I’ve made my fair share of meatballs, mostly with a tomato based sauce. Up until then, I would never have imagined how good Creamy Swedish meatballs could be. If you’re late to the party, like me, you’re in for a delicious surprise!
Meatballs and spaghetti originated from New York in the early 1920’s, the creation of ingenious Italian immigrants, not from Italy itself, as is often thought. It seems most countries have their own version the ever popular meatball. Favourites in the Bibby’s Kitchen are tapas-style Spanish meatballs, North African chermoula meatballs and of course, Italian Prosciutto meatballs. Adding to the blog’s meatball repertoire is my latest favourite, creamy Swedish meatballs. This is the first time I’ve made the Nordic speciality, Sweden’s famed meatball, known to locals as Köttbullar.
The sauce is rich with sturdy flavourings that meld easily together. One would think that being a Swedish recipe, the ingredients would be hard to find. Surprisingly, they’re everyday things that are pantry staples really – Dijon mustard, Worcestershire sauce and a pot of cream. That takes care of the sauce. For the meatballs you’ll need fresh parsley, mixed spices, egg and breadcrumbs.
Traditionally, Swedish meatballs are made with pork mince. I made it with beef mince and it worked a charm. I’ve also added mushrooms to the sauce and a drizzle of lemony extra virgin olive oil to contrasts the richness of the sauce. Fluffy mashed potatoes or tagliatelle are perfect to serve alongside.
Creamy Swedish meatballs with mushrooms
- olive oil, for frying
- 1 brown onion, finely diced
- 250g mushrooms, sliced
- 1/2 teaspoon oregano
- 500g lean beef mince
- 1/4 cup fresh breadcrumbs
- 1 egg
- 1 tablespoon fresh flat leaf parsley, chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon mixed spice (all spice)
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
- 350ml chicken stock
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 2 heaping teaspoons Dijon mustard
- a squeeze of fresh lemon juice (about 1 tbls)
- 250ml cream (single or whipping cream – about 35% fat content)
- a handful fresh flat leaf parsley, to finish
- In a large-based frying pan, sauté the onion until soft and translucent. Scrape into a mixing bowl and cool.
- In the same pan, cook the mushrooms on a high heat until all the liquid is evaporated. Season lightly with salt and oregano. Remove from the pan, cover and set aside.
- To make the meatballs, combine the mince, sautéed onion, breadcrumbs, egg, chopped parsley, spices, salt and pepper. Mix by hand until all the aromatics and breadcrumbs are evenly worked through.
- Roll into smallish balls. The mixture yields about 20 -25 meatballs. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in the same pan and cook the meatballs until browned on all sides. Add the meatballs to the cooked mushrooms.
- Add the butter to the remaining oils in the pan and heat until bubbling. Stir through the flour and cook for 2 minutes. Slowly add the hot chicken stock, whisking all the while to prevent lumps forming.
- Once all the stock is incorporated, add the Worcestershire sauce, Dijon mustard and lemon juice. Stir in the cream and bring slowly up to the boil.
- Return the meatballs to the pan and coat in the creamy sauce. Simmer for 4-5 minutes until the meatballs are cooked through and the sauce is thickened.
- Scatter over a handful of chopped fresh parsley and drizzle with Lemon enhanced olive oil.
- Serve with buttered tagliatelle pasta or garlic mashed potatoes.
Here are those meatball recipes I mentioned before.