After having some seriously delicious Swedish meatballs in Stockholm during our recent trip to Scandinavia, I was desperate to try making them at home. Now I’d had Swedish meatballs at Ikea many times before, but they were always kind of bland and strange tasting, particularly in comparison to the real deal I later sampled. The ones I had in Stockholm were huge, probably at least 3″ in diameter, and had a wonderful gravy along with mashed potatoes and lingonberries–that combination of elements seemed to be the classic one. I really fell in love with lingonberries, which taste similar to cranberries, perhaps a little sweeter. Thankfully, I was able to find lingonberry jam at Whole Foods (actually imported from Sweden), so we were in business!
2 slices white bread
1/4 cup milk
3 tbsp clarified butter, divided
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
3/4 lb ground beef
3/4 lb ground pork
2 large egg yolks
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp ground allspice
1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
3 cups beef broth
1/4 cup heavy cream
Preheat oven to 200 F. Tear the bread into pieces and place in a small mixing bowl along with the milk. Set aside. In a saute pan over medium heat, melt 1 tbsp of butter. Add onion and a pinch of salt and sweat until onions are soft. Remove from heat and set aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the bread and milk mixture, ground beef, pork, egg yolks, 1 tsp of salt, black pepper, allspice, nutmeg and onions. Beat on medium speed for 1 to 2 minutes. Using a scale, weigh meatballs into 1-oz portions and place on a sheet pan. Using your hands, shape the meatballs into rounds.
Heat the remaining butter in the saute pan over medium-low heat. Add meatballs and saute until golden brown on all sides, about 7 to 10 minutes. Remove the meatballs to an ovenproof dish and place in the warmed oven. Once all of the meatballs are cooked, decrease the heat to low and add the flour to the pan. Whisk until lightly browned, approximately 1 to 2 minutes. Gradually add the beef stock and whisk until sauce begins to thicken. Add the cream and continue to cook until the gravy reaches the desired consistency. Remove the meatballs from the oven, cover with the gravy and serve.
A few notes on preparation: We made a 1.5 recipe, as we wanted to have a bunch extra for leftovers. We ended up with about 40 meatballs. We also just used regular butter instead of clarified butter.
At first bite, divinely good! It really was remarkably similar to the taste of the ones we had in Stockholm. The meatballs have such a unique flavour, quite unlike other kinds like Italian. D tried a new method of making mashed potatoes, which involved grating the potatoes first (ideally we would have used a potato ricer) and then whipping them. They went a bit awry, as they ultimately came out with a runnier consistency than would have been expected, but still tasted delicious nonetheless. The lingonberry jam leant a wonderful sweetness and slight tartness, undercutting the earthy flavours of the meatballs. It made fabulous leftovers for lunch the following day. Definitely one for the books!