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 cooks 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 that 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.
Swedish Meatballs with Egg Noodles
- 1/2 cup of white breadcrumbs
- 1 pound lean ground beef
- 1/2 of a pound ground veal
- 1/2 of a pound ground pork
- 3 tablespoons minced onion
- 1 tablespoon snipped fresh dill weed
- 1 teaspoon steak seasoning
- 1/4 teaspoon allspice
- 1 egg lightly beaten
- 2 tablespoons real butter
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 and 1/2 cups of low sodium beef broth
- 1/2 cup half and half cream
- cooked ribbon egg noodles, to serve
- chopped fresh parsley
- In a large heavy-duty food processor or large mixing bowl if you do not have a large food processor; combine: white breadcrumbs, lean ground beef, ground veal, ground pork, minced onion, fresh dill weed, steak seasoning, allspice, and 1 lightly beaten egg. Pulse food processor till thoroughly combined. If you are using a mixing bowl, after washing your hands combine all ingredients using your fingers by kneading and mixing ingredients together to combine.
- Roll meat mixture into balls about 1 inch by 1 inch for normal sized Swedish Meatballs.
- Place a large metal skillet over medium heat, add real butter and melt, place meatballs into a metal skillet and saute’ meatballs, half at a time until they are browned and cooked all the way through about 10 minutes.Remove meatballs as they are cooked and place in a large bowl.
- Remove skillet from heat; add flour to the pan drippings, stir constantly until smooth. Add 1 cup of low sodium beef broth; bring to a light boil over medium heat, stirring until the mixture is smooth.
- Add half and half cream; simmer lightly, stirring for about the fist few minutes. Add meatballs to sauce then gently toss to coat the meatballs in the sauce.
- Serve the Swedish Meatballs over ribbon egg noodles and garnish with chopped fresh parsley or serve by themselves as an old-fashioned appetizer at your next party.
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