Thursday, January 24, 2013

Balls in My Mouth (Swedish Meatballs) ball and nut jokes ever get old?

Don't answer that. It's likely. But I still giggle every time. 

Something else that makes me giggle? Actually putting meatballs in my mouth. Not because it's hilarious but because it makes my little mouth do back flips.

I love me a good meatball.

If they're on the menu, you can sure as heck bet your right arm I'm going to order them. Unfortunately, restauranteurs often fuck it up. They lack that lovin' feeling and extra touch that makes a truly great meatball. It isn't just about balls of meat. It's a science, nay an art, you know.

There are various secrets to creating a great fucking meatball. One, it's all about the meat. Obviously. Grass fed beef. Very important. Also, don't be afraid to mix genres. My meatballs almost always contain a mixture of beef, veal (still beef, but baby beef - make sure to ask your butcher how the calves were treated - they need to roam free), and pork. That way you make sure you get a good level of fat, of sweetness and of course, beefiness. 

Also, the breadcrumbs. You can get white, multi-grain, whole wheat, fine, coarse, panko, seasoned, herbed, store bought, home-made and even rainbow with bits of unicorn thrown in...Okay, that last one might not be true. Choose something light and fluffy - I often go for panko. They're airy and sop up a lot of moisture. 

Flavor Profiles and Herbs. In the breadcrumbs or aside. Herb that shit up. Parsley is nice. Thyme. Rosemary. Roast some garlic in the oven with olive oil and chopped thyme and then toss that into the mix. Finely dice half an onion and even caramelize it if you feel so inclined. Blue cheese isn't a bad idea either. Maybe a bit of chopped apple? Worcestershire sauce is a MUST. And of course, lemon zest is never a bad thing.

Use a good quality egg(s) to bind everything together. I insist upon pastured eggs. Their whites (the binding agent) are far superior in quality and content and work much better than crappy store bought ones. The same goes for the yolks - good yolk = good flavor and richness.

And of course, last but certainly not least - season the shit out of that mixture. Salt and pepper are our friends, my friends. 

Side note: I usually roll my balls in flour before frying in a pan to brown. It helps hold them together and creates a fabulous outer texture for the finished product.

...And that's just off the top of my head.

Point is: Show your meatballs some love. They'll thank you for it. Or at least your guests will. 

Side note: Don't be put off by the ingredient list - it seems long but comes together very quickly.

Swedish Meatballs
(printable recipe) - serves 4.

Ingredients for Balls:

3/4 Lb. Pastured Pork.
3/4 Lb. Pastured Beef.
2 Medium Sized Pastured eggs.
1 Small Onion, peeled & finely diced.
2 Cloves of Garlic, peeled & minced.
Dash of All Spice.
Dash of Ground Nutmeg.
1 Tbsp Chopped Fresh Italian Flat-Leaf Parsley.
2 Tsp Worcestershire Sauce.
1/2 C Panko Crumbs.
Coarse Sea Salt & Fresh Cracked Black Pepper.

2 C Flour.
2 Tbsp Butter, unsalted.
Extra Chopped Parsley to Garnish.

Ingredients for Sauce:

2 C Beef of Chicken Stock.
1/2 C Sour Cream.
3/4 C Heavy Cream.
2 Tbsp of Flour.
2 Tbsp Butter, unsalted.
Coarse Sea Salt & Fresh Cracked Black Pepper.

What to Do:

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, a large plate or baking dish with some paper towel and fill a shallow bowl with the flour. Set aside.

In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients for the balls save for the flour, butter and garnish parsley. You may need to add more panko if your meat has a lot of moisture. Once it is all worked in, firm yet still moist, roll into 1-2" balls and set prepared baking sheet.

Gently roll each ball in the bowl of flour, shake off excess, and return to prepared baking sheet.

Place a large frying pan over medium heat. Add 1 Tbsp of butter and melt until sizzling. Gently drop some of the balls into the frying pan and shake well until the flour coating the balls is moist. Don't over-crowd the pan or you'll end up with steamed balls rather than browned balls. Allow the balls to cook through and get a nice dark color on the outside - approximately 7 minutes in the pan. Once cooked, remove from the pan and place on paper lined dish. Repeat until all the balls have cooked through.

Set aside. 

Now make your sauce. In that same pan, Toss in the last 2 Tbsp of butter and allow to sizzle. Stir in 2 Tbsp of flour and heat until fragrant and it starts to change colour. Remove from the heat and gently pour in stock. Return to heat, making sure to get all the brown bits off the bottom of the pan and stir constantly until thickened. Add the cream and sour cream and season well to taste. Gently spoon the balls back into the pan, heat through and serve with a generous helping of the garnish parsley on top.


What are your secret ingredients?



  1. I'm a fan of balls too! Veggie ones in fact! :) I'll be trying a veggie version of this soon. Yum! :)

    1. oooh Court! Let me know how that works out! What will you use??