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Swedish Meatballs

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I started eating meat again earlier this year after almost 14 full years of being vegetarian (or 10 years, if you don’t want to count the fact that I was technically a pescatarian for the past four.) Swedish meatballs have since become one of my go-to dinners. It is a quick and easy to make dish that is delicious when served over egg noodles with lingonberry jam.

If you don’t have some on-hand already, you’ll want to buy a jar of lingonberry jam to serve with. Similar to eating cranberries with Thanksgiving turkey and gravy, the jam adds a nice, sweet-tart flavor to compliment the rich sour cream gravy that goes with the meatballs.

Fair warning: Don’t try to substitute strawberry or raspberry jam. It won’t be the same. If you’re worried about having leftover jam sitting in your fridge for all eternity, don’t worry — you’ll want to make this dish again (we make it a few times a month, it’s that good) and there are plenty of other uses for it, too.

  • Serve the jam with with ebelskiverDanish pancake balls, that can be eaten plain or with jam, custard, or whipped cream
  • Spread it on toast, biscuits, or scones
  • Use it as a topping for pancakes or waffles
  • Use it to compliment roasted meats, like pork or turkey

You can find lingonberry jam in most supermarkets, usually in the European food aisle, for about $5-6 per jar. If you have an IKEA nearby, you can get it there, too, of course. I picked up a few jars during my last trip for $3.99 each, a steal given how often I use it to make this dish.

See more suggestions for ways to use lingonberry jam from The Kitchn.

Swedish Meatballs

Makes 8 servings. 

Ingredients

2 slices white sandwich bread, torn or cut into small pieces
1/3 cup milk
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 pound organic 80/20 ground beef
1 pound organic ground pork
2 eggs, lightly beaten
2 1/2 cups organic beef broth
1/4 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup full-fat sour cream
Butter and olive oil, for sauteeing
A few springs of fresh thyme
Salt and pepper, to taste

Method

Combine milk and bread in a small bowl and set aside.

In a straight-sided skillet, melt 1 tablespoon each of butter and olive oil. Add chopped onions and saute until golden brown in color. Remove from pan and set aside to cool.

In a large bowl, combine the pork, ground beef, milk and bread mixture, eggs, onions, and seasonings. Mix until the ingredients are well-distributed with a fork or your hands. Tip: If using your hands, don’t “squish” the meat as you mix. Doing this will compact the meat and make tough, dense meatballs.

Roll the meat into small balls about 1-1.5 inches in size (think small and bite-sized, not big like Italian meatballs) or use a small disher to portion the meat. Fry meatballs batches until golden on all sides, about 10 minutes per batch. Remove from oil when done and set aside while you fry the rest.

After the meatballs are cooked, make the sauce by adding the flour to the remaining fat in the pan (add additional butter or olive oil if the pan is dry) and stir until a paste (roux) forms. Slowly add the broth while whisking to prevent lumps. Bring mixture to a simmer and let cook until thick, about 8-10 minutes. If the sauce is too thick, add additional stock until its the consistency that you like. Reduce heat and whisk in sour cream. Season with salt and pepper, as needed.

Add the meatballs and stir to coat with sauce. Serve over cooked egg noodles and top with lingonberry jam and extra sour cream, if desired.