Friday, May 6, 2011

Köttbullar - Swedish Meatballs (Bork Bork Bork)

As you all probably already know, last Wednesday, April 27th, the Southeast was hit with one of the worst tornado outbreaks in history. Our state of Alabama was hit hardest, with 250 fatalities, countless injuries, and thousands of buildings destroyed. Power and internet service was just restored here on Tuesday (thank you, Florida Power & Light!!), so I've had to throw out everything from the refrigerator and start over again. Thankfully, everyone I know made it through the storms unscathed, though many people were not as lucky. 

Cooking a meal for the first time in over a week feels like I'm finally getting back to a normal routine. Recently we watched a program on tv all about meatballs, which planted the craving seed. I knew that I would HAVE to make meatballs soon, specifically köttbullar, more commonly known as Swedish meatballs.

Swedish meatballs are simply small meatballs made from a mixture of ground beef and ground pork, or sometimes veal. The meatballs are mixed with milk-soaked bread and sauteed onions, then cooked and served in a beefy, creamy gravy along with lingonberry jam. Made popular by IKEA stores (which we don't have here in Alabama), these meatballs are very easy to make at home. 

Swedish Meatballs
adapted from Alton Brown

2 slices soft white sandwich bread
1/4 cup milk
3 Tbsp clarified butter, divided
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
1 tsp salt
3/4 lb ground chuck
3/4 lb ground pork
2 large egg yolks
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp ground allspice
1/4 tsp grated nutmeg
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
3 cups beef broth
1/2 cup sour cream
Lingonberry jam (substitute red currant or cranberry)

Tear bread into small pieces and place in a mixing bowl with the milk. Set aside. 

In a large skillet, saute onions in 1 Tbsp clarified butter with a pinch of salt until soft. Set aside to cool slightly.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the soaked bread, ground chuck, ground pork, egg yolks, salt, pepper, allspice, nutmeg and sauteed onions.Beat vigorously until combined (I prefer to get my hands in there and REALLY mash things up). 

Form 1oz meatballs with a scoop; gently roll into balls and set aside. 

Heat remaining clarified butter in a large skillet over medium-low heat. Place meatballs in the skillet and cook 7-10 minutes, carefully turning each meatball with tongs to cook evenly on all sides. Transfer to a casserole dish and place in a 200 degree oven to keep warm.

Sift the flour into the pan juices and whisk 1-2 minutes or until the roux is lightly browned. Slowly whisk in the beef broth until the sauce begins to thicken. Stir in the sour cream and heat through. Return the meatballs to the sauce and gently toss to coat. 

Serve over egg noodles if desired. To be authentic, serve with lingonberry jam - I left this out since I don't really like it, AND it's hard to find. 


  1. I love the swedish chef and know his song by heart!!! We had your pulled pork with alabama bbq sauce tonight cuz my husband re-requested it! I'll be trying the meatballs soon!

  2. He requested it? I hope you enjoyed it!!

    Please let me know how the meatballs turn out! :)

  3. Looks tasty! Good job. �� köttbullar is one of my top ten favourite Swedish dishes