I’ve been up and down my family tree and like many Americans I come from a number of different cultures – but I have not a drop of Swedish blood. I do, however, live in Minnesota, you betcha, home of the American Swedish Institute, and can attest that Swedish Meatballs are popular here, especially during the Holidays.
They’re wonderful on a New Year’s buffet, whether meant to be served as a dish or speared with a toothpick as an appetizer, but just as good whenever a dose of comfort is needed.
Most of my friends, even those with families originally from the land of midnight sun, use a package of frozen meatballs and a sauce made with Sour Cream – still delish, but when I saw Tyler Florence make “Lena’s Swedish Meatballs” I knew I’d been missing out! I’m a sucker for almost any sauce that has a bit of black currant jam in it, for one, and I love the idea of using a little real cream rather than a lot of sour cream…just enough to round out the sauce and turn it silky.
Over the years I’ve tried other recipes: the Ikea one, Alton Brown’s & Serious Eats’ among them, along with a few passed to me, but with just a little tweaking (I add pinch of white pepper, less salt, cream & butter) Tyler’s recipe is now a part of our family’s cooking heritage. I also make fewer meatballs to serve our small family, but keep the sauce amount the same. We love the sauce.
So friends and family, the secret’s out, now, on “my” Swedish Meatballs. I hope ya love them as much as we do! Serve the meatballs and sauce over egg noodles and if you want to be traditional, serve a little lingonberry jam on the side. It’s a little pricey and hard to find in some areas, but cranberry sauce is an excellent substitute.
The biggest secret to this recipe? Toss in a few “uffdahs” and a “doncha know” or two and nobody will know guess you don’t have a Swedish gene or two in your background. 🙂 This is a “special occasion” dish at our house – a little rich and a bit labor intensive, but so worth it – left overs just get better the next day or two.
- 1/2 small onion, minced
- 1 1/2 teaspoons butter or oil
- 1/2 pound each ground beef, pork, and veal (may be all beef)
- 1 egg yolk
- 2 teaspoons salt
- a good pinch of white pepper
- 1 teaspoon ground allspice
- 1 1/2 pieces sturdy white bread, crust removed, torn and soaked in milk
- a little additional milk if needed, see instructions
Add the butter in a large saute pan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until translucent. Remove the onion to a plate and cool. Wipe out the pan with a paper towel.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the ground meats, egg yolks, and onion. Add salt, white pepper and allspice. Squeeze excess milk from the bread and add the bread to the bowl. Measure the milk left behind, add 1/8th of a cup to the meat mixture. If there isn’t that much, add more milk or cream to measure the 1/8th cup. Mix gently with your hands or wooden spoon until everything is fully incorporated.
With a bowl of cold water standing by, form meatballs about 1-inch across. Dip your fingers in cold water, from time to time, to keep the meat from sticking to your hands.
Add meatballs to the saute pan working in batches if needed. (An electric frying pan works well here, too.) Do not overcrowd the pan. Brown all of the meatballs, turning often, until done. If working in batches, pan may need to be wiped out between them.
- The meatball portion of this recipe is half the size of the original recipe, but does make about 50 meatballs, around an inch across. Tyler’s original recipe was “off” in the measurements, and the larger meatballs required browning and baking. These 1″ meatballs are perfectly done when browned on all sides.
- For forming the meatballs, a small scoop works very well, especially one with a lever that allows you to sweep the contents of the scoop out. Refrigerating the meatballs before cooking helps them to keep a round shape.
- If desired, meatballs may be made a day or two ahead. Add a little water to the grease and drippings in the skillet, pour into a cup and refrigerate. When ready to make the sauce, remove the fat (use about two tablespoons of it if desired or two tablespoons of butter) and set aside the drippings to add in with the stock. The drippings may worked through a small strainer for an absolutely smooth sauce. Warm the meatballs through in the simmering sauce.
- 2 tablespoons butter or 2 tablespoons of fat from drippings
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 3 cups chicken or beef stock
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- pinch of white pepper
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1 to 2 tablespoons black currant jelly or jam
- 1/4 cup chopped parsley leaves for garnish
To make the sauce: Pour off all but two tablespoons of the fat from the skillet and return it to the heat, or pour it all off and add 2 tablespoons of butter and swirl it around to coat the pan. Sprinkle in the flour, and stir with a wooden spoon or whisk to dissolve the flour into the fat.
Slowly pour in the chicken stock, and stir to loosen the bits from the bottom of the pan. Simmer, stirring now and then, until the liquid is reduced and the mixture starts to thicken to a sauce. This will take several minutes. Season with salt and peppers, to taste. Lower the heat and stir in the cream and the black currant jam. Add the meatballs to the sauce. Simmer until the sauce thickens slightly and the meatballs are heated through, 15 to 20 minutes. Sprinkle with chopped parsley.
from the kitchen of www.frugalhausfrau.com
Let’s talk about how to save money/time on this recipe:
- Use a coupon matching site! One of my favorites in my area is Pocket Your Dollars, but every store has a group of enthusiastic Coupon Matchers. Do not discount the savings! I check their site every week, even if I don’t “need” to go to the store and often find bargains I can’t pass up.
- Follow my 12 Strategies – You’ll see them on the upper drop down menu of every page and how I apply them, below.
- Don’t get discouraged if your prices don’t match mine! Keep shopping at the best prices and your fridge/freezer and pantry will be stocked with sales priced ingredients.
- Read Strategies Applied for additional tips as well as throughout the recipe, for saving time and managing food.
Based on 6 servings using Ground Beef (without noodles): calories 340, tot fat 18g; sat fat 9g; chol 127mg; sod 783mg; pot 199mg; tot carb 19g; fiber 1g; sug 4g; prot 25g; vit a 12%; vit c 8%; calc 5%; iron 19%