Swedish Meatballs {With Celeriac Purée & Quick Pickle Cucumbers}

Swedish Meatballs with Celeriac Puree & Quick Pickle Cucumbers

This freezing cold January weather makes me crave warm, cozy, comforting food. Swedes practically wrote the book on winter comfort foods- to which this recipe can attest. If its going to be pitch black and zero degrees by dinner time (standard January in Stockholm), you’d better have something good to eat! These Swedish meatballs fit the bill. They’re warming and savory, and fill your kitchen with the most delicious smells. I ate my fair share of Swedish meatballs while living in Stockholm (and at the local U.S. Ikea) and I think this recipe lightens up the dish a little bit, while still capturing the highlights of the original. Traditionally served with mashed or boiled potatoes, I serve my meatballs with a healthier celeriac purée. Trust me, you won’t even miss the potatoes when you taste this silky smooth, flavorful side. This recipe makes a lot of meatballs, but you’ll be thankful for leftovers once you try them.

Swedish Meatballs 

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. ground lean beef
  • 1 lb. ground lean lamb
  • 1 cup whole wheat panko breadcrumbs
  • 1 1/2 cups skim milk (sub. almond milk if you’re dairy sensitive)
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 medium yellow onion, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 1/2 cups beef stock
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • Splash of brandy (optional)

Directions:

  • In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the panko and the milk and allow to soak for 10 minutes.
  • To the bowl, add the ground beef and lamb, the egg, parsley, garlic cloves, allspice, ginger, and the salt and pepper.
  • In a large pan, melt 1 tbsp. butter, and add the minced onion. Saute until tender and starting to turn golden, about 8 minutes. Remove the onions and add them to the mixer. Whip the meatball mixture for five minutes on medium speed.
  • In the same pan from the onions, heat 1 tsp. butter over medium. Working in batches, form the meatballs with your hands. I like mine smaller, just slightly bigger than a quarter. Add them to the pan to brown in the butter on all sides. To encourage their round shape, I forcefully shake them around in the pan so they roll around and brown evenly, but do what you like. Remove to a plate, and continue browning the meatballs in batches until you’re through, adding more butter to the pan as needed.
  • In the same pan you used for the meatballs, add the beef stock and bring up to a simmer, scraping up all the browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Slowly sift over the flour, whisking constantly to ward off lumps. Bring it up to a boil, then lower the heat and allow to thicken. Season with salt and pepper to taste. If using the brandy, add a splash now and let the heat cook off the alcohol a bit.
  • Add the meatballs to the gravy and toss them to coat. Allow them to heat up in the gravy, and check to see they’re cooked all the way through. Serve alongside the celeriac purée and quick pickle cucumbers (recipes below) with some lingonberry jam.

Celeriac Puree

Ingredients:

  • 3 large celeriac roots (should yield about 4 cups once diced)
  • 1 cup skim milk (may need a little more or a little less)
  • 1 cup low-fat sour cream
  • 5 garlic cloves
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  • Dice the celeriac and put it in a large pot with the garlic cloves. Cover with water (add a pinch of salt) and bring up to a boil, cooking until tender. Drain the celeriac and add to a blender in batches, adding just enough milk to allow it to purée.
  • Once you’ve blended all the celeriac, add everything to a large pot over low heat. Add the sour cream and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Quick Pickle Cucumbers

  • Six Kirby cucumbers, or two English cucumbers
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar

Directions

  • Slice the cucumbers thinly into disks, and add them to a bowl with the salt, sugar, pepper, and vinegar.
  • Mix everything to combine, and allow to marinade for as long as possible (even overnight if you can).
Gamla Stan, StockholmStockholm, Sweden

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