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Mama Frischkorn's Swedish Meatballs

(Serves 6)  Pair with the 2010 Rockfall Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon

Chef Eric's mother has made these meatballs every Christmas since the 1970s and they are fantastic. After preparing the meat mixture, you might think there is something wrong with the consistency, but this is the key to the recipe. The looseness of the mixture will result in one of the moistest meatballs you’ve ever had.

¾ cup panko (Japanese bread crumbs)
1 cup heavy cream
1 egg
¾ pound ground beef
¼ pound ground pork
½ yellow onion, minced and cooked until tender
2 tbsp. minced fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 tbsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. freshly ground pepper
1/8 tsp. ground ginger
 Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
 6 cups vegetable oil
 2 tbsp. all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
 2 tbsp. unsalted butter
 ¼ cup red wine, such as Cabernet Sauvignon
 1 ¼ cups veal stock or beef broth
 2 tbsp. strong black coffee
 Egg noodles or mashed potatoes for serving

In a large bowl, combine the bread crumbs and cream and let stand for 15 minutes. Mix in the egg, then mix in the ground beef, pork, onion, parsley, salt, pepper, ginger and nutmeg. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour before forming the meatballs. 

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Spoon about 30 portions of the meat mixture onto the prepared baking sheet. Working quickly, roll the portions into balls. Refrigerate the meatballs for 30 minutes more.  

Preheat the oven to 325°F.  

Line a baking sheet with paper towels. Pour the vegetable oil into a 4-quart heavy-duty stainless-steel pot and heat to 350ºF on a deep-frying thermometer. Lightly dust the meatballs with flour. Working in batches, fry the meatballs until golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes per batch. Transfer the meatballs to the paper towel-lined baking sheet.  

In a large saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Whisk in the flour and brown the flour slowly for about 5 minutes. Slowly whisk in the wine, stock and coffee. Add the meatballs and toss to coat. Transfer the meatballs and sauce to a baking dish. Cover, transfer to the oven and bake for about 30 minutes. Serve immediately over egg noodles or mashed potatoes.

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