Marks Daily Apple
Serving up health and fitness insights (daily, of course) with a side of irreverence.
15 Mar

Swedish Meatballs

SwedeMeatballs2Swedish meatballs can be a main course, but their small size is ideal for an appetizer, ready to be stabbed with a toothpick or picked up by hungry fingers. But if you’re not planning a festive smorgasbord in the near future, then just stash these meaty morsels in the fridge for middle of the week snacking.

The allspice and nutmeg seasoning in these Swedish meatballs is subtle, but enough to be noticed, and makes the dish taste different from your average meatball. Swedish meatballs are usually made with a blend of beef and pork, which you could certainly do, but they’re also really delicious made with ground bison. The small size of Swedish meatballs means they don’t need to be cooked long, which is perfect for bison, a type of meat that is most tender and juicy when served medium rare.

Why use bison? Bison is a great source of protein, iron and omega-3 fatty acids. Bison aren’t mass-farmed and rarely treated with antibiotics and hormones. Ideally, buy bison that is labeled as 100% grass fed.

The cream sauce served with these meatballs is traditional (as is a dollop of lingonberry jam on the side) but not necessary if you don’t do dairy. There’s no question the sauce is delicious, but Swedish meatballs will disappear quickly without it too.

Servings: 22 small meatballs

Time in the Kitchen: 35 minutes

Ingredients:

Ingredients 4
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided (30 g)
  • 1/4 of a yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 1 pound ground meat (bison, or a mix of beef and pork) (450 g)
  • 2 tablespoons water (30 ml)
  • 1 egg, whisked
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt (2.5 ml)
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper (1.25 ml)
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg (1.25 ml)
  • 1/8 teaspoon allspice (a pinch)
  • 1/2 cup beef stock (120 ml)
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream (120 ml)
  • Finely chopped fresh dill for garnish

Instructions:

Melt 1 tablespoon of the butter in a large frying pan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until softened, 4 to 6 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool slightly.

By hand, very gently mix together the cooled onion, meat, water, egg, salt, pepper, nutmeg and allspice. Don’t over-mix the meat (which can make it tough). The blend will be loose and quite damp.

Step1 15

Gently form small meatballs, using about a tablespoon of meat for each. The meatballs will not be firm; this is okay, and means you will have tender, juicy meatballs. If you find the meat too hard to work with, then refrigerate it for 30 minutes to an hour. Wetting your hands with water can help the meat stick to your hands less.

Melt the remaining tablespoon of butter in the same frying pan over medium heat. Add the meatballs and fry, turning after 4 minutes or when the bottom is browned and no longer sticking to the pan.

Step2 15

Cook for another 4 to 6 minutes.

Step3 7

If making the sauce, remove the meatballs from the pan. Add the stock and bring to a boil for 3 minutes, scraping up any bits of meat in the pan. If you want a smooth sauce, strain the stock then return it to the pan.

Add the cream to the stock and simmer gently until it reduces and thickens, about 3 minutes. Add the meatballs back to the pan for a few minutes before serving.

Step4 2

Garnish with dill.

SwedeMeatballs2

You want comments? We got comments:

Imagine you’re George Clooney. Take a moment to admire your grooming and wit. Okay, now imagine someone walks up to you and asks, “What’s your name?” You say, “I’m George Clooney.” Or maybe you say, “I’m the Clooninator!” You don’t say “I’m George of George Clooney Sells Movies Blog” and you certainly don’t say, “I’m Clooney Weight Loss Plan”. So while spam is technically meat, it ain’t anywhere near Primal. Please nickname yourself something your friends would call you.

  1. Nice way to include some bone broth into a meal!

    Dr. Anthony Gustin wrote on March 15th, 2014
    • My thought exactly.

      Gina wrote on March 25th, 2014
  2. mmm these look good. I haven’t made homemade meatballs in a while. This is something I want to try.

    Steph wrote on March 15th, 2014
  3. Yum, but for some reason I am feeling this strange urge to buy inexpensive furniture that I can put together by myself in 18 minutes or less… Odd!!?

    Marti wrote on March 15th, 2014
    • LMBO

      Karen wrote on March 15th, 2014
    • To say nothing about wandering about through a maze of colorful and interesting items to find that all that is at the end is where they demand you pay before leaving, oh wait, is that frozen yogurt? Maybe that would be better than that chunk of cheese we were expecting…..

      2Rae wrote on March 15th, 2014
    • So true. I think I’ll go buy a Glorkenfliegel and assemble it now!

      J.P. wrote on March 15th, 2014
  4. I wonder how they would taste using coconut oil for the frying instead of butter.

    Peter Whiting wrote on March 15th, 2014
  5. defrosting lamb shanks now! gonna grind them ups and make some balls!!!

    PaleoDentist wrote on March 15th, 2014
  6. Great job Mark! As Swedish as can be.

    But you should add some mashed lingonberries when serving it. Cranberries works as well as they are very simaliar to lingonberries in taste. colour and carb content. And some pickled, salted cucumber should be there as well. Traditionally it’s served with boiled potatoes but it you want to lower carb content you can serve it with boiled or mashed swedes [in Brittish English, Rutabagga in American English but even rutabagga stems from a Swedish word - "rotabagge"]. Bon apetite from Sweden!

    Per Wikholm wrote on March 15th, 2014
  7. Funny that the recipe starts with UNsalted butter… If only we could find that here in Sweden ;)

    It does look delicious though, and will probably taste just as good with salted real Swedish butter.

    Justine wrote on March 15th, 2014
    • You can get unsalted butter. (ARLA), but not the ecological, that has a bit of salt.

      R wrote on March 16th, 2014
    • I have no problem finding unsalted butter in Sweden, I always use it to my bulletproof coffee. I also make my own meatballs using grass-fed ground beef, they are delicious.
      /Morgan

      MorganJ wrote on March 16th, 2014
      • Wow that is sounds really good! Where do you get your grass-fed meat? I have not been able to find it yet around here :)

        Justine wrote on March 18th, 2014
        • I live in Västerås, Sweden 100 km West of Stockholm. I buy all my meat from a cooperation of several farms called “Gröna hagars kött”
          /Morgan

          MorganJ wrote on March 18th, 2014
  8. Sounds like a good recipe. I wish I had a meat grinder so I could make these with liver. I think I’ve already eaten my share for at least the next few days, and my dad just got back with like 4 pounds of it for me… I’m the only one here who eats it and only for the nutrition, not because I enjoy it (though sometimes I do, probably as a result of alcohol consumption that makes me feel more carnivorous). Looks like I’ll be using lots of spices and hot sauce etc. and overdosing on retinol.

    Animanarchy wrote on March 15th, 2014
    • I think it’s also a bit better cooked in bacon grease and eaten with the bacon, and once lately I had it in a bowl with olives and their juice along with primal enough flavourings, especially hot sauces, and it was decent.
      I talk to myself past 2am in the morning on the internet because I only hang out with cool people.

      Animanarchy wrote on March 15th, 2014
      • And that’s why we like reading your posts! Well, after we all wake up of course.

        2Rae wrote on March 18th, 2014
        • Because I share all the clever things I come up with, like my idea for a primal Catholic pizza place (with discounts during mass)?
          It would be called… Cheese is Crust.

          Animanarchy wrote on March 18th, 2014
  9. It’s funny, here in Sweden we just call them “meatballs”. :)

    They are a staple in the Swedish kitchen, kids love them and pour ketchup over them. Usually you buy them in the store, but it is nice to make them at home with bits of bacon and onion inside. That is typical grandma cooking.

    Erik W wrote on March 16th, 2014
  10. Typical grandma cooking is a great phrase! One of my grandmas cooked almost not at all and the other lived on a farm in Oklahoma. Lots of bacon to be sure, but inevitably along with homemade biscuits and cream gravy (awesome but more flour). Oh, and lemon meringue pie and endless Folger’s coffee cans full of chocolate chip cookies. None of this bothered me as a kid but I feel much better now even with my inconsistent and half hearted primal efforts.

    El Gordito wrote on March 16th, 2014
    • “…endless Folger’s coffee cans full of chocolate chip cookies.”

      Yes! My grandma used to put her homemade chocolate chip cookies in a Folger’s coffee can too! I loved them because they had a little hint of coffee flavor to them. Just had to comment… so randomly coincidental!

      KariVery wrote on March 17th, 2014
  11. Great recipe but where is the Worcestershire sauce. It does add a nice flavor enhancement.

    Ken Tyler wrote on March 16th, 2014
  12. I fully endorse this recipe.

    Lars wrote on March 16th, 2014
  13. I made these this evening. Sub’d chia seeds for the egg, coconut oil for the butter and coconut oil for the cream. They came out great! A hit with the family… Thanks!

    Ralph wrote on March 16th, 2014
    • I made them for lunch… sub’d DIY egg replacer for the egg. Delish!

      framistat wrote on July 5th, 2014
  14. OK, make that coconut *milk* for the cream.

    Ralph wrote on March 16th, 2014
  15. “Garnish with dill.”….say what?
    If you wanna garnish it with anything it is usually parsley that’s being used.

    Who would wanna put dill on any type of beef anyway :-) Just weird…

    Johan wrote on March 18th, 2014
  16. These are brilliant! Made with beef/pork combo and served with mashed potato, steamed kale, cranberries and pickled cucumber. The sauce was a little tasteless until the meatballs went back in (plus a dollop of sour cream) for a few minutes, then it all came together beautifully.

    Thanks for including metric measurements too!

    Lee wrote on March 20th, 2014
  17. These were delicious! My beautiful young bride made these for us. We used bison meat and served with a salad. Fantastic! I added a little habanero salsa for extra seasoning.

    Kai Ponte wrote on March 21st, 2014
  18. SNARKY is not Paleo…..plaaaaaaay…..use the butter on your wife

    dotsyjmaher wrote on March 22nd, 2014
  19. Just made these and they’re wonderful – I’ve had to hide them from myself if there are going to be any left for dinner!

    Grokesque wrote on March 25th, 2014
  20. I made these tonight. My picky 6 & 4 year olds went back for seconds! I added a little nutmeg, salt and pepper to sauce since a previous post said there wasn’t much flavor. Hubby thinks meat needed a little more flavor so next time I’ll adjust :)

    stef wrote on March 29th, 2014
  21. Used coconut milk instead of cream. The sauce broke the first time because I took too long to try and thicken. The second time I made it, I added a 1/2 T of tapioca starch to the coconut milk before adding it to the pan. Thickened perfectly on a simmer. Delicious!

    BrianB wrote on June 19th, 2014
  22. OMG these meatballs were so good! Will definitely keep them on the menu.

    Stephanie wrote on August 9th, 2014

Leave a Reply

If you'd like to add an avatar to all of your comments click here!

© 2014 Mark's Daily Apple