I’ve never eaten Swedish meatballs in the IKEA café, but I have bought bags of frozen köttbullar from their food hall once or twice. They were nice enough, but these homemade Swedish meatballs are in a different league – crispy on the outside, soft and juicy within, and coated in a velvety cream sauce.
Having frozen Swedish meatballs on hand is convenient. I’ll often make a double batch and freeze half for another meal. I do buy the lingonberry jam to serve with them from IKEA, when we have a need for some more “semi-disposable Swedish furniture” (to quote Douglas Coupland).
For the meatballs:
- 1/2 a small onion, minced
- 1 medium potato, boiled, cooled and mashed (or a cup of leftover mash)
- 250g minced beef
- 250g minced pork
- 1 egg
- 125 ml milk or cream
- 1/4 cup dry breadcrumbs
- 1/2 tsp ground allspice
- a pinch of nutmeg
- salt and pepper
- 3 Tb butter
- 2 Tb vegetable oil
For the cream sauce:
- 125ml cream
- 250ml beef stock
- 1 Tb soy sauce
- 1 Tb flour
- salt and pepper
- Heat a large frying pan over low heat. Add a tablespoon of butter, and fry the onion until soft and golden. Remove from the heat and allow to cool.
- In a mixing bowl, add the onion, mashed potato, beef, pork, egg, milk, breadcrumbs, allspice and nutmeg. Season generously with salt and pepper, and mix well to combine.
- Form the mixture into walnut-sized balls, place them on a baking tray lined with clingfilm, and chill for at least thirty minutes.
- Reheat the frying pan over low heat. Melt the remaining two tablespoons of butter with the vegetable oil, and slowly fry the meatballs for 15-20 minutes, or until cooked through, turning occasionally.
- When the meatballs are done, transfer them to a plate and cover loosely with foil.
- Add the cream, beef stock and soy sauce to the frying pan. Increase the heat and bring to a rapid simmer.
- Add the flour, whisking to prevent lumps. Cook for a few minutes until the sauce is thickened, then return the meatballs to the pan. Stir gently to coat and cook for a few minutes to ensure the meatballs are heated through.
- Serve with boiled potatoes. Lingonberry jam is the traditional accompaniment, but red currant jelly or cranberry sauce work nicely too.