If your family is anything like mine, any festive event, party, holiday, family gathering all revolved around one thing: food. Whether it was pizza for birthdays, ham for Easter, or turkey for Thanksgiving, food has always been very central to all of our family events. The first place my brothers and I go upon arrival at our parents’ house is always the kitchen. With my dad being a chef and my mom being an excellent cook, there is always a great spread at their house. The appetizers they have are always fantastic and sometimes just as good as the main course itself. I’ve been known to eat myself into a food coma from time to time.
For as long as I can remember, there have always been some go-to dishes that we all really look forward to:
- My mom’s chili dip and guacamole (Her secret is a little bit of cream cheese... shhh.)
- My dad’s homemade hummus and something that almost no one makes at home: pita bread.
- My aunt’s scratch-made meatballs and marinara.
These things really strike a chord in my mind as well as in my stomach. In recent years I’ve brought an old school classic back to the mix with my own little spin on it: Swedish meatballs.
Swedish meatballs are really the ultimate comfort food for me: three different types of meat mixed with sautéed onions and garlic, flavored with nutmeg and black pepper, smothered in a mustard-dill gravy. As a man of Eastern European descent, these meatballs speak to me on a very primal level. I mean, who wouldn’t like a meatball, let alone a meatball covered in a delicious gravy? I made these for my fiancé’s family the first year I went there for Christmas and now every time we go there for a special occasion, I make these meatballs. I always think I am going to make something new, but it always comes back to these meatballs.
If you really want to impress your friends and family at your next dinner party, make a batch of these meatballs. Or maybe you just want a hearty and satisfying meal at home. Serve these bad boys over some boiled egg noodles or some white rice and you’ll be in comfort food heaven, I promise.
If you’re interested in other delicious appetizers and finger foods, just search The Chopping Block's new mobile-friendly class calendar for "Spanish Tapas."
Yields 40-50 1 oz. meatballs
For the meatballs:
1 Tablespoon vegetable oil
1 pound ground chuck
1 pound ground pork
1 pound ground veal
1/2 yellow onion, small dice
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 eggs, beaten
1/4 teaspoon fresh ground nutmeg
2 teaspoon Kosher salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 cup Panko breadcrumbs
For the gravy:
4 Tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup sll-purpose flour
2 1/2 cups unsalted beef broth
2 Tablespoons Yellow mustard
2 Tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
2 teaspoons Kosher salt
1 teaspoon Black pepper
1/2 cup sour cream
1/4 cup dill, chopped fine
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2. Heat oil in a sauté pan over medium low heat. When oil is hot, add onion and sweat until softened and lightly caramelized, about 8-10 minutes.
3. Add garlic and sauté an additional minute. Transfer the mixture to a plate and allow to cool to room temperature.
4. In a large mixing bowl, combine onion-garlic mixture, ground meats, eggs, panko, salt, pepper, and nutmeg.
5. Gently mix by hand until fully incorporated being careful not to overmix. Mixture will be slightly sticky and hold its shape when formed into a ball.
6. Using a 1 oz. scoop (a cookie scoop works best for this), scoop the mixture into balls and form by hand onto a foil-lined sheet pan, evenly spaced and not touching.
7. Allow meatballs to rest while you make the gravy.
8. Melt butter in a sauce pan over medium heat.
9. Once butter is melted, whisk in flour until a paste is formed (this is called a roux).
10. Let the roux cook for 2-3 minutes until it browns a bit and you start to smell a nutty aroma.
11. Slowly whisk in 1/2 cup of the beef stock. Add the rest of the stock in 1/2 cup at a time. Allow the roux to absorb and thicken the stock before adding the next 1/2 cup of stock.
12. Once the mixture has achieved a gravy consistency, add the salt, pepper, mustard, and Worcestershire.
13. When combined, slowly whisk in the sour cream and add the dill. Taste for seasoning.
14. Roast the meatballs for 10-12 minutes until browned but not cooked through, turning them over halfway through.
15. Remove the meatballs from the oven and place them into the sauce. Let simmer for 15-20 minutes until the meatballs are fully cooked. Serve over boiled egg noodles or steamed white rice.