Thursday, November 14, 2013

Finnish Meatballs (Lihapullat) Recipe!

The recipe you have all been waiting for, just in time for you to win Thanksgiving...

For my American friends/relatives, you will recognize this as Swedish Meatballs, aka the thing they have at IKEA.  But the Finns make them also, and just call them by a different name.  Just as delicious, or as is the case with this recipe, way more delicious than IKEA's - seriously you have to try them.  A huge thanks to my friend Jenni for teaching me her "killer meatball recipe"!

Difficulty - Simple.  Can you roll meat into balls?  Takes like 30 minutes total

The name
Lihapullat is another wonderful compound Finnish word.  Liha + pulla + t = Meat + round cinnamon bun + plural.  Yup, so the translation is "meat cinnamon buns" for some reason (or maybe pulla has other meanings?).  I have seen other names, but why bother with names that aren't ridiculous?

Makes ~30 meatballs.  A normal serving is something like 7-10 meatballs when served the traditional way with potatoes and gravy.

400 g (14 oz) ground meat.  This can be pretty much anything, including moose or reindeer, though
200 g (7 oz) kermavili (sour cream)
1 pussi (1 package) ranskalainen sipuli keitto (French onion soup)
1 kananmuna (egg)
Spices (Use whatever combination you want!)
   - maustepippuri (allspice) This is the only one you have to use - this makes it Finnish
   - suola (salt)
   - mustapippuri (black pepper)
   - paprika (paprika)
   - oregano (oregano)
   - timjami (thyme)

  1. Mix everything together.  I don't think the order really matters, just go down the list.
  2. Shape the meatballs (in case you have never had these before, they're about 1" in diameter), with your hands or using two spoons.
  3. Cook them:
    1. Option 1 - Fry them in a pan (don't need oil or anything, these make their own juice).  This is good because you can use the juices that inevitably escape to make an awesome gravy to accompany the meatballs.  But if you are making a bazillion, it might take a while to make them all.
    2. Option 2 - Bake them (225C ~ 425F) for about 15 minutes, until golden/crispy.  Good for making a huge batch, but you might lose some juice.  My Finnish friends put down parchment paper, but I think that is just because they do that for anything baked - the juices will get everywhere and a bit of paper is not really going to help.
Meatballs! Also pictured: salmiakki (more on that some other time...)
Photo courtesy of Linnet Mertz because I'm really bad at remembering to take pictures

There are several traditional ways to serve these.  I have only ever had them with mashed potatoes and gravy (which can be made from the juices from cooking them), and sof I would recommend that.

1 comment:

  1. Pulla is not a cinnamon roll. It is a braided sweet coffee bread which is flavoured with cardamom. Cinnamon doesn't enter the picture, unless you are making korvapuusti - which is made of pulla dough. That's another story. Use finely ground dry bread crumbs soaked in milk. Flavour with salt,pepper and allspice. Paprika is not a traditional Finnish spice.