Swedish meatballs, stars of 1960s-era cocktail parties and IKEA shopping trips, are, on the surface, pretty simple: a mix of pork and beef that's lightly spiced and served with a rich gravy. Getting them just right, though, requires some fine-tuned tinkering. Here's our ultimate version, as good on a plate with buttery potatoes and lingonberry jam as speared on a toothpick.
Why This Recipe Works:
- A 2:1 blend of beef to pork creates meatballs that are rich and flavorful, with just the right balance of springiness and tenderness.
- Frying half the onion in butter and leaving the other half raw adds both sweetness and depth to the meatballs, along with a little bit of texture.
- A splash of soy sauce and cider vinegar create a gravy that's flavorful and rich, with just the right balance.
Note: Mincing the onion will produced fine pieces for a more discrete texture, while grating will produce softer bits of onion that blend into the mix more; grating, however, can create bitter flavor in the onion. Once fully cooked, those bitter flavors tend to dissipate, but it is a risk worth considering.
- Yield:Makes 40 to 50 meatballs serving 4 to 6 as a main course or 10 to 12 as an appetizer
- Active time: 1 hour 30 minutes
- Total time:1 hour 30 minutes
- 3 ounces fresh white bread, crusts removed and bread cut into 1/2-inch pieces (about 1 3/4 unpacked cups)
- 1/2 cup milk
- 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
- 1 medium onion, minced or grated, divided (see note above)
- 1 pound 4 ounces ground beef chuck (about 20% fat)
- 12 ounces ground pork (about 25% fat)
- 4 teaspoons (18 grams) kosher salt, plus more for seasoning
- 2 large eggs
- 1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper, plus more for seasoning
- 1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
- Canola or vegetable oil, for frying
- 3 tablespoons flour
- 2 cups homemeade chicken stock or low-sodium chicken broth
- 1 teaspoon soy sauce
- 1/2 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
- Minced flat-leaf parsley, for garnish
- Buttered boiled Yukon gold potatoes and lingonberry jam, for serving (optional)
In a medium bowl, combine bread with milk, tossing to coat. Let stand until bread is completely softened and most of the milk absorbed, about 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a small skillet, melt 2 tablespoon butter over medium-high heat. Add half of the minced onion and cook, stirring, until onion is golden and tender, about 7 minutes.
In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or in a food processor, combine ground beef, ground pork, bread and any remaining milk, cooked onion, remaining raw onion, 4 teaspoons salt, eggs, white pepper, and allspice. Starting on low speed and increasing to medium-high, beat mixture until ingredients are thoroughly combined, about 30 seconds to 1 minute.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Dipping your hands in water as needed to prevent meatball mixture from sticking, roll roughly 1-tablespoon-sized portions of meatball mixture into balls slightly smaller than golf-ball size. Transfer to lined baking sheet.
Set a rack over a clean baking sheet and heat oven to 200°F. Heat about 1/2 inch of oil in a wide skillet to 350°F. Working in batches, lower meatballs into oil and fry, turning until well browned all over, about 2 minutes. Transfer browned meatballs to the rack and keep warm in the oven.
In a medium saucepan, melt remaining 3 tablespoons butter over medium-high heat until foamy. Whisk in flour and cook, whisking, until raw flour smell is gone, about 3 minutes. Whisk in chicken stock, bring to a boil, lower heat to a simmer and cook until thickened, about 3 minutes. Whisk in soy sauce and cider vinegar. Season with salt and white pepper.
Add meatballs to gravy and stir to coat. Simmer until meatballs are heated through. Serve right away with buttered potatoes and lingonberry jam, or as an hors d'oeuvres speared with toothpicks.