Monday, November 29, 2010

IKEA Swedish Feast

 Ikea, is known as a store that sells moderately priced furniture that you put together yourself. Everything  has quite the European flair to it, being that Ikea is based out of Sweden, and most of their designers are Swedish. The store itself is immense, and you can take a few hours to wonder around its entirety. Hell, the first time I went to Ikea, I could not find my way out of the damn place. This coming from someone who holds one the quickest times ever for the night time land navigation course at Ft.Knox Kentucky. One of the cool things at Ikea is that they have a restaurant inside serving up Swedish food. I'm guessing this is mainly for the people that spend days in Ikea not being able to find there way out. Having talked to a friend that eats at Ikea on occasion,due to his workplace being nearby, the food served is very reasonably priced and tastes pretty good. They also have a section that sells frozen and refrigerated Swedish food items to take home. So in my demented mind I thought, what would be better then to make a Swedish meal with food bought from Ikea? So here is what I bought.
 1 bag of Swedish Meatballs
 2 packs of dried cream sauce to place the meatballs in
 1 Jar of Lingonberry Jam (A traditional accompaniment to Swedish meatballs)
 1 Can of Fish Balls ( not actual fish testicles, but a mixture of cod fish and potato in ball form)
 1 box of Potato Patties
 I cant remember what the price of each item was individually but the entire total for my Swedish feast came in under $15.00.

 The meatballs were easy enough to cook, needing to only be reheated. For this I poured the bag of meatballs into a big Le Creuset iron enameled pot. My first impression was "WOW, this is a shitload of meatballs".  I added a little olive oil to help brown the meatballs
Swedish Balls
   The sauce was easy to make as well. Ikea recommends 2 sauce packets for each bag of meatballs, so that is what I made. The sauce calls for just adding milk with the packet of dry mix and stirring over heat. To flavor up the sauce a little, I added 2 tablespoons of butter, and a little bit of Garam Masala seasoning. The Garam Masala adds a little complexity to the sauce, and the main ingredient of Garam Masala, Cardamon, is often used when making traditional Swedish meatballs.
Making the Sauce

Once the sauce was heated, and had thickened up a bit, I poured it over the meatballs.
Yum Yum Yum

 The Potato patties were frozen and came 8 to a box. They were also easy to cook as well, only needing browned up with a little butter in a saute pan.

The fish balls were a little bit of a challenge for me in that I have never cooked fish balls before. But I figured why not brown them up the same way I had cooked the potato patties. To accompany the fish balls I made a little bit of tartar sauce,using mayo,dill, onion, dill pickle relish, salt and pepper.
Fiskbullar Buljong ( Fish Balls)

  So how did everything taste?
 The Swedish Meatballs were superb. Being rich and flavorful. The lingonberry  jam made an excellent accompaniment to the meatballs. Lingonberries taste a lot like cranberries, so when you mix a little with the meatballs, you get that Thanksgiving flavor that you get when you mix cranberry sauce with turkey and stuffing.
 The potato patties were decent. Being pretty much your standard potato pancake. By themselves they were not very remarkable, but when dipped into the meatball sauce they were pretty good.
 The fish balls were the low-light of the meal as I expected. They tasted similar to imitation crab meat (Surimi) with a very weird gelatinous texture, plus they were a little fishier tasting. Even my great tartar sauce could not rescue these things. While they were not throw up in your mouth bad, they just were not all that impressive. Hell, you might as well saute up a real fish fillet if you want fish.
Swedish Feast = Nom Nom Nom
  Really cant complain about this meal. For under $15.00 dollars you could feed 6 people, and have fish balls left over to feed the dog. When I go back to Ikea, I will without hesitation grab some more meatballs and sauce. The fish balls will be substituted with something else however.

Swedish Meatballs and Sauce:   9/10

Potato Patties:  6/10

Fish Balls: 4/10 

2001 Park Manor Blvd.
Robinson Town Centre
Pittsburgh, PA 15205

Store hours:
Monday - Saturday:
10am - 9pm
Sunday: 10am - 7pm


  1. Three cheers for IKEA meatballs, and I'm not being sarcastic. I love 'em. Also, I've found that the packets of sauce mix are a lot better than many dry envelope gravy mixes sold in the supermarkets. Great idea with the garam masala, BTW, that was inspired.

  2. Did they not have fish balls with sauce?
    Usually you eat fish balls with dill sauce.
    I see you steak the fish balls. Nobody is steaking fish balls in Sweden we cook them in the sauce.