Sweden, the land of Ikea and the ubiquitous Swedish meatball. Those bite sized balls of meaty goodness formed from beef, pork, onion, bread crumbs, egg, water, salt, and pepper, and served with mashed potatoes, lingonberry jam, and gravy. And all for a very modest £3.95 in the United Kingdom. So popular are they, that 2 million meatballs are eaten in Ikea stores worldwide every day, every one of which makes it contribution to the 5% of annual turnover Ikea generates from food sales.
As I say, Swedish meatballs are ubiquitious. Not only can you buy them at Ikea, but also from supermarkets, either fresh or frozen. Recipes abound online, including one to make authentic Ikea meatballs using their own recipe. So, without further ado here’s another traditional Swedish recipe, kalops, a hearty stew of beef, vegetables, and spices, the name of which purportedly originates with the English word, collops, though interestingly the Oxford English Dictionary tells us that the word ‘collop’ while late Middle English is of Scandinavian origin. As a dish, kalops dates to at least 1755 when it was included in the book Hjelpreda I hushållningen för unga Fruentimber by Swedish housekeeper and author Anna Christina Warg, or Cajsa Warg as she is popularly known
“Skiär oxekiött uti tunna skifwor både fett och magert, och bulta dem mycket wäl; smörg en liten järngryta med smör och lägg kiött-skifworna hwarftals deruti med litet miöl, lök, peppar, salt och lagerbärs-blad, lägg låck derpå och lät det på sackta eld stå at brynas, och när det blifwer gulbrunt, slås så mycket upkokat watten deruppå at det blifwer lagom lång sauce, och lät det sedan koka lyckt til des kiöttet blifwer mört.”
(Text of Cajsa Warg’s kalops recipe, 1755)
1 kilo of beef
200 grams carrots
3 tablespoons of concentrated calf fond
2 beef stock cubes
1 tablespoons of butter
1 tablespoon of oil
2 tablespoons of flour
1 litre of water
12 allspice berries
12 white peppercorns
Cube the beef into pieces approximately 3cm by 3cm. Peel the carrots and onions cut into similarly sized chunks. Heat the butter and oil in a saucepan and then brown the beef. Add the chopped carrots and onions, the allspice and seasoning, the beef stock, and the calf fond. Cook for a few minutes, stirring occasionally.
Sprinkle over the flour and mix well. Then add the water and bring to the boil. Skim off any foam, and reduce the heat to a gentle simmer. Cover the saucepan and cook for 1 and a half hours. Stir occasionally and add water if required.
Serve with boiled potatoes and slices of pickled beetroot.
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