Recently, the gentleman and I were in Sweden for few days. It was my first trip that far north – which is a fact I checked on the map as I write this. (I’ve also just learned that most of Scotland is a lot further north than I realized.)
Besides the super-friendly people, the ease of watching ice hockey on TV (yep hockey fan here), and the interesting (but expensive) beer selection, my favorite part of Sweden was the food. Of course.
Oh, the food. Giant buffet breakfasts with 3 kinds of eggs, caviar in a tube, yogurt with seeds, cereal, nuts – you name it. Four kinds of bread, pastries…
But this is not a breakfast recipe. Because just about everything that I had on our four days in Sweden was excellent. Cinnamon buns at the cafe, chicken terrine, Swedish-style beef tartare and wild boar (a-may-zinng) for our Valentine’s Day dinner, pub dinners that included beef stew, lightly breaded fried fish and brisket…
Ok, I need to stop. Just know that Sweden = delicious.
In the interest of authenticity and a bit of tourism, we had to have try Swedish meatballs. Maybe the ones that were considered the best in town. Maybe we looked them up to check.
And then, maybe the weekend after, just in time for the Sweden/Canada Olympic Ice Hockey gold medal game, we made homemade Swedish meatballs. They got rave reviews from the hockey viewing party, who all happened to be rooting for the Swedish team. I think the meatballs helped heal our crushed spirits.
If you like comfort food that’s easy to make and store in the freezer – you should make these too.
To keep mostly authentic, I’d suggest serving them with mashed potatoes (mine included whole grain mustard because a. it’s delicious and b. there was a lot of mustard in Sweden) and lingonberry jam. Slightly less authentically, we may have also had some steamed spinach. It worked well.
Ikea sells a reasonably good and reasonably cheap jar of lingonsylt (lingonberry jam), and I personally think it’s also delicious stirred into oatmeal or on toast.
Makes about 35 meatballs, and they freeze well.
Serving size: 3-4 meatballs
On the Counter
2.2 pounds (1 kg) ground beef (or 50/50 beef-pork mixture)
2 medium onions, grated
1 tbsp olive oil + 1 tbsp olive oil
2 large eggs
4/5 cup (200 ml) milk
1 cup beef or chicken broth
100 g whole wheat breadcrumbs
1/2 tsp ground allspice
2 tsp soy sauce
2 tbsp creme fraiche or sour cream
1 tsp + 1 tsp salt
freshly ground black pepper
Spinach (optional, less traditional)
What to Do
Combine the milk and breadcrumbs and set aside for 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, sweat onions in 1 tbsp olive oil until soft, transfer to large bowl and allow to cool. Add beef and pork to onions, mix in eggs, milk and breadcrumbs, season with allspice, 1 tsp salt and several grinds of black pepper. Combine well and allow the mixture to rest for 10 minutes.
Form meat into balls (roughly one inch in diameter) by rolling them between your palms until they’re tightly packed. Set aside those that you plan to cook and see below for freezing suggestions.
Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add meatballs in a single layer and brown on all sides, about 5 minutes total. Set meatballs aside on a plate, and finish off all meatballs. Put them all back into the pot and add broth.
Cover the pot, and simmer over medium-low heat until the meatballs are cooked through, (with an internal temperature of 170 F or 76.5 C) about 10 minutes.
Add soy sauce and crème fraîche or sour cream. Stir carefully to just combine and simmer until the sauce begins to thicken. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
To freeze: Line up the remaining meatballs on a cookie sheet lined in plastic wrap. Cover them with more plastic wrap. Freeze them overnight, and transfer them into a zip top bag. They should be fine in the freeze for 3-4 months, and probably longer.