Swedish Meatballs 3 Ways

I LOVE Swedish meatballs. Something about my intense feelings for these little guys made it daunting to attempt cooking them myself, but I finally did and thoroughly enjoyed the results. Here's my adaptation based on 2 family recipes, and my notes on the three cooking methods I tried.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1.5 c gluten free quick oats
  • 2.5 lbs ground beef
  • 2.5 lbs ground pork
  • 3 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 2 medium onions (chopped fine)
  • 3 eggs
  • 3 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp allspice
  • 1/2 tsp cloves
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp ginger
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • Stock for simmering (optional - see notes)

How to:

  1. Stir the lemon juice into the milk, then combine with the quick oats and set aside to soak for 20 minutes.
  2. Combine the ground meat.
  3. Chop the onions and sauté in butter, then set aside to cool.
  4. Beat the eggs and mix in the salt and spices.
  5. In a large bowl, combine the oat mixture, meat, onions, and egg mixture. Blend thoroughly.
  6. Form small meatballs and then cook by one of three methods:
    1. Brown the outsides of the meatballs in a pan on the stove, then place on a rack in a baking tray and cook in a 350 F oven until the meatballs reach an internal temperature of 165 F.
    2. Place meatballs directly on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake in a 350 F oven until the meatballs reach an internal temperature of 165 F.
    3. My favorite method: Brown the outsides of the meatballs in a pan on the stove, then simmer in stock until the meatballs reach an internal temperature of 165 F. Save the broth for making something delicious like gravy.
  7. Enjoy your delicious meatballs plain or garnish with the traditional lingonberry sauce.

Notes & Options

  • Smaller meatballs - about the size of a large cherry - are easier to handle, especially if you are browning them in a pan. Using tongs to turn them also helps make the browning step a bit easier.
  • Of the three cooking methods, I liked the method of simmering in stock the best. They stayed nice and moist, the stock may have given a tiny boost to the flavor of the meatballs, and the leftover stock would be great for making gravy. (I'll attempt making gravy next time. This time it was used for a hearty soup base.)
  • Baking on a parchment lined tray is the easiest method, but yields slightly soggy meatballs since the drippings can't drip and drain away from the meatballs very well.
  • Browning in the pan before finishing in the oven was the best method for getting a nice "crust" of slightly caramelized, browned meatball exteriors.
  • If you don't need to avoid gluten, you can use breadcrumbs instead of quick oats.
  • I didn't have my onions chopped up very fine. I think it would have been better if they were chopped into smaller pieces - no bigger than 1/4 inch.
Copyright 2017 Amanda Hansen all rights reserved