My mother’s side of the family is Swedish, so dishes like Köttbullar -- or Swedish meatballs -- are much-loved husmanskost ("traditional fare") that we typically make during the holiday season, but which are by no means relegated to Christmastime meals and can be thoroughly enjoyed year round! These meatballs are easy to mix up (but become a labor of love when preparing over 100 of them for a large gathering). Gently fried to a golden brown, the end result is always so delicious and they rewarm nicely as leftovers. Our go-to recipe is from Carl Jan Granqvist and Lena Katarina Swanberg’s “Swedish Culinary Classics” cookbook, which I have transcribed below. I equally love both the traditional plating with mashed potatoes as well as a Swedish-style open-faced sandwich with beet salad!
18 oz. ground beef/pork mixture
1 ¼ cup whole milk
3 oz. fresh white breadcrumbs
salt, white pepper
Finely dice the onion and sauté gently in a little butter without browning. Soak the breadcrumbs in milk. Gently incorporate all ingredients in a mixing bowl using a large serving-style fork to blend well, or a large wooden spoon. Add a little water if the mixture feels too firm. Check the taste by test-frying one meatball. Form meatballs about the size of whole walnuts and put them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Brown a generous spoonful of clarified butter in a frying pan, and when it “goes quiet” place the meatballs in the pan and let them brown on all sides. Shake the frying pan often.* Serve with potato puree or boiled potatoes and lingonberries.
*A gravy can be made from the remaining skillet fond in which a second minced onion is sauteed. Add two tablespoons of flour and cook to form a roux; add 1-1/2 c. beef broth and cook until slightly thickened. Finish with heavy cream and salt and pepper to taste. Pour over meatballs, if desired, to serve.