I’ve never actually made or eaten Swedish Meatballs before so I can’t say one way or the other if these are authentic, but I did compare the sauce recipe to those I found from Swedish websites and the main difference is the addition of sugar in the Cook’s Illustrated version. I used only 2 tsp in the sauce and it was still sweet. It’s yummy but it’s probably not very traditional. I also cheated and used premade meatballs from Target. They had a kind of spongey texture but the tasted good and was complimented well by the sweet gravy. I’ll make some from scratch sometime this winter when I have more time on my hands. If you’re partial to savoury/sweet combos, give the sauce recipe a try.
For the Meatballs
1 large egg
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 slice white bread, crusts removed and bread torn into 1-inch pieces
8 ounces ground pork
1 small onion, grated on large holes of box grater (about 1/4 cup)
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg, freshly grated
1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon brown sugar, packed (see note)
1 1/2 teaspoons table salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
8 ounces 85% lean ground beef
1 1/4 cups vegetable oil
For the Sauce
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups low sodium chicken broth
1 tablespoon brown sugar, packed (see note)
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 teaspoons lemon juice, freshly squeezed from 1 lemon
salt & fresh ground pepper
1 For the Meatballs: Whisk egg and cream together in medium bowl. Stir in bread and set aside. Meanwhile, in stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, beat pork, onion, nutmeg, allspice, pepper, brown sugar, salt, and baking powder on high speed until smooth and pale, about 2 minutes, scraping bowl as necessary. Using fork, mash bread mixture until no large dry bread chunks remain; add mixture to mixer bowl and beat on high speed until smooth and homogeneous, about 1 minute, scraping bowl as necessary. Add beef and mix on medium-low speed until just incorporated, about 30 seconds, scraping bowl as necessary. Using moistened hands, form generous tablespoon of meat mixture into 1-inch round meatball; repeat with remaining mixture to form 25 to 30 meatballs.
2 Heat oil in 10-inch straight-sided sauté pan over medium-high heat until edge of meatball dipped in oil sizzles (oil should register 350 degrees on instant-read thermometer), 3 to 5 minutes. Add meatballs in single layer and fry, flipping once halfway through cooking, until lightly browned all over and cooked through, 7 to 10 minutes. (Adjust heat as needed to keep oil sizzling but not smoking.) Using slotted spoon, transfer browned meatballs to paper towel-lined plate.
3 For the Sauce: Pour off and discard oil in pan, leaving any fond (browned bits) behind. Return pan to medium-high heat and add butter. When foaming subsides, add flour and cook, whisking constantly, until flour is light brown, about 30 seconds. Slowly whisk in broth, scraping pan bottom to loosen browned bits. Add brown sugar and bring to simmer. Reduce heat to medium and cook until sauce is reduced to about 1 cup, about 5 minutes. Stir in cream and return to simmer.
4 Add meatballs to sauce and simmer, turning occasionally, until heated through, about 5 minutes. Stir in lemon juice, season with salt and pepper, and serve.
Notes: The traditional accompaniments for Swedish meatballs are lingonberry preserves and Swedish Pickled Cucumbers. If you can’t find lingonberry preserves, cranberry preserves may be used. For a slightly less sweet dish, omit the brown sugar in the meatballs and reduce the brown sugar in the sauce to 2 teaspoons. A 12-inch slope-sided skillet can be used in place of the sauté pan—use 1 1/2 cups of oil to fry instead of 1 1/4 cups. The meatballs can be fried and then frozen for up to 2 weeks. To continue with the recipe, thaw the meatballs in the refrigerator overnight and proceed from step 3, using a clean pan. Serve the meatballs with mashed potatoes, boiled red potatoes, or egg noodles.