Norwegian Meatballs

In Scandilicious, her new cookbook, London-based Signe Johansen shares her unusual cocoa-sauced meatball recipe.


Slideshow: More Meatball Recipes


  • Total Time:
  • Servings: 8

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  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1 tablespoon whole-milk plain yogurt
  • 3 slices of white sourdough bread, crusts removed
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon ground allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 pound ground lamb
  • 1 pound ground veal
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 quart beef stock
  • 1/3 cup brandy
  • 1 1/2 cups crème fraîche (12 ounces)
  • 3 ounces gjetost cheese, shredded (1 cup); see Note
  • 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
  • Mashed potatoes and rutabagas, for serving

How to make this recipe

  1. Prepare the meatballs In a medium bowl, mix the milk and yogurt. Add the bread and press to submerge. Let stand until saturated, about 10 minutes.

  2. Meanwhile, in a medium skillet, heat the oil. Add the onion and cook over moderate heat until softened, 8 minutes. Add the allspice, ginger and nutmeg and cook for 1 minute.

  3. In a large bowl, combine the ground lamb and veal with the bread mixture, onion and egg yolk. Sprinkle with the salt and pepper and blend thoroughly. Form into 80 rounded-teaspoon-size meatballs.

  4. Preheat a grill pan. Oil the pan and grill the meatballs in batches over moderate heat, turning, until lightly charred, about 5 minutes per batch.

  5. Make the gravy

    In a large, deep skillet, boil the stock over high heat until reduced to 2 cups, 10 minutes. Add the brandy and boil for 2 minutes. Whisk in the crème fraîche, gjetost cheese and cocoa powder and bring to a simmer.

  6. Make the gravy

    Add the grilled meatballs and simmer over low heat, stirring occasionally, until the meatballs are cooked through and the gravy is slightly thickened, about 10 minutes. Serve with mashed potatoes and rutabagas.


Gjetost,a sweet, semifirm Scandinavian cheese, is available at cheese shops and online at

Suggested Pairing

Spicy, berried Rhône red.

Photo © Raymond Hom Published December 2011

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