Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Swedish Meatballs

ikea meatballs copycat

I am a huge fan of Swedish meatballs.  Whenever they are served at a party, wedding or shower I make a bee line for them and try to remember some etiquette and only get a few on my plate and just hope that when the appropriate amount of time has passed to get seconds, that there will be some left.  A few months ago when we made our first trip to Ikea with some friends I was introduced to the idea that people will go all the way to Ikea just to get some meatballs.  Suddenly I felt a lot better about my calculated meatball hoarding.

Pinterest came to my to my rescue a few months ago with a recipe for Swedish meatballs by Savoring the Thyme that is so superb that it is, in fact, better than the famed Ikea meatballs.  The best perk– I can eat as many as I want without wondering how many meatballs is too many to put on a plate at a party.  These meatballs are best served over a bed of mashed potatoes and then drenched in gravy.  I also suggest you serve your Swedish meatballs the traditional way with lingonberry jelly on the side– we were able to find it at our local grocery store.  

Swedish Meatballs

Yield: 4-6 entree servings

For the meatballs:
4 slices whole wheat bread
3/4 cup whole milk
1 small sweet onion, minced
1 head of garlic, minced
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher or sea salt, divided
1 pound ground pork
2 large eggs
a handful parsley, chopped
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 pound ground beef
2 tablespoon olive oil

For the gravy:
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/3 cup unbleached white whole wheat flour
1/2 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
1 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
3 cups reduced-sodium beef broth
1/2 cup half and half cream

1. Break bread slices into small pieces, or cut into small squares and put in a medium bowl. Pour milk over bread and toss with your hands to moisten evenly. Set aside. In a medium skillet over medium heat, cook the onion in 1 tablespoon butter with 1⁄2 teaspoon kosher salt until translucent, about 4 minutes. Toss in the garlic, stir for 30 seconds to a minute. Remove from heat.

2. Mash the bread with your fingers until it is no longer recognizable as pieces of bread. Add onion and garlic mixture, pork, beef, eggs, parsley, remaining 1 teaspoon salt, and pepper and mix with a spoon or your hands until the mixture is well combined–really your hands are the way to go unless you are very squeamish.

3. Roll the meat mixture into balls with your hands and set aside.

4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Melt 1 tablespoons butter and 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large (ideally at least 14-inch) pan over medium heat. Add a batch of balls to pan and cook, turning once with tongs, until lightly browned. When the first batch is done, put on a baking sheet and set aside. Add remaining 1 tablespoons of butter and 1 tablespoon olive oil to the pan and brown second batch of meatballs. Repeat as needed; transfer all the meatballs to the baking sheet as they finish being browned. Bake for about 10 minutes or until you cut into a larger one and it is cooked through with no pink. Don't wash the pan!
5. Increase heat under pan to medium-high. If your pan has some drippings, add 2 tablespoons of butter; if not use 3. Add flour and salt and whisk; the mixture will be crumbly. Add broth 1 cup at a time, whisking constantly until smooth. Add in the pepper. Add half and half at end and stir well. Lower heat to low, add the meatballs back to the pan and allow to cook another 5 minutes.

6. Serve the meatballs smothered in the gravy.


  1. Might I also recommend some lingonberry jam? That's how we eat them over here!

    1. That's how we eat them too! Do you eat them with both the gravy and the jam? I'm never sure if that is the traditional way.