I suppose these really should be called “Swedish” meatballs, since I haven’t sent this to any Swede to ascertain how authentic they are. If they are authentic or if they aren’t– they certainly are scrumptious and always a huge hit whenever I make them.
In my humble opinion, I’d much rather it read “Swedish” meatballs, rather than Swedish “meat”balls– but that’s just my preference. This simple little things are nothing more than a dense baked meatball swaddled in a sour cream and broth gravy. These are one of the most popular party finger foods I make– I normally keep them warm in a slow cooker and set out toothpicks. They disappear and everyone always asks what makes them so delicious. The unique blend of savory, sweet, salty, creamy makes them irresistible– and no one would ever guess how easy they are to make!
Easy Swedish Meatballs
If you cannot find lingonberry jam or red currant jam, replace the amounts with brown sugar.
- 1 1/2-2/3 lbs. ground meat– “meatloaf mix” (equal parts beef, veal, pork) preferred OR half beef, half pork
- 3 eggs1 tsp. ground nutmeg
- 1 tsp. ground allspice4 strips of bacon
- 1/2 cup unflavored breadcrumbs
- 1/2 cup rolled oats (not instant)1 tsp. salt
- 2 tsp. lingonberry jam or red currant jam
FOR THE GRAVY:
- 2 cups low sodium or unsalted veal or beef stock
- 4 tbs. flour
- 3/4 cup sour cream
- 3 tsp. lingonberry jam or red currant jam
Preheat the oven to 450. In a large pot, use kitchen scissors to cut the bacon strips horizontally into 1/2 strips right into the pot. Set the pot on medium heat and move the bacon around every 30 seconds or so until it is crisp. Use a slotted spoon to remove the bacon to a bowl and leave the bacon fat in the pot– we’re going to use it to make the gravy.In a large bowl, mix together everything except the ground meat and the bacon.
Add in the ground meat and then the bacon– being careful if the bacon is still hot. The best tool to combine everything is your (clean) hands– so prepare your baking sheet so you can easily move from mixing to shaping. Form the meat mixture into about 40-45 little balls. They should be slightly smaller than the meatballs you use in spaghetti and meatballs– remember, this should be finger food, so make them slightly larger than an average unshelled hazelnut. I usually make 5 rows of 8 meatballs, but still, sometimes there is meat left over and I squish in a few more in the rows. They barely expand, unlike cookies, so you can actually fit them all in closer together on only one baking sheet (win!).
Place them in the oven and let them roast for a good 15 minutes. 3 eggs might seem like a lot and 15 minutes at 450 might seem hot– but we want them to be dense and hold together as we wrap them in their luxurious gravy. Speaking of which…While they roast, sprinkle 4 tablespoons of flour on the reserved bacon fat (or melted butter if you chose not to use bacon for some insane reason). Use a large whisk to blend it together and then turn the heat to medium. Let the roux come to a light bubble– when it starts to turn a light brown, slowly pour in your veal or beef stock, whisking quickly while you pour. You should be left with a smooth gravy. Stir in your lingonberry or red currant jam.
Put the sour cream in another bowl and whisk in about a 1/4 cup of the gravy– then quickly pour and whisk the sour cream into the pot. It might seems like a finicky step, but it will keep the sour cream from curdling badly. Lower the heat for the pot.When the meatballs are done roasting, carefully plop them into the gravy and let them simmer there for about 10 minutes. You can either serve now (they’ll be very hot!) or keep them in the fridge before reheating in a few hours. I like to reheat them in the pot then move them to a slow cooker on the “warm setting for a party. Keep the lid in the cabinet and set out a bowl of toothpicks next to the warm and cozy dish of luscious meatballs.