Classic Swedish Meatballs

Posted on September 18th, 2013 by Leah Damron

A neighbor once told me when I was a little girl that I got my dimples from eating meatballs.  I bought in to this story hook, line and sinker until I was at least 10 years old.  This classic recipe comes from that same neighbor, and yes, it’s a bit of a throwback to the days of hot pants, shag hair cuts and platform shoes.  I’ve not bothered to put any sort of fancy riff on the original dish since my mom first started making it in (roughly?) 1975. 

That they’ll put dimples in your cheeks is probably a bit of a stretch.  They might cause dimples to appear on your thighs, however – I mean, it was the 70’s for pity’s sake.  People weren’t worried about cholesterol while they were out catching Saturday Night Fever.  Let’s not worry about it today either.

Spin your favorite classic rock and make this retro dinner tonight, because like “Stairway to Heaven”, “Layla”, and “Don’t Look Back”, classic dishes like these Swedish meatballs never go out of style.  They have been a lifelong favorite of mine, and I hope you like them too.  Also (and not that this is news), kids adore this meal.

Have a great week.  : )

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A quick note right from the top:  I am listing the recipe as it is originally written – however, yesterday I skipped the stove top browning and browned the meatballs in a very hot oven instead.  I then transferred them to the crock pot for the afternoon, which I’d never done before.  I made the gravy on the stove and poured it over the meatballs in the crockpot shortly before we ate.  This method worked well and if the DamFam noticed that drippings weren’t used in the gravy, no one said a thing.  This ended up being the perfect method for a busy day.  Scroll to the bottom of the recipe for how I did it.

CLASSIC SWEDISH MEATBALLS
SERVES:  5 – 6
SOURCE:  Mrs. Karen Naftzger

5 T. butter, divided (Organic Valley Butter is on sale)
3 T. minced onion
3/4 c. half and half
3/4 c. breadcrumbs (I use fresh)
2 eggs, beaten (Shurfresh Eggs are on sale)
2 t. salt
1/4 t. black pepper
1/4 t. allspice
dash cloves
1 1/2 lb. ground beef (Sendik’s Natural Ground Chuck is on sale on TUESDAYS during 7 Days, 7 Ways to Save)
1/2 lb. ground pork

2 T. flour
1/2 c. half and half
1 1/2 c. water or beef broth
1 t. salt
1/2 t. Gravy Master
dash pepper

Hot egg noodles for serving

Saute onion in 1 tablespoon of butter until translucent; set aside to cool.  Combine half and half, breadcrumbs, eggs, pepper, allspice, cloves and cooled onions in a large mixing bowl.  Break up ground beef and ground pork and add them to the egg mixture, combining well with your hands.  Form meat mixture into golf ball sized balls (smaller if you’re making these for an appetizer) and set aside.

Place a large skillet over medium high heat and melt 2 tablespoons of butter.  When foaming subsides, add some of your meatballs to the pan, being careful not to crowd them (you will need to do this in batches).  Shake pan from time to time to brown evenly on all sides.  As they brown, transfer them to a clean plate.  Repeat (adding additional butter as needed) until all meatballs are browned.

Remove and discard all but 2 tablespoons of drippings from the pan.  Stir in flour, whisk until smooth.  Gradually add half and half and water (or beef broth), stirring constantly to avoid any lumps.  Bring to a boil; add salt, Gravy Master, and pepper.  Add meatballs back in to pan, heat gently.  Serve meatballs and gravy over egg noodles.

FOR THE CROCKPOT VERSION:
You might be more of a crockpot expert than I am; if you are and you have a different idea please don’t hesitate to share it with me.  : )

Preheat oven to 475.  Plug in your crockpot and set it to low; pour 1 1/2 cups beef broth in crockpot and cover pot with lid.

Follow meatball instructions until you reach the browning step.  Place meatballs on a parchment paper lined baking sheet and brown meatballs in preheated oven for 10 minutes.  Transfer meatballs to the crockpot (I used two dozen and froze the rest); place lid on pot and cook on low for four to five hours.  Half an hour (or so) before serving, make the gravy:  use a slotted spoon to transfer meatballs to a bowl or plate.  Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a medium saucepan over medium high heat.  Add 2 tablespoons of flour to the butter, whisk until smooth.  Cook butter and flour mixture for two minutes while stirring constantly.  Gradually add 1/2 cup of half and half and broth from the crockpot to the butter and flour mixture, stir constantly until mixture begins to boil and thicken (two or three minutes).  Add salt, Gravy Master, and pepper, whisk to combine.  Return meatballs to crockpot, pour hot gravy over meatballs.  Cover crockpot and reduce to ‘warm’ setting while you make the noodles.

Blogs, Featured, Fresh, Frugal, Fabulous | September 18th, 2013