My mom made the best meatballs, and always served them with red sauce and pasta. However, these meatballs have a unique flavor–very un-Italian–and are cooked in an unusual way. This got me to thinking they just might have Scandinavian roots. Sure enough, the Swedish meatball recipes I found are made in a similar fashion and also include spices not normally associated with Italian meatballs. I wonder if she knew, or if this is a recipe from the Scandinavian side of the family and she never even thought about it. No matter, they are super tender and yummy!
Here’s what you’ll need to make meatballs just like Mom made ’em:
- 1 pound burger (Always hamburger while I was growing up.)
- 2 slices of bread, soaked in water, wrung out and shredded
- 1/4-1/2 cup finely chopped onion
- 1/2 tsp mace
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 egg
- flour to coat meatballs
- 2 bay leaves
Start by soaking the bread in water.
When the bread has soaked up all the water it can, wring it out, shred it and add it to a bowl with the burger, onion, mace, salt pepper and egg.
Using your hands, gently mix everything together just until combined. Over-working raw meat will make it tight and tough.
I use a cookie scoop to make uniform-sized balls, forming them a bit in my hands. Roll each one in flour.
Place meatballs in a large skillet with 1 TBSP butter and 1 TBSP oil.
Brown on all sides. This will cause a loss of roundness, exactly how they always look.
When meatballs are browned all over, cover them with water, add bay leaves, bring to a boil, and simmer for 20 minutes. The flour coating the meatballs will become a gravy coating!
Meanwhile, cook the pasta of your choice according to package directions. Gently mix pasta, sauce and meatballs.
Serve some up on a plate,
add some finely grated parmesan cheese,
and have a bite of that tender, yummy meatball.
After reading other Swedish meatball recipes, I want to experiment a bit with Mom’s original recipe and serve them more Swedish-style. The gravy of this recipe sounds the most enticing to me–it uses a bit of ligonberry preserves! I also liked the idea of cardamom in the meatballs. I don’t think Mom would mind a bit of tinkering for the sake of Scandinavian yumminess.