Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Swedish Meatballs

Kind of. We did a lot of research on Swedish meatballs. We found Finnish meatballs, and others, and made kind of mixture of each. We ended up with about forty-six balls.

Two thirds of the raw meatballs, dredged in flour and ready to sauté.

I remember when I was a kid my dad would make Swedish meatballs. It was always a big deal around the house because the only real cooking he did was outdoor barbecuing and the occasional boiled lobster. But he made the meatballs for special occasions. Like company at the house, holidays, etc. Apparently, it was a recipe handed down from one of his aunts. Perhaps she had some Scandinavian background, but I don't really know.

Browning the meatballs on top of the stove.

I called my step-mom on New Year's Day for the recipe, but she doesn't have it any more. So Ken and I were on our own. We did a lot of internet research and we made a good try of it. Like I said, we found many recipes that were slight variations on the basic theme, including a recipe for Finnish meatballs that includes Dutch cheese. How international. Our first attempt has given us some pointers for the next.

The meatballs simmered in their gravy/sauce.

For example: I made the meatballs too big. From my memory, they should be smaller. One should be able to pick one up with a tooth-pick and pop it into one's mouth. I made them about twice as big as they should have been, so we needed to eat them with a knife and fork. Next time I'll make them smaller. I also could have browned them a bit more.

A close-up. I might have browned them more. Next time!

Still, they were delicious. Our gravy was actually the left-over gravy from our christmas bird. What I remember from my dad's version was that his gravy was as dark as the meatballs. Very rich. But ours were good, nonetheless. We ate them with boiled potatoes and braised celery. And I'm totally encouraged to do them again.


  1. 46 balls? I'd say you had a very successful day. Most of us are jealous.

  2. Boy, do those sound good. I used to make frikadeller, which may be Danish, but you're going for pan-Scandinavian, no? The surprise (to me) ingredient was soda water, which made a nice light meatball.

  3. I thought the meatballs were really good. Here's a link to the recipe we used.

  4. That's one of my favorite dishes from my childhood too. I haven't made them in years, but you've inspired me.

  5. I'm told by R, a Swede, that real Swedish meatballs don't usually come in a sauce and there are as many recipes (in Sweden) as there are households. Some use beef, some pork, some a mixture. Some add coca cola, some use nutmeg and some just use salt and pepper... Anyway, I don't really care about 'authentic' because I like my Swedish meatballs in a sauce and over noodles. They look fabu!

  6. Oh my heavens. Reading the recipe and the description of making them and seeing them with that creamy sauce on them.... makes me HUNGRY to eat them. Tell me-- what do you think of browning meatballs in the oven, on a shallow pan (like your jelly roll pan)? I must admit that it feels like it would take a long time to make, roll, and brown-in-skillet all those meatballs, and time is usually the issue.

    By the way, I've been meaning to ask: what did you and Ken do every night for dinner when you still lived in San Francisco, and both worked at jobs every day? Did you still cook a lot?


  7. I've often wondered what makes Swedish meatballs different from any other meatballs? Italian, for example (other than the sauce one bathes them in). Now I'll be able to compare recipes. And yours sure do look yummy.


  8. I know most of my comments begin with "Yum", so Yum!
    My meatballs come out of a packet from the freezer. I love how yours look like they have flavour and texture, unlike mine from the freezer.

  9. alewis, I'm speechless.

    carolyn, I would never have thought to add soda water!

    chris, let us know how they turn out!

    syd, coca-cola?! It is a recipe that lends itself to infinite variations, it seems.

    judy, I think oven browning might work, why not? We cooked in SF mostly on the weekends and made enough to have leftovers during the week. We also had chinese or pizza once a week, and also went out to restaurants about once a week. Those days are gone!

    susan, they were good and I'm going to try them again soon.

    muzbot, I thought you got them from Ikea? ;)

  10. they do look tasty - I dont eat much meat but meatballs are delicious.

  11. spo, if you make them yourself, it's like you earned them!

  12. OMG, MY dad, who just turned 80, is a Swedish-meatball maker par excellence. But I think he uses ready-made gravy mix...they are delicious nonethless. I think I may even have some pictures of his from last summer.

  13. ohh ohhh!! That looks mighty delish... even to the likes of a vegetarian such as myslef..... Love the snow pics... : )


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