Swedish Meatballs – easy kids recipe
When I was still pretty young my dad married this amazing Swedish woman, Sonja. Beyond being a great mom, she was an amazing cook, as were her sisters. My cousin Mats and I ate well no matter whose house we were at. But, we always got a little extra excited when we saw one of them get out the big mixing bowl AND the big frying pan. We knew that soon we would not only be allowed to have food up to our elbows, but that we were about to get stuffed to the gills in Swedish Meatballs. As an adult I don’t eat them nearly often enough (though it has become a Christmas Eve tradition), but my kids get as excited as I used to knowing that they get to be involved in not only creating these tasty little meatballs, but eating them as well. The following is the recipe that I got from my Step-mom and aunt, varied a little because I have never been able to leave well enough alone). Now I can’t claim this as healthy in any stretch of the imagination, but I do feel strongly that this one is good for the soul and a ton of fun for the kids and me.
A couple slices of fresh bread (white is traditional)
1/2 cup of milk
1 small yellow onion minced (about a half cup)
1 lb ground beef (80/20 works great)
1 lb ground pork (if you don’t eat pork be sure to use a higher fat content beef)
Pinch of salt (use kosher or sea)
2 egg yolks
½ teaspoon black pepper
¼ tsp allspice
¼ tsp nutmeg (fresh is best)
Lots of unsalted butter (Some recipes call for clarified butter, but I have never seen a Swedish mom do this)
¼ cup flour
3 cups beef broth
¼ cup heavy cream
Traditionally served with boiled new potatoes and lingon berry jam, though any jam is tasty with it.
1 large mixing bowl
1 small mixing bowl
A large skillet (I love my cast iron for this)
A whisk (for the sauce)
An oven safe dish to place the cooked meatballs in
a ¼ cup measuring cup
a 1 cup graduated measuring cup
Knife (for mincing onion)
Tongs to move meatballs
A pot for potatoes
Makes enough for four with some leftovers for lunch
Kid Involvement Level ****
Prep Time: 20-30 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
- Assemble ingredients
- Put milk and bread (torn into pieces) into a small bowl and allow to soak for a couple minutes,
- Preheat oven to Warm and put your potatoes on to boil
- Heat your skillet and add 1 Tbs of butter and melt
- Add onion and cook until translucent
- Mash the bread and milk until its mushy
- Mix all meatball ingredients in large bowl (including cooked onion and bread and milk mixture) and dig in. You want it to me a bit of a gummy texture and well mixed (you will find some recipes that say to use a mixer for this, but where is the fun in that?)
- Heat your skillet and melt some butter (a Tbs or more, depending on how guilty you want to feel when you eat them)
- Roll the meatballs up little balls about an inch in diameter (with a five year old helping some will be bigger and some will be smaller…it will be okay)
- As the pan gets nice and warm start dropping in the meat balls and shake the pan to get them coated with the butter and to get them rolling around. As they brown continue to shake to get them cooking on all side. Use the tongs if you feel the need.
- As they are cooked through (they don’t have to be completely so as they will finish in the oven), pull them out and place them in the oven safe pan and place in the oven. Keep going adding butter as needed and meatballs as needed until all the meatballs are done.
- Keep an eye on the potatoes (once they are easily pierced by a fork pull and drain them)
- Once all of the meatballs are done it is time to make the sauce. If there is some liquid in the pan you can just add the flour, but if it looks a bit dry add some butter first and allow it to melt.
- Mix pan juice butter and flour together with the whisk scraping the bottom of the pan to get the yummy bits.
- Allow the flour mixture (it is now essentially a roux) to turn the color of a brown paper sack
- Add the beef stock 1 cup at a time allowing it to thicken a bit each time and making sure that no lumps of roux remain.
- Once all the beef stock is in add the cream and again allow to thicken to the desired consistency.
- Pull meatballs from oven and pour sauce over them.
- Serve on a plate with lingon berry jam, potatoes and Swedish hard bread (something my kids really don’t like this week)
- Eat until you cannot eat anymore…and then get caught by your kids eating one more in the kitchen .