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Something good from Sweden



It is beginning to look as though the Swedish approach to the virus is not working as well as originally hoped. Infections are rising and the economy is taking a hit. With Sweden so much in the news I remembered that for years I used to make what I called Swedish meatballs. I suspect they are more aptly called Swedish style meatballs. What makes them different from Italian meatballs is their smaller size, lack of tomato sauce, and spices that more often are found in baked goods - nutmeg, cardamom and allspice. What makes them special for me is the accompaniment of lingonberries. Lingonberries are small red berries also known as lowbush or mountain cranberries Some recipes call for putting them in the meatball sauce but I prefer them unadulterated on the side. Swedish meatballs were often served at American cocktail parties decades ago but with grape jelly which is really no substitute.


Although I used to make these without a recipe I decided I would do a bit of research to get reacquainted with how to make them. Most recipes call for a mixture of ground beef and ground pork, egg, milk, white bread, onion, nutmeg, cardamom and beef broth. I had some ground beef and ground turkey and decided to use that instead. The most helpful information I found was the suggestion to mix it all in a stand mixer which I did. It produced a much more evenly distributed mix. I don't think the quantities of ingredients needs to be set in stone, but here is what I used. I wound up with 30 meatballs and cooked 15 and froze the rest for another time.


1lb chopped beef

1lb chopped turkey

1 egg

1onion grated or chopped very fine

3/4 cup panko (I had no bread) soaked in 3/4 cup milk

1/2 tsp nutmeg

1/2 tsp cardomom

1/4 tsp allspicce

salt and pepper


Mix together by hand or in stand mixer. Form into small balls, slightly larger than a walnut. I opted against tasting the mixture, given the presence both raw poultry and raw egg. I tested the seasoning by pinching off a small piece and cooking it.


Melt some butter in a saute pan and cook meatballs, shaking and turning over gently with tongs. I have never managed to get really round meatballs, they always seem to flatten on the sides. When they are cooked, remove them from pan and melt about 2 tbsp of butter. When it sizzles, stir in 2 tbsp of flour, making a roux. After the roux has started to brown, pour in about a cup of beef broth and stir. Return meatballs to pan and cook in the sauce. Some recipes call for adding sour cream, but I have never found this necessary.


Serve with wide egg noodles and Lingonberry sauce which you can get these days on Amazon.


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