Meatballs!! Every year between Thanksgiving and Christmas my husband and I make Swedish meatballs. It started with both of us wanting to learn more about Swedish/Nordic dishes and culture. My husband’s family is part Swedish and every once in a while, they will serve up a traditional Swedish dish and we decided we wanted to start attempting dishes of our own. We wanted to start with a dish that was fairly easy and we had heard of before. If there are any IKEA fans out there, then you probably have heard of or at least tried this type of meatball before. I love this recipe and I have changed a few things from the original recipe just as a personal preference. The inspiration for my recipe came in part from a food network recipe that I found using veal. This recipe intrigued me because it used 3 different types of meat and I knew that would deliver a delicious complex flavor compared to a meatball that only contained one type of meat. This recipe uses super easy ingredients. However, to get the best tasting meatballs, consider following some of my techniques listed within the post.
To get started, pre-heat the oven to 325 degrees. Melt a tablespoon of butter in a very large frying pan and add minced onion, sauté until the onion is translucent and set aside (the sautéed onion needs to be cool or even cold prior to adding them to the meat mixture). Wipe any leftover grease out of the pan with a paper towel.
In a large mixing bowl add your three different types of meat, egg yolks and cream, salt, pepper and allspice (one note about the salt: I’ve found that the dish can get salty pretty quickly, so I start with 1 teaspoon of salt in the meatball mixture and then add salt to taste in later steps).
Add bread that has been sitting in milk and squeezed. I’ve tried a bunch of techniques and the best way for me is to grab a small bowl, add bread first and then slowly pour milk in until the bread soaks up all the milk and then set aside. When you are ready to add the bread to the meat mixture, grab the bread and squeeze all the milk out as much as possible. The bread will become a dough like structure and that is okay. We need this bread to help bind the meatballs together and create a light texture when you eat the meatball.
Next tip: This one is from Alton brown, when mixing the ingredients together and when rolling into balls, make sure you wear gloves. The reason for this is to keep the meat as cold as possible, and if you use your bare hands, you will start to warm up the meatballs and could lose flavor due to the fat warming up before the meat is cooked. I recently doubled my own recipe for a party I hosted and actually put the meat back in the fridge for a while before taking the meat and forming the balls just to keep them as cold as possible before cooking.
Once the meat is mixed, take a tablespoon to use as a guide for your size of meatballs. These meatballs are much smaller than meatballs that I have made in the past for Italian or other dishes and you want to make sure you get them all the same size so that they will cook evenly. After you have all the meatballs formed, melt butter in sauté pan over medium-high heat. When the foam from the melted butter is gone, you can start with your first batch of meatballs. If you can help it, make sure the meatballs do not touch each other. This means that you will most likely have to do multiple iterations of cooking meatballs in the pan.
Once you are done browning all of the meatballs (est 2 minutes on each side or 4 minutes using tongs to roll them around) add them to a long baking dish and put them in the oven for about 20 minutes (meatballs should have an internal temp of 165 degrees). Make sure you save the pan drippings for the next step.
While the meatballs are cooking in the oven, you can start on my favorite part, THE SAUCE, yummy!!! Using the pan drippings from the meatballs, add 2 tablespoons of butter. If you have a fat separator, go ahead and remove the fat for a healthier meatball. I generally leave everything in though, just because it reduces one step for me and also because I only make this dish once a year and I like keeping all of the flavor for my sauce. It adds an extra richness to this special dish.
Once the butter has melted add your flour slowly (quick tip: I saw this on a good eats episode, sift in the flour to reduce clumps in the sauce) and whisk in until combined with melted butter.
Pour in beef broth while constantly whisking and bring to a simmer and watch for the liquid to reduce and the sauce start to thicken (est 15 to 20 min), add salt and pepper to taste. (Quick tip: fight the urge to add more flour. If you add more flour, it will eventually turn into a gelatinous gravy that is just not appetizing and ruin the flour to drippings ratio. My husband found this out the hard way one year.)
Once your sauce has thickened to a desired consistency, lower the heat and add lingonberries and cream. Add meatballs back to the sauce and coat evenly. Since I usually make this for a large party or family gathering, I also make two bags of buttered egg noodles on the side. It makes the food go further and the noodles just soak up any leftover sauce and makes for the perfect winter meal. Add parsley to garnish.
Enjoy this delicious savory recipe that checks all the boxes for a winter meal, perfect for a dinner party or family gathering.
- For Meatballs:
- 4 tablespoons of butter
- 1 onion
- 1 pd of veal
- 1 pd of beef
- 1 pd of pork
- 2 egg yolks
- 1/2 cup of heavy cream
- 1 tablespoons of salt (use sparingly)
- 2 teaspoons of allspice
- 3 pieces of fresh white bread soaked in
- 1/4 cup of whole milk
- For the Sauce:
- 2 tablespoons of butter
- 2 tablespoons of flour
- 3 cups of beef broth
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1/2 cup of heavy cream
- 2 tablespoons of lingonberries
- 1/4 cup of parsley for garnish
- pre-heat the oven to 325 degrees.
- Melt a tablespoon of butter to a very large frying pan and add chopped onion, saute until onion is translucent and set aside (make sure these are cool or even cold prior to adding them to the meat mixture).
- Wipe grease from pan with a paper towel.
- In a large mixing bowl add your 3 different types of meat, egg yolks and heavy cream, salt, pepper and allspice.
- Add bread that has been sitting in milk and squeezed
- Once the meat is mixed, create meatballs by using a tablespoon to use as a guide for size of meatball.
- Melt rest of butter in saute pan over medium-high heat, once the foam is gone, start with your first batch of meatballs, cooking in batches.
- Once you are done browning the meatballs (est 2 minutes on each side or 4 minutes using tongs to roll them around) add them to a long baking dish and put them in the oven for about 20 minutes (meatballs should have an internal temp of 165 degrees). Make sure you save the pan drippings for the next step.
- While the meatballs are cooking in the oven, you can start the sauce. Using the pan drippings from the meatballs, add 2 tablespoons of butter.
- Once the butter has melted, add your flour slowly and whisk in until combined with melted butter.
- Pour in beef broth while constantly whisking and bring to a simmer and watch for the liquid to reduce and the sauce start to thicken (est 15 to 20 min), add salt and paper to taste.
- Once your sauce has thickened to the desired consistency, lower the heat and add lingonberries and cream.
- Add meatballs back to the sauce and coat evenly.
- Add egg noodles
- Add parsley to garnish.
- Category: Dinner
- Cuisine: Swedish