Swedish Meatballs

Swedish Meatballs | Culinary Compost Recipes

This recipe is a hands-down favorite in my family. My grandmother was Swedish, and her recipe was very similar to this. The kids request it about once a month. The key to making this a success is browning the meatballs until they have a really great crust, AND creating a proper roux for the gravy. If you rush it, the gravy will be flat and taste of flour and sour cream. Patience and a good eye are key. The recipe is a fair amount of work, but definitely worth the effort. Leftovers keep wonderfully.




For the Meatballs—
1-1/2 to 2 lbs. lean ground chuck
1/2 cup chopped onion
3/4 cup dried bread crumbs
1 tbs. dried parsley
1-1/2 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. pepper
1 tsp. Worchestershire sauce
1 egg, beaten
1/4 to 1/2 cup of milk
3 tbs. real butter
1 tbs. beef base

For the Sauce—
2-3 tbs. drippings from meatballs
1 stick salted butter
1/4 cup flour (plus an additional 2 tbs. if necessary)
1 tsp. paprika
1 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. pepper
3 cups water
3/4 cup sour cream
1/2 tbs. beef base
2 tsp. Kitchen Bouquet browning mix

3/4 package large egg noodles



Mix the meat ingredients well by hand in large mixing bowl. Pat out into medium sized meatballs. Brown well in a large, heavy cast-iron skillet, working in batches. Drain fat off and reserve. Place meatballs aside in Dutch oven, covered on low heat.

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.

Reserve 2-3 tbs. of the meat drippings in the skillet and reduce the heat to medium-low. DO NOT burn the flour in the next step, or it will taste bitter. Add the butter until melted, then add the flour and mix well with a large flat spatula to form a paste. Keep mixing constantly, and increase heat to medium for about 10-15 minutes to form a golden roux as a base for the gravy. Add the paprika, salt, pepper, water, beef base. Bring the mix up to a simmer and add the sour cream. Add the Kitchen Bouquet while stirring constantly. Check the seasoning and add to the Dutch oven when gravy is the desired consistency. (I keep mine a bit thick as it seems to thin out after baking.)

Bake covered for 1 hour, stirring once at 1/2 hour.

Remove from oven, stir and let stand for five minutes. Serve over egg noodles.

If you are delayed and need more time, you can reduce the heat of the oven after one hour to 200 degrees or less, with the same fantastic results.

Serves 6.

Swedish Meatballs | Culinary Compost Recipes

Brown the meatballs by working in batches. Two pounds of ground chuck will yield about three pan’s worth of one-inch meatballs; roughly forty to forty-two. Note the nice browned crust, which really adds to the flavor of the gravy made in the next step.

Authentic Swedish Meatballs - preparing the roux for the gravy

Time and patience are needed to prepare a proper roux. The dark color comes from the browned flour and crusty bits left over from the meatballs and onion. The rendered fat is liquid gold, so make sure you save a few tablespoons for the gravy. Wait to season it until you prepare the gravy, so you can check and adjust the flavor.

Authentic Swedish Meatballs - preparing the gravy

Leave yourself about a half hour to prepare the gravy. It should be reduced slightly and have a velvety sheen.

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