Sweden, who would believe this? Sweden!

In my culinary school, we had an impressive educational block — a couple of weeks to learn some signature recipes from international cuisines. All recipes were grouped by relatively large regions of the world. Among my classmates were a few natives from Europe and Latin America, but most of our expectations for less-known cuisines were stereotyped. For those thinking Nordic food seemed bland, Scandinavian in general and Swedish in particular cuisine was the most surprising.

Meatballs of the World

Yes, they exist in all cuisines of the world, in some of them — forever. Different names, different kinds of meat, different sauces, and seasonings depending on what is available in the region. There is so much to choose from! Last night, during the class we made classic Italian meatballs with tomato sauce to serve them with fresh pasta, and I remembered how much more I liked Swedish meatballs. It’s time to add them to my collection here.

Swedish Meatballs
Swedish Meatballs

Brown Stock

This recipe is a good example of how to use brown stock to make a sauce. If you don’t make your own, you can buy commercial demi-glace and dilute it with water or beef broth/stock. Do not substitute real homemade brown stock with commercial stocks; they won’t give you the same viscosity. In other words, your brown stock should gelatinize when refrigerated.

Swedish Meatballs: Köttbullar

Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Total Time35 mins
Course: Main Dish
Cuisine: Swedish
Keyword: beef, meatballs
Servings: 4 portions


for meatballs

  • 12 oz angus beef ground, 80/20
  • 12 oz pork ground, 80/20
  • 1 cup white bread crumbs, no crust
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 2 each egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup onion finely diced
  • 3 tbsp clarified butter
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper freshly ground
  • 1/4 tsp allspice freshly ground
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg freshly grated
  • 2 tsp kosher salt adjust to taste

for sauce

  • 3 cups brown stock
  • 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1.5 oz wheat flour all-purpose
  • 3 tbsp lingonberry presserves smooth puree
  • 2 tsp kosher salt adjust to taste
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper freshly ground, adjust to taste


  • Preheat oven 350F.
  • Combine bread crumbs and milk and let them soak at room temperature for 15-20 minutes.
  • Heat 1 tbsp of clarified butter in a skillet over medium heat. Season and saute onions until sweet and translucent. Do not caramelize them. Reserve 2 tbsp of clarified butter for frying meatballs.
  • Combine all meatballs ingredients in a bowl of a stand mixer. Using the paddle attachment, process the mixture at medium speed for 1-2 minutes. Use a 1-ounce measuring scoop to form meatballs.
  • Heat reserved 2 tbsp clarified butter in a nonstick saute pan over medium-high heat. Quickly brown meatballs batch by batch, making sure it is always one layer of them on the bottom of the pan. Meatballs should be browned, but not cooked when you transfer them into a deep baking dish.
  • After frying meatballs, there will be a lot of goodness — meat juices and a combination of three fats — on the bottom of the pan. Place the pan over medium heat, add flour and cook it, constantly stirring for 1-2 minutes. Slowly add brown stock and heavy whipping cream and cook a thick sauce, constantly stirring with a whisk. Season to taste. Add lingonberry preserves puree at the end and adjust the taste again.
  • Pour hot sauce over meatballs to cover 3/4 of them and place baking dishes with them into the hot oven for 10-15 minutes. My favorite way to serve these meatballs is with Jensen's Frestelse.


Köttbullar, шведские мясные шарики
Jensen's Frestelse
Jensen's Frestelse

Jensen's Frestelse — ещё одно чудо скандинавской кухни. Это картофельная запеканка, которая отличается от французкой тем, что начинается с сырой картошки и она с луком и анчоусами.
6 картофелин Рассет
2 крупных луковицы
20 филе анчоусов
2 ст.л. сливочного масла
1 1/4 чашки (320мл) сливок 30-36%
В половине масла припустить лук. Смазать остальным маслом форму. Уложить треть ломтиков картошки, половину лука, половину анчоусов, треть картошки, вторую половину лука и вторую половину анчоусов, последнюю треть картошки, залить 2/3 сливок, закрыть фольгой и выпекать 20-30 минут 400Ф. Снять фольгу, залить оставшимися сливками и выпекать открытой ещё 20 минут до зарумянивания верхнего слоя картошки.