A savory but sweet aroma filled my grandparent's house. The cozy kitchen packed with family. My grandpa cranked the window to let out the heat from the overworked oven; my grandma fanned herself with an oven mitt. I’d watch the bustle about as food shuttled into the dining room.
But what everyone wanted was the Swedish meatballs.
Growing up, I loved watching my grandparent’s cook and bake. Even a simple grilled cheese was special to me.
It was made with love.
My Swedish meatball recipe differs from the one I grew up eating, but it’s still made with love. It is soy allergy friendly, but that doesn’t mean it lacks taste. It is also lactose-free. With all my recipes, I urge people to use them as a foundation but make them their own. Adjust ingredients. I want to give you that bridge and show you great food can be created with alternatives.
Many memories have been made in the kitchen while cooking. Stories shared. Laughter. That is what makes food great.
Over the years, I've been asked by many for this recipe.
Here it is.
For the most part measured out. I'm a trial and error cook. I taste everything.
Gather your breadcrumb goodness.
Panera's Country Loaf is soy free but if that isn't an issue for you, please use whatever bread you like. Rosemary, Thyme, and garlic are also on the list.
Many people know I'm a huge fan of CampMix and use it often in my recipes. Black Truffle Sea Salt is optional, but I add it for a little extra flavor.
Cube your bread. I do the entire loaf because leftovers make excellent salad croutons.
Combine the seasonings, herbs, and garlic into the chopper.
Pour olive oil over the bread until every piece is coated. Combine the mixture and bread crumbs. Preheat oven to 390. Spread them out on a cooking sheet. Bake until golden brown. Leave your oven on 390 for the meatballs.
Allow those to cool.
Depending on how much you want in the meatball mixture, I pour all of my bread into a food processor. It will grind up in different sizes, which I like.
Put the breadcrumbs aside.
Time for the meatballs.
I know many meatball recipes use beef and pork, I do not. When available I use bison, but typically I use ground sirloin. The reason I go this route? The meat soaks up all the gravy awesomeness while in the crockpot. There's nothing heavy about the meatballs.
Typically, I use 2lbs of beef. When cooking for just my family, I use a little over a 1lb.
In a bowl, combine beef, egg, breadcrumbs (go light and add as you go) a splash of water, and sprinkle on a bit more CampMix. When you make a meatball, make sure each one has some breadcrumbs. If they don't, add more to the mixture.
I do use non-stick foil but also dab on a bit of olive oil.
Cook until brown. Usually between 20-25 minutes. I always cut one in half to check the middle. If it's a bit pink, that's okay because the meatballs will be cooking in the crockpot for a couple of hours.
As the meatballs do their thing in the oven, it's time to work on the gravy.
In a pan, on medium heat, melt the butter. Add flour. Whisk. Add beef broth. Bring to a simmer. Add in the white part (at the top) into the gravy. This works as an excellent dairy substitute. Most Swedish meatball recipes use heavy cream or sour cream. It adds a bit of sweetness to the gravy. The gravy will thicken more in the crockpot. I sprinkle in a small amount of Black Truffle Sea Salt. Whisk and carefully pour into the crockpot.
The crockpot should be on a low setting. About an hour in, I'll bump up the heat.
Add the meatballs. Slowly. Even all the goodness on the foil. Stir in and add more meatballs. Depending on the number of batches. It's 1lb per cooking sheet.
The house will smell delicious.
2 - 3 hours later...
During holidays I will add lingonberry jam to the dish. The taste is similar to a cranberry sauce. The combination of lingonberry, mashed potatoes, and meatballs is a trifecta of euphoric bliss. Food coma will happen.
After you dish out some meatballs, turn the crockpot to keep warm. They are even better 3 hours later when the post-dessert grazing starts.
For the breadcrumbs:
1 loaf of bread
A few sprigs of rosemary and thyme
2 cloves of garlic
Black Truffle Sea Salt
For the meatballs:
1 cup(ish) of breadcrumbs
1lb of ground sirloin
1/2lb of bison (if available)
1 large egg - free range
A splash of water
For the gravy:
4 tablespoons of butter
4 tablespoons of all-purpose flour
2 cups of beef broth
3 tablespoons of coconut milk (white at the top)
CampMix purchased here.
San Francisco Black Truffle Sea Salt purchased here