Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Swedish Meatballs

Remember the black-peppered egg noodles? Well, I used them as a fragrant, flavorful base to these Swedish noodles. I searched for an authentic recipe that didn't call for sour cream and found an excellent recipe on Cafe Johnsonia's website.
Unfortunately, my limited exposure to Swedish meatballs includes the type you usually see in church potlucks. I remember popping them in my mouth like popcorn and feeling like 5 of those suckers were never enough.

I had a feeling that these meatballs would taste different b/c the potlucks I frequented were in the South, and I was right. The meatballs I was used to eating were more like Italian meatballs without the tomato sauce. These meatballs didn't have Italian spices, but it was flavorful and unique. I had to add some more salt to the dish after the fact, but aside from that, it was very good.
Accompanied with the peppered noodles, the dish was full of flavor and the spices that danced in your mouth. I added paprika in the noodles because I read that paprika is a common ingredient in Swedish noodles. The gravy is basically a roux plus beef stock or beef broth - my favorite type of gravy.
Did you notice the color scheme in the above photos? I tried to match the colors of the flag of Sweden. I didn't have a good background the same shade of blue, but this .75 cent blue plate from Bed, Bath, & Beyond was good enough. The yellow "napkin" is actually my Psi Chi Graduation Stole from undergrad LOL! 

I hope you give this recipe a go. It was definitely a new and welcomed dish for my tastebuds!

Swedish Meatballs
adapted from Cafe Johnsonia

Swedish Meatballs
from The Joy of Cooking

1 Tbsp. butter (I used margarine)
1 Tbsp. onions, finely minced

3/4 lb. ground pork (I used all ground beef)
3/4 lb. ground beef (I seasoned the meat with kosher salt before adding it into the mixture)
2/3 cup fresh bread crumbs*
1 cup milk or water
2 egg yolks
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. each: nutmeg, allspice, ground pepper

4 Tbsp. butter (I changed back to butter b/c margarine affects roux)
2 Tbsp. flour
2 cups beef stock (I used one 14.5 oz can of beef broth)

Melt butter in a small, heavy-bottomed pan and cook the onions until soft, about 1-2 minutes. Set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the bread crumbs* and water. Let stand 2 minutes.
To the bread and milk/water, add the egg yolks, spices, salt, meat, and cooked onions. Beat on low speed until smooth.Turn the mixer to high and beat until the mixture becomes light in color and fluffy, about 10 minutes.
I apologize for the yucky photos of the beef. It isn't that red because it was stored in the freezer for awhile.

Use two spoons or a 1" small ice cream scoop dipped in water to shape the meat into 1" balls. Heat the butter in a large, heavy-bottomed skillet over medium heat.

Cook the meatballs in batches of 15-20, making sure to brown them evenly on all sides. Divide the butter in half, and use 2 Tbsp. per batch of cooked meatballs instead of all 4 tbsp at once.

Remove the browned meatballs and drain them briefly on a plate. After all the meatballs have been browned and removed, add the flour to the skillet with the drippings and leftover butter.
Cook, stirring, until lightly browned. Slowly add the beef stock. Cook while whisking until the gravy is thick and smooth. Then, add the partially-cooked meatballs back to the gravy, and let them simmer for another 10 minutes or so.

Serve atop egg noodles or mashed potatoes.

*For homemade breadcrumbs, preheat the oven to 350 degrees; break up old (or fresh) bread, and place them in the blender (2 slices at a time!). Blend the bread, and pour the crumbs onto a jelly-roll pan. Spread the crumbs out evenly and toast for 15 minutes. (It is suggest that you toss around the crumbs halfway through, but I didn't do that, and it worked out fine. It was darker around the edges of the pan, but once I mixed it around, it looked fine.)
You can store the crumbs in your freezer for up to 3 months and use the crumbs for meatloaf, meatballs, and a topping on salads.


  1. I love swedish meatballs. I love it baked and go with chili sauce or make sweet and sour swedish meatballs. Thanks for sharing the recipe.

  2. I can't say that I have ever eaten Swedish meatballs, but these look delightful. I'm grinning from ear to ear about how you worked up the whole Swedish flag color scheme--you are so creative, girl :o)

  3. These look delicious! The Hubble doesn't like sour cream so I usually stay away from these types of dishes. But the omission of sour cream in this one gives me hope! Thanks for sharing!!

  4. Oooo this meal is a terrible weakness of mine! It's comfort on a plate. Speaking of plates, I have that blue one and use it all the time! It photographs so well.

  5. Duh, of course I remember those delish noodles. AND I remember nicely begging for you to send me some! If you haven't sent them can you go ahead and just package up the whole plate? LOL, all kidding a side, this looks great and am certain my kiddos would love it. (I don't want to make the noodles, though. I just want to eat them!)

  6. Te han quedado explendido el plato. Un saludo

  7. Sounds so scrumptious. Now, I feel so bad to buy the Swedish meat ball from IKEA... lol

  8. I like the recipe from Joy. It's great and perfect with those yummy noodles. Aren't you the smarty pants to match it to their flag! I would have never caught on.

  9. Ha ha! You're so funny. Or just plain creative. Or maybe both!

    I love Sweidsh meatballs and these look great. I bet they were awesome on your noodles.

    And who knew you could make breadcrumbs in the blender. hmm?

  10. Wow, they look really good and I don't think I've EVER had Swedish meatballs. Another "to try." I love that you put the colors of the Swedish flag in the photo--you are so cute!

  11. I've never tried Swedish meatballs, but they've got quite a bit of fanbase here in Singapore. Yours look great! Oh, and thanks for the instructions on making your own breadcrumbs. I've always wondered how to!

  12. Oooo meatballs are an obsession at our house, and ours are definitely of the "italian" type... These are a great idea and I am going to try them soon! Although making my own noodles...that is going to take some courage!

  13. I love swedish meatballs. Definitely one of my faves. And, I love that you paired it with black-pepper egg noodles. Sounds like a winning combo!

  14. I love Swedish meatballs. Great photos!

  15. My husband doesn't care for sour cream in his meals, so this would be a great version to make for him. ¡Se ve delicioso!

  16. The only Swedish meatballs I had were at Ikea and I love them. Yours look good!

  17. These look fantastic! I love Swedish meatballs, but not sour cream, so this is perfect, especially with the noodles.
    p.s. I came to see your croquembouche, and i think it is beautiful, but maybe you still don't want to talk about it.

  18. Very well written information. It will be helpful to anyone who utilizes it, including myself. Keep up the good work - looking forward to more posts.

  19. Your meatballs looks really good,i must try this!

    But take it from a swedish woman - this is not how we makes them :)


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