Swedish Meatballs to Warm the Soul

They’re delicious as a buffet item or the star of your holiday meal


Making the perfect holiday meal can be a lot like finding the perfect gift: virtually impossible. That’s why offering one standout dish surrounded by a beautiful spread of appetizers is a great option. Taking a cue from my Swedish relatives, who know how to celebrate the holidays in the most beautiful way, I often make a julbord, or holiday buffet. The star of the show is traditional Swedish meatballs, using my family’s recipe. I surround the main act with simple side dishes that I can make or buy, such as local pickles, crackers and cheeses, berry jam, hard salami and mustard and, of course, glögg or a fine red wine to wash it all down. Perfect.

 RECIPE: Swedish Meatballs

1 tbsp butter
4 tbsp chopped onions
1/3 cup (approximately) bread crumbs
1/2 cup (approximately) water
1 pound ground beef, or beef and pork
1 egg
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp each allspice and nutmeg
2 tbsp heavy cream
Garlic (optional)

Sauté onions in butter until soft. Meanwhile, put bread crumbs and water into a mixing bowl and let sit 1 minute. Add in onions
and remaining ingredients and mix vigorously by hand or with a fork until meatballs are well mixed and light. Form small, 1-inch balls and cook in buttered skillet until browned and cooked through.

Gravy (optional)
Pan drippings from cooking meatballs
3 tbsp all-purpose flour, or as needed
2 cups beef broth, or as needed
4 oz sour cream

Pour pan drippings into a saucepan over medium heat. Whisk the flour into the pan drippings until smooth, and gradually whisk in enough beef broth to total about 2 1/2 cups of liquid. Bring the gravy to a simmer, whisking constantly until thick, about 5 minutes. Just before serving, whisk in the sour cream. Season to taste with salt and black pepper. Serve the gravy with the meatballs.

Find more Dining In recipes and Cassidy’s blog, Local Flavor, at madisonmagazine.com.



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