07 May 2015

Swedish Meatballs - Svenska Kottbullar

Swedish Meatballs / www.delightfulrepast.com

Of course, no smorgasbord would be complete without meatballs. And perfect for Mad Men-era cocktail party menus, Swedish meatballs also make a main dish the whole family will enjoy. 

I first had them when I was 12. I only remember because that was when my self-employed father took on some work about 200 miles from home, testing the waters in another area with an eye to possibly moving there. For the next 18 months, we saw him only on weekends. My mother and I hit the road every Friday afternoon to visit him in his temporary home. 

And every Friday evening we had dinner out. One of the places my father had discovered was a family-owned Swedish smorgasbord restaurant that was popular with the locals. I liked my first dinner there so much that I continued to get the exact same thing every time we went there over the next 18 months. You know how kids are! 

I got different side dishes from time to time, but Swedish meatballs and mashed potatoes (Kottbullar med Potatismos) every single time. Not being Swedish, I make no claims to authenticity; but these tender meatballs do taste very much like I remember those first Swedish meatballs of long ago. (If you prefer, here are my Italian meatballs.)


Swedish Meatballs / www.delightfulrepast.com

Swedish Meatballs - Svenska Kottbullar 

(Makes about 34, 4 main-dish servings) 

The Meatballs 

About 2 slices good white bread for 3/4 packed cup breadcrumbs 
1/4 cup finely minced onion
1 1/2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
3/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1/3 cup milk
1 large egg
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 pound lean ground beef
1/2 pound ground pork 


The Sauce 

3 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups lower sodium beef broth
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
1/4 cup heavy cream
Garnish: sour cream and chopped dill 


1 Use food processor to make perfect fresh breadcrumbs. Cut two slices (you might need a third slice, depending on your bread) of good white bread into four to six pieces. You only need to remove the crust if it's coated with seeds. Process until it becomes breadcrumbs. Don't worry about overdoing it; it's pretty foolproof. You should have 3/4 cup, fairly firmly packed. Add crumbs to a 2-quart mixing bowl. 

Update 07/02/16: I've since acquired (and become addicted to!) an immersion blender, and it has a handy dandy little mini processor/chopper bowl that works beautifully for the small amounts in this recipe. If you don't have one, don't wait as long as I did to get one!

2 Cut a small piece of onion into a couple of chunks and use the food processor (no need to clean the bowl) to finely mince the onion. Saute in oil until soft. Add to bowl. 

3 Add salt, pepper, allspice, milk, egg and Worcestershire sauce to bowl. Mix well. Add ground beef and ground pork, and mix well. Just use your impeccably clean hand to mix, if you like. Put mixture in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours before shaping. 

4 Preheat oven to 400F/200C/Gas6. Using a #60/0.5-ounce/1 tablespoon scoop, scoop out all the meatballs; you should get almost 3 dozen. Place them on an oiled rimmed baking sheet (13x9x1-inch quarter sheet pan is perfect for this), then go back and roll each one into a smooth round ball and place back on the sheet. Bake for 20 minutes. 

5 In 12-inch skillet (10-inch okay if it has straight sides), melt butter. Stir in flour, cooking and stirring to make a smooth, browned roux. Don't rush it; get the roux browned. Add beef broth and cook, stirring, until smooth and thickened. Stir in Worcestershire sauce, salt, pepper and cream. Transfer meatballs to sauce. Heat on low for 10 minutes.

6 Garnish each serving with a dollop of sour cream and a generous sprinkling of dill.

44 comments:

eileeninmd said...

Hello, your swedish meatballs sound and look delicious. Thanks for sharing your recipe.. Thank you for the comment and visit! BTW, I do not sell my photos. I am an amateur and just like taking photos for fun!

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thanks, Eileen! I'm sure you could sell your photos if you wanted to, they're gorgeous!

Jacquelineand.... said...

Love Swedish meatballs; I'll definitely be making this... and this weekend! Hope you're doing well, and not so busy you can't relax and have some fun occasionally. =)

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Jacqueline, thank you! Do let me know how it turns out for you. I'm going to try to relax this weekend!

Linda Kay said...

Jean, these look sooooo delicious. I'll have to give the recipe a go!

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thanks, Linda! I hope you will. We love them.

Thomas "Sully" Sullivan said...

What, what – no Irish meatballs? Every country should have meatballs. In fact, in fact…there should be an Olympic food fight with meatballs, and the winner gets to keep the official national designation for four years. Or maybe we can just call them UN meatballs or drop the word “ground” and call them round hamburgers. In any case, it sounds (and looks) good. And I like your familial glimpse, and I will wonder into the night what your father’s self-employed fortunes were…

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thank you, Sully! And I'm glad you enjoyed the "familial glimpse." I do *try* to open up a bit now and then!

Cranberry Morning said...

Okay, I really should try these. My paternal grandfather came over from Sweden and his daughter, my Aunt Esther, always made Swedish meatballs. I did love them. But then I went to IKEA and made the mistake of eating theirs. Obviously, my Aunt Esther was not in their kitchen.

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

:D Judy, I'm certain your Aunt Esther would want you to go right into the kitchen and make these meatballs. (I've never been to an IKEA store.)

Richard Sheppard said...

A long time ago I had the pleasure of spending a month traveling across Sweden and staying with four different families along the way. One of the families I stayed with made Swedish Meatballs and I got to help make them. So much fun! And they were delicious. I'd love to try your recipe and bring back those memories too!

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

How fun, Richard! I hope you'll make this recipe soon and tell me how it compares to your memory of the meatballs you had in Sweden.

Angie Schneider said...

My husband loves meatballs..need to make this for him soon.

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Angie, thanks! I hope he likes it as much as we do.

Jillian's Bella Rosa Antiques said...

WOW! They look fantastic. My Grandmother was Swedish so I'd love to try homemade... she never made them while I was around. :)

Thanks for stopping by my blog!

The Joy of Home with Martha Ellen said...

Jean, your meatballs look delicious! I understand about ordering the same thing as child. I remember ordering fried chicken every time we ate out. ♥

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Jillian, thanks. Even though you never had your grandmother's, I bet you'll think of her everytime you make these!

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thank you, Martha. There was a place I ordered fried chicken, too!

Amy at love made my home said...

Delicious!! Or whatever the Swedish equivalent for that is!! xx

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thanks, Amy! I only know two words in Swedish: Svenska Kottbullar!

Stephanie Thurow said...

Yum. Swedish Meatballs are a household fav!

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Stephanie, I'm beginning to think of them as a "household fav" myself!

Kristi @ Inspiration Kitchen said...

OMGosh Jean - these totally made my mouth water. I love me a good meatball and I love these in gravy. My mouth is totally watering!

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Kristi, thank you so much! Wish I had them this evening!

Mimi Mama said...

Gosh Jean, they look utterly mouthwatering! Mimi xxx

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Mimi, thanks. They were! Wish I'd made a double batch and popped some into the freezer!

kitty@ Kitty's Kozy Kitchen said...

These look soooo tasty, Jean! I would love, love to try this recipe!

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Kitty, thanks so much! Please let me know how it turns out for you!

April J Harris said...

I'm still like that, Jean, if I find a dish I really like in a restaurant I often order it every time :-) Your Swedish Meatballs look and sound delicious - love all the wonderful flavours you have used and the creamy sauce is gorgeous. Thank you for sharing with us at the Hearth and Soul hop. Pinning and will tweet!

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

April, thank you so much! I'm kind of still doing that, too, now that I think of it!

Stephanie said...

Oh Jean, I love Swedish Meatballs :) I first had them when my mother-in-law made them one Sunday afternoon. Your recipe is different than hers so I would love to try yours sometime soon.

Thank you, sweet lady, for sharing with Roses of Inspiration. May you have a lovely Sunday! Hugs!

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thank you, Stephanie! I do hope you will try my recipe soon and let me know how it turns out for you. Have a wonderful weekend!

bj said...

I've never had Swedish meatballs and yours sound delicious.
and...
I love your take on the scarves the Rosies worn.....LOL

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

BJ, it's always fun, I think, to compare with people things they've never eaten. Like, I can't believe you've never had Swedish meatballs and yet I bet there are things you have all the time that I've never eaten.

Maureen | Orgasmic Chef said...

The first dish I made when I moved into my own place was Swedish meatballs. I loved them and because it was the only thing I knew how to make well, it's all I made. Finally one of my friends said, "Do you need a cookbook, Maureen?"

I love your Swedish meatballs!

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thanks, Maureen. That is so funny! Now look at you!

Tony Grant said...

Noticed that IKEA has already been mentioned, Jean. If it hadn't I would have !!! ha! ha!
Don't get me started on IKEA!!!!!!!Grrrrrrrr!!!!

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Tony, I had some friends who were going to our nearest IKEA (about 50 miles from us) about once a month; they loved it. I can't really express an opinion as I have never been to one!

Tony Grant said...

IKEA epitomises Swedish and Scandinavian design. It is beautiful. If you want to buy a vase, a rug or some curtains with stylish modern design then IKEA is the place for you. Their furniture looks good too.Notice I said ,looks good. However, I have tried, and tried is the operative word, to construct some of their furniture using the instructions provided. It is more than an ordeal. So, I look forward to putting together a piece of IKEA furniture with as much joy and expectation as sticking my head down the toilet. Me and IKEA furniture have had our moments shall we say!!! I have had cut knees and scarped elbows to prove. (I fell on top of a cupboard under construction!!!)
I also hate and dread going around their stores. I have actually felt my stress levels rise alarmingly in an IKEA store. I wanted to get out and I couldn't. They are designed on the principle of a maze. If you want to get out you have to suffer to the end. There is NO way out!! . Once in you are trapped like a rat in a cage!! ha! ha! (Marilyn LIKES IKEA)

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Tony, my husband and I have found that assembly or setup instructions for *any* brand are very poorly written these days. They need to get detail-oriented people with logical minds to write instructions!

Parsimonious Perfection said...

These look absolutely sublime! Yummm.

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thanks, PP! Wish I had some in the freezer for this evening.

Karen Booth said...

I LOVE Swedish meatballs and had the opportunist if making them with the Scandinavian Kitchen recently in London......along with other Swedish treats! These look amazing! Karen

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Karen, thank you! I appreciate the feedback from an expert!

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