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Swedish Meatballs

Posted July 19, 2015 by John Woltman

When I was but a callow youth, my mother used to make the most delightful Swedish meatballs.  I will now share our family recipe, and an alternate recipe that you might find tasty.

Here's my mom's recipe:

You may laugh, but I assure that the McCormick mix results in consistently good meatballs.  Having said that, I much prefer the following from-scratch recipe.  I cobbled it together out of several recipes I found online, and have tirelessly refined it over the past several months.

Ingredients

For the meatballs:

  • 2 slices fresh white bread
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 4 tblsp clarified butter
  • 1 very finely chopped onion
  • 1 and 1/8 tsp kosher salt
  • Ground meat.  Either 1 pound each of beef & pork, or two pounds of "meatloaf mix".
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground allspice
  • 1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg

For the gravy:

  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 cups beef broth
  • 3/4 cup sour cream
  • 2 tblsp chopped fresh parsley

If you are eating the meatballs as an appetizer, you will also need to fashion your own toothpicks, preferably from the Norway Pine, a tree common to the coniferous forests of Sweden.  If you are eating the meatballs as an entree (my preferred way), serve the meatballs over egg noodles, in the traditional method of beef stroganoff.

The Method

Before we begin, please note that you'll be using the same 12-inch sautee pan for cooking the onions, the meatballs, and the gravy.  There's no need to clean it in between cooking the different items, and if you do clean it you obviously don't care what I have to say so go ahead and have terrible gravy, I don't care!

  1. Tear the bread into small pieces.  Put the bread and milk in a bowl and set it aside.
  2. Sautee the onion until soft in 1 tablespoon of butter.  Sprinkle the 1/8 teaspoon of kosher salt on them as they cook.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, combine the meat, the bread/milk, egg yolks, salt, seasonings, and onions.  Mix by hand until all ingredients are evenly distributed.  Take a core sample and send it your local geologist to confirm before continuing.
  4. Form the meat into a perfect sphere, about exactly 1 and 1/4 inches wide.
  5. On medium-low heat, melt 2 tablespoons of butter.  Add meatballs and sautee them until golden brown on all sides.  Remove them with a slotted spoon and place them on a paper towel-lined plate.  If you promise me that you won't overcook them, you could also turn your oven on to warm, and place the meatballs in the oven.
  6. On low heat melt the remaining butter and add flour to the pan.  Whisk until the flour turns light brown.  Add the beef broth and stir until the gravy begins to thicken.  Add the sour cream and continue to cook until the gravy is your desired consistency.  Add the meatballs to allow them to get hot.
  7. Garnish with parsley and serve.