Jaloviina or Jallu is a legendary Finnish cut brandy, which is made by blending cognac with grain liquor. Its production began in 1932 as a cheaper alternative for cognac, and originally this three star grade Jallu had 3/4 of cognac. The Second World War cut luxury item supplies, and in 1940 Jallu had to be replaced by a one star grade, which had a mere 1/4 of cognac in it. During the difficult years the popularity of the drink grew, and has remained relatively high in demand ever since.
Ville Valo, the lead singer of a Finnish rock band HIM, has made meatballs served with Jallu sauce popular by announcing them his favorites. The recipe was developed a few years ago in his local hangout, Restaurant Tori in Helsinki.
I first tried the recipe a year ago, and both S and I instantly fell in love with the smooth, hearty taste of the sauce. The meatballs are also fine, but its the Jallu sauce that makes this dish so special. It was only a few weeks ago when we went to Tori to try out the original. Their portion is huge: five enormous meatballs with a mountain of mashed potatoes and plenty of sauce. Surely a trucker’s meal, but not surprisingly S didn’t seem to have any trouble finishing the plate. However, Tori’s meatballs were tough and plain, albeit the sauce and the mash were perfectly fine. After our second and third visit to Tori we had to conclude that tastewise there isn’t really a reason to leave home. The following recipe is really that good.
Finnish Meatballs in Cognac Sauce, i.e., Jallupullat
For the meatballs:
450 g (1 lbs) ground pork and beef
1 dl (0.4 cups) cr?me fraîche
½ dl (0.2 cups) onion soup mix
½ dl (0.2 cups) dried fried onion
a pinch of allspice
For the sauce:
50 g (1/2 stick) butter
1 dl (0.4 cups) all purpose flour
2 dl (0.4 cups) demi-glace
3 dl (1.25 cups) water
2 tbsp beef fond or two beef stock cubes
1 dl (0.4 cups) cooking cream
0,5 dl (0.2 cups) cut brandy (1/4 VSOP cognac, 3/4 plain vodka)
a pinch of crushed black peppercorns
Preheat the oven to 175°C (350°F).
Mix the meatball ingredients, and roll into 12-16 balls. Bake for about 30 minutes or until just done.
Heat the butter and add the flour stirring constantly until nicely browned. Don’t let the flour burn. Add the demi-glace and water stirring vigorously, trying to avoid lumps. Add the beef fond, and let simmer for 30 minutes stirring occasionally.
After the 30 minutes add liquor and cream, and let settle for a couple of minutes. You can either add the meatballs directly in the sauce (tastier), or if appearances are more important (boring), serve the meatballs and the sauce separately.
Serve with hot mashed potatoes and crushed and sugared lingonberries. Garnish with fresh parsley.