Swedish Meatballs

It hasn’t been dinner as usual at the Our Life in Meals household recently. During the past few weeks, Jan sent me updates (and photos) of various barbecue eaten across the Southwestern United States as he fought forest fires in Texas and Arkansas (driving there and back and seeming to stop at every barbecue joint along the way). Needless to say, I’ve gone through a few rotisserie chickens and boxes of cereal (not for the same meal, of course) while he was gone.

And because I’d let several weeks go by without posting to Our Life in Meals, the harder it became to begin again. Even once Jan returned home, I felt that we had to prepare some amazing meal for me to break the ice.

But it turned out that a seemingly standard dinner might do the trick when Jan and I combined our heritage to prepare one of the best meals we’ve had in months. After many batches of experimentation, I finally perfected my recipe for making the Swedish meatball sauce. The sauce isn’t as thick as what you might call “gravy,” but it’s perfect for drizzling over mashed potatoes. And the dynamite cultural combination came from serving the Swedish meatballs and mashed potatoes with Czech apple-braised cabbage—proof that the Czechs and Swedes are a perfect match!

To make the meatballs, Jan combines cuts of pork and beef, running them through the meat grinder before adding salt, pepper, fresh parsley, egg, and bread crumbs. He pan fries the meatballs to brown them on all sides, then finishes them in the oven. After that, it’s my job to make the sauce, while he checks on the mashed potatoes and cabbage. When everything is ready, serving with lingonberry sauce is a must.

Swedish Meatballs

Print recipe

INGREDIENTS

Meatballs

  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 pound ground pork
  • ½ medium onion, small dice
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 egg
  • ½ cup bread crumbs
  • 1 tablespoon parmesan cheese
  • ¼ teaspoon each: salt, pepper, oregano, basil, parsley
  • 1/8 teaspoon hot paprika

Sauce

  • 2 cups water
  • 2 teaspoons beef bouillon
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 2 tablespoons sour cream

METHOD

  1. Combine all meatball ingredients with hands in a large bowl.
  2. Form into balls slightly smaller than the size of a ping-pong ball.
  3. In an oven-safe pan (no plastic handles!), fry meatballs in olive oil over medium-high heat until browned.
  4. Place pan in a 350ºF oven about 15-20 minutes or until the meatballs are cooked through.
  5. To make the sauce, remove pan from oven and use tongs to set aside the meatballs in a bowl or plate. Reserve fat and juices left in the pan.
  6. To the pan, add 1 cup water with bouillon and flour, stirring immediately so that flour does not clump.
  7. Stir mixture occasionally over medium heat until the sauce thickens, approximately 10 minutes.
  8. Add sour cream and stir until combined.
  9. Return the meatballs to the pan with the sauce, stirring gently to coat. Keep on medium heat until meatballs are entirely coated and sauce thickens greater.
  10. Serve with mashed potatoes and lingonberry sauce.

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