HOW TO MAKE HOMEMADE SWEDISH MEATBALLS
Traditional Swedish meatballs are a beloved comfort food which can be served as an appetizer or main course. The dish typically begins with meatballs made from a beef and ground pork mixture, prepared with a few warm spices, a little onion and smothered in a cream-based gravy. You’ll find though that many Makers like to bring their own interpretation to this dish.
See how easy it is to create Swedish meatballs using the KitchenAid® Metal Food Grinder Attachment for your KitchenAid® stand mixer, which comes with five tools to make a variety of ground foods.
HOMEMADE SWEDISH MEATBALL RECIPE
The most delectable Swedish meatballs begin with freshly ground meats. When you grind the mixture for meatballs yourself, you have complete control over the type, quality and amount of ingredients that go into them. If you like a little more richness, increase the pork in your Swedish meatballs. Experiment with the seasonings you add to help create your unique take on this classic recipe.
The exact ingredients used will vary from kitchen to kitchen, but the KitchenAid® stand mixer and KitchenAid® Metal Food Grinder Attachment can help create expertly ground meat mixtures for super fresh, mouthwatering Swedish meatball recipes.
As a rule of thumb, approximately one pound of ground meat will produce about 30 one-inch meatballs. Plan on 5 or 6 meatballs per main course serving.
1. Exact yields will vary based on recipe
For the Meatballs:
50-50 ratio of ground beef and ground pork – or other proteins of your choice – venison, turkey, lamb, veal, chicken
Oil or butter for cooking
For the Sauce:
Stock or broth
2. Exact ingredients will vary based on recipe
Large skillet or saute pan
Large sheet pan
Not only are metal meat grinders durable and easy to clean, they’re often preferred for meat grinding because they’re easy to chill effectively and a cold temp is important when grinding meats. The metal food grinder can be pre-chilled in the refrigerator or freezer to maintain a cold grinding temperature, while giving you a clean grind when preparing meat.
You can prepare Swedish meatballs for cooking in under 30 minutes.
The meatballs and sauce will cook in 40 minutes; so the dish will take 1 hour and 10 minutes total.
STEP 1: GRIND MEAT
Attach the food grinder attachment fitted with the fine plate to any KitchenAid® stand mixer. With the mixer set on speed 4 place very cold meat(s) in the grinder attachment a piece at a time. Alternate meat with pieces of toasted bread, chopped onion, garlic and parsley.
STEP 2: PREPARE THE MEATBALLS
When the ingredients are ground, remove the food grinder attachment and replace with the flat beater attachment. Add milk, egg and any other seasonings to the ground meat mixture in the bowl of the stand mixer. Mix on low for 1-2 minutes until the ingredients are well combined. Scoop the meatballs onto a cookie sheet with a small ice cream scoop, or form balls with damp fingers (meatballs should be about the size of a golf ball).
STEP 3: COOK THE MEATBALLS
You can bake the meatballs in the oven at this point, but to get a nice brown sear, heat butter and oil in a saute pan and brown meatballs until cooked through and a crust forms (searing is also a great way to cook steaks on the stove). Make sure not to overcrowd the pan – cook in batches – so meatballs brown and don’t steam. Remove cooked meatballs from the pan and cover with foil while you prepare the sauce.
STEP 4: PREPARE THE SAUCE
Add flour and butter to the pan drippings and stir until brown. Add stock and cream to the butter and flour and whisk together. Finish with a little mustard and worcestershire sauce. Season with salt and pepper. Add the meatballs back to the sauce and warm for a minute or two. Serve with egg noodles, rice or side of your choice.
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KitchenAid brand offers a wide assortment of attachments and accessories to elevate all your dishes – including fresh and flavorful ground meats – for any homemade burger or meatball recipe.
WHAT IS THE TRADITIONAL SAUCE FOR SWEDISH MEATBALLS?
A traditional Swedish meatball “gravy” starts with the pan drippings which are thickened with flour, butter, stock and cream. The sauce is typically balanced with something sharp, like mustard or worcestershire sauce to cut through the richness.
It’s easy to take a classic Swedish meatball recipe and embellish it with twists that reflect your personal tastes. Instead of cream, creme fraiche or sour cream also work well. Try replacing the white bread with rye or pumpernickel. Play around with the “sharp” flavors; soy sauce can take the place of worcestershire sauce. Use a hot mustard to create a little heat. Or, consider adding a little lingonberry jam, or freshly grated orange zest to brighten up the sauce.
In addition to experimenting with different proteins, you can customize your meatball mixture by playing with different warm spices – cinnamon, cardamom and ginger pair well with the traditional nutmeg and allspice. Or, consider replacing the onion and garlic with shallots. Omit the parsley and add a little fresh rosemary, to bring a more intense, woodsy note to the dish.
WHAT ARE TRADITIONAL SIDES TO SERVE WITH SWEDISH MEATBALLS?
You often find Swedish meatballs served with a side of egg noodles or mashed potatoes, lingonberry jam and pressed cucumbers (pressgurka). This is another golden opportunity to “dress up” or just “mix up” your meatball dish.
The side dish possibilities are only limited by your imagination, try using the KitchenAid® Pasta Roller Attachment to make your own fresh, homemade egg noodles. The KitchenAid® Spiralizer Attachment can help create these delicious Spiralized Potato Pancakes with Spiced Applesauce. Or, for an autumnal accompaniment to your Swedish meatballs, this recipe for Homemade Pumpkin Puree will hit the perfect comforting note.
Be sure and add something fresh to help brighten up the meal. A crisp, green salad, steamed veggies or fresh cranberry chutney all make great additions to a Swedish meatball dish.
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN SWEDISH MEATBALLS AND OTHER MEATBALLS?
The beef and pork mixture, warm spices – nutmeg and allspice – and rich, brown gravy are the hallmarks of a traditional Swedish meatball recipe. Italian meatballs are typically flavored with parmesan, garlic and oregano and served in a tomato based sauce.
In addition to these popular meatball dishes, there are meatballs from all over the world with regional flavor profiles. For instance, Korean meatballs are sweet and spicy. Danish meatballs, Frikadeller, are typically made with ground pork shoulder and are sauced with a red wine gravy.
CAN YOU MAKE SWEDISH MEATBALLS USING DIFFERENT MEATS AND SAUCES?
The exact ingredients and ways to serve Swedish meatballs can be interpreted a number of ways, making this dish ideal for creative exploration. If you don’t love pork, skip it and increase the beef, or try adding another ground protein altogether. Some people prefer their meatballs without any sauce or a different type of sauce. That's entirely up to you.
It’s also simple to adjust the ingredients in this dish to accommodate different dietary restrictions or preferences. Make the meatballs gluten free and leaner by replacing the ground beef/pork with ground turkey or chicken. Use rice, or gluten-free breadcrumbs instead of regular breadcrumbs. Replace the cream with milk or yogurt.
CAN YOU MAKE MEATLESS SWEDISH MEATBALLS?
You can also achieve these same warm, comforting flavors for a vegetarian or vegan dish with “meatballs” using ingredients like oats, mushrooms, chickpeas, rice or tofu to mimic the texture of meat. To make a vegan sauce, replace beef with vegetable broth, worcestershire sauce with tamari and cream with coconut milk, or your preferred milk alternative.
Along with mushrooms and a legume, vegetarian meatballs can include egg and breadcrumbs to hold the “meatballs” together. With the exception of beef broth, which can be replaced with mushroom or vegetable broth, all other ingredients in a traditional brown sauce will work seamlessly for a vegetarian Swedish meatball dish.
CAN SWEDISH MEATBALLS BE FROZEN?
Swedish meatballs can be frozen for up to 3 months if you make too many or want to double the recipe. Simply divide meatballs and sauce and store in separate freezer safe containers. Thaw in the fridge overnight before reheating meatballs in the sauce. You may need to add a little water to thin the sauce.
To prevent meatballs from clumping together in the freezer and to make it easier to use just what you need, place the cooled (or uncooked) meatballs on a parchment lined tray in the freezer. When the meatballs are frozen, layer between sheets of parchment in an airtight container and freeze until ready to use.
SHOP FOR KITCHENAID® STAND MIXERS AND ATTACHMENTS
Truly craveworthy meatballs – and endless other great dishes – all start with the iconic KitchenAid® stand mixer and some versatile KitchenAid® attachments and accessories. See where the possibilities take you.
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