Swedish-ish Meatballs

. June, 2016
Photography by Sarah Tuck .
Swedish-ish Meatballs

With a surprisingly rich and slightly sweet flavour, this meatball dish is perfect either spooned on top of wide egg noodles or on a pile of creamy mash.


500 grams pork mince
250 grams beef mince
2 eggs, lightly beaten
2 slices white toast bread, crusts removed
¼ cup milk
2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan
⅓ cup ricotta
⅛ teaspoon dried chilli flakes
½ teaspoon fennel seeds, dry toasted and ground in mortar and pestle 
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
finely grated zest of ½ lemon
olive oil spray
50 grams butter
4 tablespoons plain flour
1½ cups good quality beef stock
¼ teaspoon allspice
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
150 grams sour cream
⅓ cup grated parmesan
2 tablespoons finely copped fennel or dill stalks
¾ cup cherry or lingonberry jam/jelly
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
¼ cup fennel or dill sprigs


Break pork and beef mince up into a large bowl and stir through egg. Put the milk and the roughly torn up bread into a food processor. Let it soak for a minute while you add the garlic, parmesan, ricotta, chilli flakes, fennel seeds, salt, pepper and zest. Pulse it all until the mixture is just combined. Add to the mince then mix really well together. Roll into about 20 golf ball sized meatballs and chill in the fridge until ready to use. 

Preheat oven to 180˚ (350˚F). Heat half of the butter in a big casserole dish or sauté pan. Cook 10 meatballs at a time over a medium heat for 10 minutes, turning frequently, until golden brown. Pop in an oven proof dish and bake a further 5 minutes while you fry the next 10 meatballs with the remaining butter – finish these in the oven the same way. Set all meatballs aside and lower heat to medium/low.

Add flour to pan and use a wooden spoon to beat it into the butter, scraping the brown bits off the bottom as you go. Once it is a big, dense, blobby paste add stock and spices and whisk to combine.
Increase heat to medium high and stir sauce for 5 minutes or so until it thickens. Add sour cream, parmesan, fennel or dill and 3 tablespoons of the cherry or lingonberry jam. Whisk together and cook for 3–4 minutes until thick and smooth.

Season well to taste with salt and pepper. If your pan is oven proof you can now just pop meatballs into the sauce and reheat together for 5–10 minutes, and if not transfer to an oven proof dish. Serve meatballs garnished with fennel or dill sprigs and either a good dollop of mashed potatoes or wide egg noodles. Spoon over gravy and enjoy with extra lingonberry jelly on the side.