Finally the good weather has returned to our shores! If all this sunshine has got you craving a European adventure, you don’t have to wait for the summer holidays; take yours and your family’s taste buds on a continental tour instead with these three delicious European recipes.
Known for their pickled herring and minimalist yet rustic dishes, Scandinavia is a fantastic source of food inspo when it comes to cooking for the family. While there are hundreds of recipes to choose from, we think you can’t beat the famously classic dish of Swedish meatballs with gravy, mash, and lingonberry jam. Here’s The Recipe Critic’s best Swedish meatballs recipe.
- ground beef
- ¼ cup panko bread crumbs
- 1 tablespoon parsley, chopped
- ¼ teaspoon ground allspice
- ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ¼ cup onion, finely chopped
- ½ teaspoon Garlic Powder
- ⅛ teaspoon Pepper
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 egg
- 1 tbsp. olive oil
- 5 tbsp. butter
- 3 tbsp. flour
- 2 cups beef broth
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tsp. Dijon mustard
- salt and pepper to taste
- In a medium sized bowl combine ground beef, panko, parsley, allspice, nutmeg, onion, garlic powder, pepper, salt and egg. Mix until combined.
- Roll into 12 large meatballs or 20 small meatballs. In a large skillet heat olive oil and 1 Tablespoon butter. Add the meatballs and cook turning continuously until brown on each side and cooked throughout. Transfer to a plate and cover with foil.
- Add 4 Tablespoons butter and flour to skillet and whisk until it turns brown. Slowly stir in beef broth and heavy cream. Add Worcestershire sauce and Dijon mustard and bring to a simmer until sauce starts to thicken. Salt and pepper to taste.
- Add the meatballs back to the skillet and simmer for another 1-2 minutes. Serve over egg noodles or rice.
Taste… Eastern Europe
If you fancy treating the family to something a little different from the ordinary, Eastern European cuisine has plenty of great inspiration. Great for chilly rainy days or when you want a fuss-free one-pot family recipe, Poland’s bigos stew is particularly workable because you can cook it with any meat and leftovers – although you’ll need to source some more unusual ingredients to perfect this authentic dish. Here’s the Hairy Biker’s bigos stew recipe:
- 50g/1¾oz butter
- 1 onion, sliced
- 1 tsp juniper berries, crushed
- ½ tsp caraway seeds
- 300g/10½oz lean pork belly, cubed
- 1 tbsp brown sugar
- 500g/1lb 2oz sauerkraut
- half a white cabbage, shredded
- 200g/7oz fresh chopped tomatoes or 400g tin tomatoes
- 500ml/18fl oz chicken or beef stock
- 10g/¼oz dried mushroom
- 300g/10½oz smoked Polish sausage, such as kabanas, chopped
- 1 apple, grated
- Flaked sea salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Melt the butter in a large casserole. Add the onion and sauté over a medium heat until the onion is softened and translucent. Sprinkle over the juniper berries and caraway, then add the pork. Sprinkle over the brown sugar. Turn the heat up high for a couple of minutes, turning the meat so it browns well.
- Drain the sauerkraut well and give it a rinse if you want to reduce the vinegar flavour. The easiest thing to do is squeeze it out with your hands. Add to the casserole with the white cabbage and chopped tomatoes, then pour over the stock. Simmer for about 30 minutes.
- Soak the dried mushrooms in warm water. When they have softened, drain, adding their soaking liquor to the casserole. Chop the mushrooms finely and add these to the casserole, along with the sausage and apple.
- Simmer for a further hour and a half and serve or cover overnight and reheat the following day.
Taste… The Med
Fresh seafood, tasty spices, warm sunshine, and bright colours are all typical of Mediterranean life and cuisine, and no dish brings all these things together like a beautiful Spanish paella. An easy dish to cook for a big family, paella is a great way to introduce little ones to seafood. Here’s BBC Good Food’s easy paella recipe:
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 tsp each hot smoked paprika and dried thyme
- 300g paella or risotto rice
- 3 tbsp dry sherry or white wine (optional)
- 400g can chopped tomatoes with garlic
- 900ml chicken stock
- 400g bag frozen seafood mix
- juice ½ lemon, other half cut into wedges
- handful flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped
- Heat the oil in a large frying pan or wok. Add the onion and soften for 5 mins. Stir in the paprika, thyme and rice, stir for 1 min, then splash in the Sherry or wine, if using. Once it has evaporated, stir in the tomatoes and stock. Season and cook, uncovered, for about 15 mins, stirring now and again until rice is almost tender and still surrounded with some liquid.
- Stir the frozen seafood into the pan and cover with a lid. Simmer for 5 mins, or until the prawns are cooked through and the rice is tender. Squeeze over the lemon juice, scatter with parsley and serve with extra lemon wedges.