Serves a Crowd

Old-School Swedish Meatballs

December 13, 2014
Photo by Mark Weinberg
Author Notes

These aren't from Ikea. They contain no pre-made meatballs, onion soup mix, or cream of mushroom. They are not healthy in any way. Old-school Swedish meatballs are a hassle to make but are absolutely worth it -- even in the triple batches you will have to make to satisfy your family, friends, and yourself. Merry Christmas to all!

New-School Tips:
- When browning the meatballs, roll them frequently to maintain any semblance of roundness. Cooking chopsticks (the long ones) are a great asset for this and keep your wrists away from sputtering melted butter to boot.
- Swedish meatballs do quite well in a warm crockpot, should you find it in your heart to share them.
- Homemade, collagen-rich broth adds a lot to an already fantastic recipe. Out of distaste for store-bought broth, I once used homemade pho broth in the recipe and it complemented the spices in the meatballs nicely. —Corby

Test Kitchen Notes

WHO: Corby has been a member of the Food52 community for the past year and a half.
WHAT: Classic Swedish meatballs made painstakingly from scratch -- but worth the effort.
HOW: Combine ground pork and beef, butter, onions, egg, sugar, spices, and moistened bread into balls, then brown them in a large skillet. Place in a baking dish with broth and bake them until cooked. Add a healthy serving of gravy, made from the skillet drippings, and enjoy.
WHY WE LOVE IT: Once the meatballs, filled with a slew of spices (Ginger, Allspice, Nutmeg) have been baked in broth, they are irresistible -- as is the smell that will be emanating from your oven. Make the most of your gravy, and pair the meatballs with mashed potatoes for the ultimate comfort food combo. —The Editors

  • Serves 6
  • Swedish Meatballs
  • 2 pieces day-old white bread, crumbled
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon butter plus 1 tablespoon butter, divided
  • 1 small onion, minced
  • 2/3 pound ground beef
  • 1/3 pound finely ground pork
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground pepper, white if possible
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup beef stock or bone broth
  • Brown Gravy
  • 2 tablespoons Swedish meatball pan drippings
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 2 cups beef stock or bone broth
  • 4 ounces sour cream
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
In This Recipe
  1. Swedish Meatballs
  2. Preheat your oven to 350º F (175º C).
  3. Place the bread and cream in a small bowl, mix, and let stand about 10 minutes until absorbed.
  4. Melt the teaspoon of butter in a large, shallow skillet and cook the onion for approximately 10 minutes, until lightly browned. Transfer browned onion to a large mixing bowl and add the meats, brown sugar, salt, spices, and egg, then mix until nearly combined. Add the moistened bread and mix gently until combined.
  5. Melt the tablespoon of butter in the skillet over medium heat. Form meatball mixture into 1 1/2 tablespoon-sized balls and cook in batches until the outsides are evenly browned, approximately 5 minutes. The meatballs will still be pink inside. Transfer to a baking dish when browned and add more butter to the skillet as needed to cook all of the batches of meatballs.
  6. Pour 1/4 cup of broth into the baking dish, cover with foil, and bake for 40 minutes, until the meatballs are fully cooked and tender.
  7. Transfer meatballs to a serving dish and pour gravy over (recipe follows).
  1. Brown Gravy
  2. After making the Swedish meatballs, transfer their drippings to a saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in flour and cook until light gold in color, then slowly pour in broth or stock while whisking constantly.
  3. Simmer the gravy until thick, about 5 minutes, stirring regularly. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Just before serving the meatballs, stir in the sour cream.
  5. Note: If you are not serving all of the meatballs at once, reserve gravy before adding sour cream. Reheat the meatballs and gravy separately and combine the sour cream with the gravy after heating to prevent the sauce from breaking as it is heated.

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