Mostly Authentic Swedish Meatballs Recipe
A friend of mine asked me for this recipe and I thought it would make a good blog post! I am still working on making the sauce taste right so I will probably come back and tweak it a bit later. I used to have a recipe about 20 years ago that I found somewhere when I was first married to my Swedish husband. You know, I wanted to be a good wife and cook him something that reminded him of home. He told me it was good but it wasn't really authentic.
I have since lost that recipe so I asked my husband if he knew of one I could use. We looked online but didn't find one that seemed right to us. So, we started pulling out our recipe books and found this beat up one (Bonniers Big Cookbook) that his mom had mailed to us when he first moved to the USA. It is his old cookbook that has a ton of instructions on how to cook, implements and basic home cooking recipes. It reminds me of my old "Better Homes & Gardens" recipe book that I got when I first moved out. So, we looked up the recipe and he translated it for me. Of course, I have modified it slightly and I will notate the additions below in italics.
Since we have been home a lot this year, I decided to try my hand at making it again. It takes a bit of time to prepare and cook but I have found that having two pans going at the same time helps move things along faster. I also have my daughter helping me so that speeds things up as well. My husband's job is the meatball roller and if you spray/rub your hands with some oil, the meat will stick less to your hands. Hopefully, you will have some help too or set aside enough time to do it all on your own.
MEAT BALL INGREDIENTS
500 g (1.1lbs) of ground meat (mix pork and beef)
2-3 dl (1 cup) whipping cream/milk/water
1 small yellow onion (finely chopped)
1/2 dl (1/4 cup) breadcrumbs
2 boiled and cooled potatoes (mashed)
2 tsp salt (or to taste)
Pinch black ground pepper
1/4 tsp grillkrydda -or- all spice -or- all purpose meat seasoning
1 tsp garlic paste (optional but we love garlic)
Chopped fresh parley (I put a handful in the meat mixture and save a handful for garnish)
2 T butter/margarine
1 T flour
2 dl (3/4 cup) cream/coffee cream/milk
1 beef bouillon cube (mix with 8oz water or use beef stock)
1 tsp dijon mustard (adds flavor)
Salt (to taste)
White pepper (to taste)
Soy sauce (to taste & for color)
Worcestershire sauce (optional but it adds color & flavor)
Soak breadcrumbs in cream/milk/water for about 10 mins (helps meatballs stay moist)
Mash potatoes into breadcrumb mixture with fork
Add egg to breadcrumb mixture
Peal and chop onions finely and add to breadcrumb mixture
Add salt and pepper to breadcrumbs (amounts listed are just a guideline)
Add meat and mix together
Form into small meatballs about 1" wide
If using bouillon cube, create stock or use prepared beef broth
Fry meatballs in butter/margarine until brown (use enough butter to fry in but not drown)
Fry meatballs in small batches (use tongs to evenly brown)
Remove meatballs from frying pan when browned & keep warm
Add more butter to pan if you want to make extra gravy
Make sure and scrape up the browned bits as it adds to the flavor of the sauce
Take pan off heat
Add flour to juices in the pan, making sure all fat is absorbed
Turn heat back to med heat and add stock slowly until all flour is dissolved
Add milk/cream & increase heat
Boil until mixture thickens, stirring/whisking frequently
Add salt, white pepper, Dijon mustard
Soy sauce is optional but helps with color. If you add soy sauce use less salt.
Add meatballs back to pan until heated through
Serve with sprinkle of chopped parsley, boiled potatoes (or mashed), lingonberry jam and green salad!
I usually double the recipe because our grocery stores in the USA don't sell the pork and beef already mixed together. I also make this dairy free so my son can have it. I use oil and dairy free butter to fry the meatballs in. I use oat milk/cream as I find it richer and creamer than soy or coconut milk. Almond milk probably works too but the one we had in the house was vanilla flavored so that was definitely not the way to go. I also use an egg replacer as well.
I often used ground turkey instead of ground pork and it usually has a lot of water content. Instead of using fresh onions or freshly cooked potatoes, I will used freeze dried onions and mashed potato flakes. Just add until the meat mixture is firm enough to roll into meatballs.
What is grillkrydda? It is a spice blend that I have only found in Sweden. You can find it sold online but I have some that I brought home from a previous trip to Sweden. It is a very common and easy to find spice blend that is sometimes translated into "BBQ Seasoning" and they use it on all sorts of meat and potatoes. You can find recipes online to make your own or just use another blend of spices. The one I have contains: Salt, onion, paprika, yeast extract, black pepper, tomato, ginger, chili pepper, cumin, garlic, celery seed, anti-caking agent, cayenne pepper, oregano.
Why garlic paste? Mostly because I had it handy but I like using it in sauces as it blends in easier and you just squeeze it out of a tube. You can mince your own garlic if you can't find the paste or just omit it all together since it isn't an authentic ingredient anyway.
If you are not sure how well you seasoned your meatballs, cook up a test meatball and taste to make sure you like it. You can make it mini-sized so it cooks quickly and you are just eating it so it doesn't matter what it looks like.
The sauce/gravy is the hardest for us to get right so that is the main part that I might come back and tweak later. In fact, the gravy is not authentic at all but most modern Swedes make it (and Ikea as well) so it has become pretty commonplace.
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