Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Almost-famous Swedish Meatballs

I remember the first time I discovered a Top Secret Recipe cookbook and found the recipe for Twinkies in it.Fast forward at least 20 yearswhen I rediscovered that same euphoria with Food Network Magazine's monthly "Copy That!" column. I haven't gotten around to making Macaroni Grill's rosemary focaccia yet, but the minute I saw the recipe for Ikea's Swedish meatballs, that iconic appetizer of the 50's and 60's, I knew I had to make them. While there's a recipe for meatballs in Ikea's Real Swedish Food Book, the article notes that reps confirmed that it is not the recipe for the meatballs served at their restaurants. I've only been to Ikea once and I did not eat there, but after making this recipe you can be sure I will try the meatballs next time for comparison purposes.

Servings:  45 meatballs
For the meatballs:
1 cup breadcrumbs (I used unseasoned panko)
2 tbs unsalted butter
1/3 cup minced white onion
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 tsp ground allspice
Kosher salt and freshly ground white pepper
1/2 cup milk
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
3/4 lb lean ground beef
1/2 lb lean ground pork
1 large egg plus 1 egg white, beaten
vegetable oil for brushing

For the gravy:
2 tbs unsalted butter
2 tbs all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups low-sodium beef broth
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup heavy cream (I used light; it works great)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tbs chopped fresh parsley

Make the meatballs:  put the breadcrumbs in a large bowl. Heat the butter in a skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, allspice, 2 tsp salt, and 1/4 tsp white pepper and cook, stirring, until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the milk and Worcestershire sauce and bring to a simmer. Pour the milk mixture over the bread crumbs and stir to make a thick paste; let cool. Add the beef, pork, egg and egg white to the bowl and mix until combined.

Brush a baking sheet with vegetable oil. Roll the meat into 1-inch balls and arrange on the prepared sheet. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Bake the meatballs until cooked through, about 20 minutes.

Make the gravy:  melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the flour and cook, whisking, until smooth, about 2 minutes. Whisk in the beef broth and Worcestershire a little at a time and bring to a simmer. Add the cream and the meatballs. Cover and simmer about 10 minutes. Sprinkle with parsley.
I made these for dinner with egg noodles and roasted butternut squash. It was a party in my mouth! These are like no Swedish meatballs I've ever made or eaten. There was no sour cream and the meatballs were light as air. DSO practically swooned while he was eating them and happily carried some leftovers for lunch the next day. I can't say enough good things about the gravy. It was creamy, but not heavy; plentiful, but in just the right proportion to the amount of meat; and flavorful, but not so that it overpowered the delicate meatballs. Run, don't walk, to the store to buy the ingredients and whether you serve them with some lingonberry jam as an appetizer or with noodles for an entree, close the windows unless you want the neighbors to come knocking.


  1. The meatballs at IKEA are lovely! They serve them with jam which I find odd but is apparently traditional. Your version looks really, really good!

  2. I love your comment about closing the doors and windows unless you want the neighbors to come knocking. LOL! This recipe definitely caught my eye and had me wanting to try it. I have a soft spot for swedish meatballs. They're so satisfying and comforting, especially if the gravy is done right. These look superb. Will add to my to-do list!

  3. Ooh Ikea's swedish meatballs are great! Your meatballs do look amazing!

  4. My kids absolutely love meatballs and yet I rarely make them. These look fantastic!

  5. I see this on my table - during the long, cold, snowy winter that is predicted here. This will light everyone's eyes and appetites up!


Thank you for visiting The Food of Love. I know it takes time to make a comment, but please know that they are very much appreciated.