Swedish-Style Chicken Meatballs

A few days ago, my husband and I went to Ikea to look for bed frames for our children who will be transitioning from toddler beds to single beds very soon. As we were loading our furniture into the van, my husband mentioned that he had never eaten at Ikea. Eating out at Ikea hadn’t even occurred to me for some reason; probably because I am so picky about where I eat. If we hadn’t been in such a hurry that day, I would have made my husband buy the Swedish meatball plate and I would of asked him a million questions about the taste, texture, flavour, and possible ingredients of the dish, so that I could recreate it at home. Nonetheless I was inspired, so on the way home, we picked up some extra lean organic ground chicken, with the hopes of making Swedish-style meatballs for dinner. I am sure Swedish meatballs are made with a combination of pork and beef, but I chose to stick to chicken because I don’t prepare pork or beef at home, due to religious beliefs. I did some quick research into what flavours make up the dish, and came up with the recipe below.

I cannot comment on how similar the taste is to the Swedish-style meatballs served at Ikea, nor can I comment on the authenticity. I can however tell you that my husband and both children, finished off the pot, in one sitting. I served the meatballs with garlic mashed potatoes, steamed beans, and cranberry sauce. Swedish meatballs are often served with Lingonberry jelly, but I didn’t have time to go looking for it, and so cranberry sauce was substituted.

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Swedish-Style Chicken Meatball RECIPE

Makes: 30 small meatballs

Ingredients

Meatballs:

  • 1.5 lbs extra lean ground chicken (or beef or pork, or a combination of both)
  • half a yellow onion, minced and then sautéed with a little bit of EVOO
  • 1/4 cup of milk
  • 2 slices of bread, crusts removed and finely chopped
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, grated
  • 1 tsp all spice
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp. butter

Gravy:

  • 2 Tbsp. butter
  • 3 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
  • 2.5 cups low-sodium chicken broth (preferably homemade)
  • 1/4 cup sour cream or regular cream
  • salt and black pepper to taste
  • 2 tbsp Lingonberry jelly (optional)
  • 2 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped

Instructions:

  1. In a small bowl, combine the pieces of bread and milk. Let soak completely and then break up with a fork.
  2. In a larger bowl, combine the ground meat, sautéed onion, egg, grated garlic, chopped parsley, bread mixture, and spices. Once thoroughly mixed, cover and let it sit in the refrigerator for at least an hour.
  3. Divide the meat mixture into 30 balls. Shape and set aside on a wax paper-lined baking sheet.
  4. Preheat a large skillet to medium heat. Add 1-2 Tbsp of butter to the pan and let it melt and bubble.
  5. Start browning your meatballs (I browned them in batches of ten).
  6. Once browned, set aside on a plate and brown the remaining meatballs.
  7. To the same skillet, add 2 Tbsp of butter.
  8. Once the butter melts, add the 3 Tbsp of flour and cook the flour for a few minutes, until it turns a light brown colour.
  9. Add the chicken broth, and stir constantly until a smooth consistency is achieved (when you pour in the chicken broth, your flour mixture will initially separate, don’t panic).
  10. Place the meatballs into the gravy to finish cooking.
  11. Cook uncovered, until the gravy thickens to desired consistency (keep in mind that the gravy will also thicken a bit after turning off the stove).
  12. Add the sour cream, salt, and black pepper and stir until the sour cream is well-blended. Take care not to break the meatballs.
  13. Remove from heat and stir in the Lingonberry jelly if desired.
  14. Garnish with fresh parsley, before serving.

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NOTE:

  • Homemade chicken broth really does make a difference. Learn how to make and store your own broth here.
  • If using store-bought broth, look for an organic brand, which typically is low-sodium as well.
  • I use Blue Goose organic ground chicken to make meatballs. Learn more about the Blue Goose Brand here.
  • Browning meatballs, refers to pan-frying the meatballs in a little bit of oil, until all sides are an even brown colour. This is a great way to enhance taste, and also to keep the meatballs from falling apart in the sauce. To avoid the excess oil and fat that comes, with browning on a pan, opt to bake the meatballs instead.

If you try this recipe, I would love to hear from you! Please leave me a comment.

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