For me, a meatball should not be served with or in a tomato sauce it has to be a “brown” sauce. Cream or Creme fraiche based. The meatballs should be “clean” and served with potatoes or mashed potatoes or even with some kind of pasta or rice. Originally people would serve them with green peas and lingonberries. Lingonberries are similar to cranberries, just smaller and a little sweeter. You can find them in many stores. You could also serve the meatballs with pickled cucumbers.
Makes 45-50 meatballs
1 lb ground beef.
1/2 lb ground pork. (For a real Swedish meatball, you use 1/3rd pork and 2/3rd regular ground beef. If yo rather use 100 % Beef , that is fine)
1/4 onion. very finely chopped.
3 tbsp. bread crumbs.
3-4 tbsp. of milk.
1 tsp of mustard. Course if possible.
1 tbsp. of dried herbs- optional.
Butter & oil for frying.
Salt & pepper.
A few drops of hot sauce-optional.
Add milk to breadcrumbs. Let soak until breadcrumbs are soggy.
Chop the onion very fine.
Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl. You can add any other favorite spice. Meatballs has a tendency to soak up the spices, so rather add a little more than less.
Form little balls about 1″ in size. You can prepare this a day ahead and just cover them and put them in the fridge. When frying add both a dab of butter and some oil. The oil prevents the butter from burning. Do not crowd the pan with meatballs. They need space to “roll around” a little. Shake the pan rather than turning them with a fork or any other tool. Fry on a medium low heat.
When done, transfer to a serving container. Dont pour in the fat, just the meatballs. Fry the rest of the meatballs in the same fat.
You can prepare the meatballs ahead. Even the day before. Roll them into small balls about 1″ in size.
Dont pack the meatballs to full in the skillet. They need room to roll around. Rather shake the pan then turning them with a fork or something else. You do not want to break them.
A great sauce would be just to fry up some chopped onions in the meatball pan. Add cream to the pan. Let boil down some. Salt and pepper to taste.
My favorite sauce is a mushroom sauce. I got some dried chanterelle from my sister last time I was home. This is the “gold” in my pantry. I love using dried mushrooms in everything.
Soak the dried mushrooms in a little hot water. Let sit for a while.
Fry up some finely chopped onions or shallots. Add the mushrooms. Let the onion become golden brown. Add the soaking liquid from the mushrooms. Let boil down slightly. Add a few table spoons of creme fresh or heavy cream. Add as much as you feel is needed to make a thicker sauce. I would use about half a container of creme fraiche and about 1/4 cup of the soaking water.
Spice with salt and pepper. Some beef broth or soy sauce. Add some dried or fresh herbs. Well chopped. This is optional. You can really do anything you want. Don’t be afraid of improvising with your cooking. Just be careful not to over power with salt or heat.
I hope you will like your Swedish meatballs. Remember that you can variate them in a million different ways.
Spanish version- Add some sofrito (spanish spice mix) or just add chopped coriander or recao (also called mexican coriander).
Arabic version- Add a little cinnamon, cumin, ground cloves, chopped parsley or chopped mint.
Sweet version- Add chopped or shredded apples or chopped mangoes into meat mixture. (This can be used in a chicken or turkey meatball too).
Indian version- Add some curry & garam masala, or ground cardamom.
West Indian version- Add some jerk seasoning. You can buy that ready done in the stores.
Greek version- Add a little crumbled feta cheese and oregano into the meatballs.
See, you can make infinite variations. It is now up to you …