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Swedish Meatballs

In Sweden, making meatballs is a very social family affair. The more kids you can round up for the rolling the better, since a child's palm makes the perfect-size ball. When Fredrika Stjärne was young, she was a vegetarian and therefore a very unwilling participant! Now she has rejoined the world of carnivores and makes meatballs with her daughter and husband. She uses her father's recipe, with his secret ingredient (celery salt).

  • Servings: Makes about 5 dozen meatballs

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  • 2 slices white bread, crusts removed
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 medium onion, minced
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 pound ground pork
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 2 teaspoons celery salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • Freshly ground black pepper


  1. In a large bowl, soak the bread in the milk until very soft, 5 minutes. In a medium skillet, melt 1 tablespoon of the butter in 1 tablespoon of the oil until shimmering. Add the onion and cook over low heat, stirring, until softened, 5 minutes. Add the cumin and cayenne and cook until fragrant, 1 minute. Let cool.
  2. Add the ground pork and beef to the soaked bread. Gently mix in the cooked onion, celery salt, kosher salt and beaten egg until thoroughly combined. Refrigerate until firm, about 30 minutes.
  3. Shape the meat mixture into 1-inch meatballs. In a large skillet, melt the remaining tablespoon of butter in the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil. Add the meatballs and cook over moderately high heat, turning occasionally, until browned and cooked through, about 8 minutes; reduce the heat to moderately low if the meatballs begin to brown too quickly. Drain on paper towels.
  4. Pour off the fat from the skillet, add the cream and scrape up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Simmer over moderately low heat until reduced by one-third, about 4 minutes. Season with salt and black pepper. Return the meatballs to the sauce and simmer for 2 minutes before serving.

Make Ahead

The meatballs can be refrigerated overnight in their sauce.

Contributed By Photo © Fredrika Stjärne Published February 2002

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