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Aquavit's Swedish Meatballs

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“This is Marcus Samuelsson's rendition of the perennial favorite. The sauce is wonderful, unctuous. They should be served with garlicky mashed potatoes, quick pickled cucumbers and extra lingonberry preserves. The pickled cucumbers (and their juice) are really easy to make and the recipe is posted. If you can't find lingonberry preserves (a pity) you can substitute whole cranberry relish.”
24 meatballs

Ingredients Nutrition

  • Meatballs
  • 12 cup fine breadcrumbs
  • 14 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium red onion, finely chopped
  • 12 lb ground sirloin
  • 12 lb ground veal
  • 12 lb ground pork
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 large egg
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • kosher salt & fresh ground pepper
  • The Sauce
  • 1 cup chicken stock, prefereably homemade and salt-free
  • 12 cup heavy cream
  • 14 cup lingonberry preserves
  • 2 tablespoons juice, from quick pickled cucumbers


  1. Prepare the Meatballs.
  2. Combine the bread crumbs and 1/4 cup cream in a small bowl, stirring until all the crumbs are moistened.
  3. Set aside.
  4. Heat the oil in a small skillet over medium heat.
  5. Add the onion and saute for for about five minutes, until softened.
  6. Remove from heat.
  7. In a large bowl, combine ground beef, veal and pork, onion, honey and egg, and mix well with your hands (remember Julia--your impeccably clean hands).
  8. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  9. Add the bread crumb/cream mixture and mix well.
  10. With wet hands (to keep mixture from sticking) shape the mixture into meatballs the size of golfballs, placing them on a plate slightly moistened with water.
  11. You should have about 24 meatballs.
  12. Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
  13. Add the meatballs, in batches if necessary, and cook, turning frequently, for about seven minutes, until the meatballs are browned on all sides and cooked through.
  14. Transfer the meatballs to a plate and keep warm.
  15. Discard all but one tablespoon of fat from the skillet.
  16. Prepare the Sauce.
  17. Return the skillet to the heat.
  18. Whisk in the stock, 1/2 cup of cream, preserves and pickle juice, and bring to a simmer.
  19. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  20. Add the meatballs to the sauce, reduce heat to medium, and simmer for about five minutes, until the sauce thickens slightly and the meatballs are heated through.
  21. Serve hot with garlic mashed potatoes, lingonberry preserves and pickled cucumbers.

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