I remember the first time I had Swedish Meatballs, it was at what I considered to be the fanciest of all holiday parties. The thing that caught my eye more than all the sparkle everywhere, were the long tables covered with linens and candles along with the many small bowls and chafing dishes filled with small bite-sized deliciousness.
The one dish that really grabbed my attention were these little meatballs covered with a slightly brown sauce. They oozed meaty goodness. I had one bite, then two, then three, and then I became the girl at the table stuffing her face. I later learned that this was my first introduction to the Swedish Meatball; meaty but elegant goodness. I was addicted from that moment on.
I remember approaching one of the servers and asking them what this treat was. They said in a no matter of fact tone that these morsels were Swedish Meatballs. Being whom I was I pushed a little bit more to get the recipe. Blankly they read off some ingredients, saying the real star that brought it together was a dab of espresso powder. Hmmm, meatballs with espresso powder? Being a girl from a small town, where Swedish Meatballs were never served, I was even more wildly intrigued.
Since that twinkly night some twenty years ago, I have thought of those meatballs very often but have never made. This year during our week long pre-holiday celebration at home, I made them. They were moist, flavorful, and even better than that first bite. A bit more elegant than the meatballs we tend to enjoy, but still as satisfying.
The wonderful thing about this recipe for Swedish Meatballs, is that they are like any other meatball and can go from fancy party to casual dinner at home.
- 1 pound ground beef
- 1 pork ground pork
- 1 cup minced yellow onion
- 2 garlic cloves, finely minced
- 2 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 3/4 cup panko
- 1/2 cup whole milk
- 1 egg
- 1 teaspoon ground allspice
- 3/4 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/4 cup parsley, finely minced
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- black pepper, generous grind
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon allspice
- 1 teaspoon powdered espresso
- 1 1/2 cup beef stock
- 1/4 cup whole fat sour cream
Mix the panko and milk together in a small mixing bowl. Set aside.
In a chopper or by hand, finely mince the yellow onion.
In a large frying pan, heat the 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions. Saute until lightly golden and soft, about 8 minutes. Stir in garlic and cook for another minute. Set aside to cool
In a mixing bowl add the beef, pork, panko/milk mixture, egg, allspice, nutmeg, kosher salt, and black pepper, mix well with your hands.
Add the cooled onion mixture to the beef mixture, and mix well.
Shape the meat mixture into small meatballs - I weigh them to be 30 grams. Set aside.
Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oili along with the butter in the frying pan that you used to cook the onions. Working in batches cook the meatballs until brown on all sides, about 7 - 9 minutes. You may need to add a little more oil throughout the process. I like to use a soup spoon to move the meatballs around the pan, as this helps them keep their shape.
Transfer the meatballs to a plate that is lined with paper towels.
Drain all but 2 tablespoons of drippings from the pan. Remove any burnt pieces of meat. Melt the additional 2 tablespoons of butter in the pan.
Whisk the flour with the nutmeg, allspice and espresso powder in a small bowl.
Whisk the flour mixture into the drippings until smooth paste forms, then add the stock and bring to a simmer.
Lower the heat and add the meatballs to the sauce. Cover and let simmer over very low heat for 10 minutes.
Remove from the heat and whisk in the sour cream, then stir to coat the meatballs.
I weight out the meatballs to get an uniform size - for appetizers I like them to be about 30 grams.