Swedish Meatballs have been made and enjoyed in American homes for years as an appetizer at dinner parties and swanky get-togethers. Chances are if your grandparents or parents were the types of folks to enjoy throwing fancy dinner parties in the 40’s, 50’s, 60’s, and early 70’s you might have had the privilege of enjoying these international delights from Sweden.
Swedish Meatballs were brought to the United States by Scandinavian immigrants; many of whom settled in America’s northern mid-west states. Other Northern-European cultures also have versions of meatball and gravy recipes. The regional variations will often be a reflection of the cook’s personal taste and the ingredient availability to the cook. According to Mathistorisk Uppslagsbok by Jan-Ojvind Swahn, the Swedish word for the meatball (k”ttbulle) first appeared in Swedish print was in Cajsa Warg’s 1754 cookbook. Swahn points out that the meatball could not have been a common food, at least not for common people, until the meat grinder made the preparation simple. Swedish meatballs, smaller in size than those of Italy or Germany, are traditionally served with a cream gravy and lingonberry preserves.
Swedish meatballs are usually served at buffets and smörgåsbords, a custom that reflects their Swedish origins. Buttered noodles are the traditional accompaniment. Swedish meatballs also date way back to the 1920’s.
Here is our families version we have been enjoying for years.
- 3/4 cup panko breadcrumbs
- 1/4 cup milk
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter divided
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/2 cup finely chopped onion
- 1 tablespoon freshly chopped dillweed
- 1 teaspoon of kosher salt
- 1 pound ground lean ground beef
- 1/2 pound lean ground pork
- 2 large eggs
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 3 cups beef broth
- 1/4 cup heavy cream
In a 12-inch metal pan over medium heat, melt 1 tablespoon of the butter. Add the chopped onion, and a pinch of the salt cook until the onions are soft. Remove the metal pan from the heat and set aside.
In a large bowl, combine the breadcrumbs and milk mixture, ground chuck, pork, egg yolks, 1 teaspoon of kosher salt, black pepper, allspice, nutmeg, and cooked onions.
Form the balls and place on a sheet pan.
Heat the remaining butter and olive oil in the saute pan over medium-low heat. Add the formed meatballs and saute until golden brown on all sides, about 7 to 10 minutes. Remove the meatballs to an ovenproof dish using a slotted spoon 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 or skillet. Whisk until lightly browned, approximately 2-3 minutes. Gradually add the beef stock and whisk until sauce begins to thicken. Add the heavy cream and continue to cook until the gravy reaches the desired consistency. Remove the meatballs from the oven, cover with the gravy and serve.
© Heidy L. McCallum and The McCallum’s Shamrock Patch, 2017-2013. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner are strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Heidy L. McCallum and The McCallum’s Shamrock Patch with proper and specific direction to the original content