opinion), the flavor is excellent! I could totally chow down on these little buggers as the main course of a meal. 

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