Köttbullar – real Swedish meatballs
There are as many recipes for meatballs in Scandinavia as there are cooks. Recipes vary from region to region, both in terms of ingredients and size of each meatball. These days, a lot of people buy their meatballs from the supermarket – which is fair enough, but also a bit of a shame. This is a recipe for lovely Swedish meatballs to be served with stirred lingonberries and creamy gravy, and they’re really worth the effort, especially when served with lovely smooth and creamy mash. IKEA they ain’t.
This recipe serves six people.
For the meatballs:
- 30g porridge oats or breadcrumbs
- 150ml beef stock (chicken works well too)
- 400g minced beef
- 250g minced pork (minimum 10% fat)
- 1 medium egg
- 2½ tbsp plain flour
- pinch of salt
- 1 tsp ground allspice
- ½ tsp ground black pepper
- ½ tsp ground white pepper
- dash of Worcestershire sauce (or light soy sauce if you prefer)
- 1 small onion, grated
- butter and oil for frying – whatever you prefer
For the gravy:
- ? beef stock
- 1 tbsp plain flour
- a decent glug of single cream
- salt and ground black pepper to taste
For the stirred lingonberries:
- 250g frozen lingonberries
- 100g caster sugar
If you can’t get hold of lingonberries, think about getting a jar of Swedish rårörda lingon. It goes particularly well with chicken and turkey as well. (Beware, though – this is not the same as lingonberry jam.)
How to make the dish:
- Put the frozen lingonberries in a bowl, add the caster sugar, stir and leave to one side.
- If you’re using oats, soak them in the meat stock for at least 5 minutes.
- Mix the beef and pork together in a food processor with a good pinch of salt – ensure the meats are blended thoroughly.
- Add the eggs, flour, spices and dash of sauce to another bowl, then mix with the oats or breadcrumbs and grated onion.
- Add the meat to the mixture and stir. It’ll be a sticky mess, but still pliable to make meatballs. Leave it to rest for 20-25 minutes before you do, though.
- Here’s where you get experimental – heat up your frying pan with a little butter or oil and shape a very small meatball from your mixture (damp hands are handy for this). Fry the meatball until it’s cooked, then taste it. Adjust your seasoning if you’re not satisfied then repeat to ensure you’re completely happy with the batch you’re about to produce. This is how you make sure you’re about to create your own meatball recipe, just like Swedish cooks do.
- Get your hands damp again and shape the meatballs into balls around 2.5cm (1in) in diameter. If you prefer bigger balls, that’s totally fine – Danish frikadeller meatballs are much bigger than Swedish ones.
- Melt a knob of butter along with a dash of oil in your frying pan, then carefully add a few meatballs. Don’t overcrowd the pan as you need to make sure that they get an even cooking all over and don’t stick together. Cooking will probably take around 5 minutes. This will probably take a few batches, so get your oven warm to keep the cooked meatballs hot until they’re all done.
- When the meatballs are done, keep your frying pan on a medium heat to make the gravy. If it’s a bit dry, add a knob off butter along with the tablespoon of flour and whisk. Add a splash of the stock as you whisk, then keep adding stock until you have a smooth gravy. Towards the end add your glug of cream and salt and pepper to taste. The gravy will be a light brown colour.
- By now, the caster sugar should have dissolved into the now-defrosted lingonberries. Stir again to make sure.
- Serve the meatballs with lovely mash and the lingonberries and gravy.