World’s Best Swedish Meatballs

The whole purpose of this blog was to make all the family recipes passed down from my mom and grandmas with the intention of working my way through every recipe in my mom’s recipe box. However, I have been making a lot of non-family recipes recently and kind of got off track. Today’s recipe is the huge exception to the rule. You couldn’t pick out a recipe that is any closer to my family and nearer to dearer to our hearts than this one. This is my Grandma Laila’s and my mom’s Swedish meatball recipe. These truly are the best meatballs I have ever had in my life, and I’ve had a lot of meatballs. So, when I call them the world’s best Swedish meatballs, it is not hyperbole. I truly think they are the best Swedish meatballs ever. Heck, I think these are the best meatballs period, Swedish or otherwise

The secret is the combination of meat. This is also the tricky part. The ground hamburger pork ratio has to be two-to-one. More importantly, is has to be ground together four times. The final meat product should be something resembling mush. However, getting a butcher to grind the meat for you might be tricky. I tried a local grocery store first and they told me to come back really early in the morning, like 5:00 or 6:00 a.m. to speak to the butcher about my special request. I don’t know about you, but I’m usually getting ready for work around that time and can’t be bothered to squeeze in a visit to my local grocery store too. The butcher at the next grocery store I called told me they wouldn’t grind together two different meats for liability reasons. The next store told me basically the same thing the first store did—come back early in the morning when the butcher was there and run my request by him. Note, I only tried the meat departments at local grocery stores and not local meat markets. I think I would have had better luck with a local meat market, but at this point. I thought “I will just grind the meat myself.” So I purchased a small meat grinder for about $25.

Unfortunately the grinder really wasn’t the greatest. It got good ratings online, but was painfully slow at grinding my meat. I spent way too much time just trying to get a small amount of meat combined and considering I needed the meet to be ground together four times, I knew this grinder was not going to meet my needs (or would that be “meat” my needs).

It was then a light bulb went off over my head. Why not try the larger of my two Ninjas to blend the two meats? Let me tell you, it worked like a charm. The meat was mushy and beautiful/disgusting just like it was supposed to be.

Ninja Blender

Mom’s Swedish Meatballs

Recipe makes 10 dozen (120 meatballs)
4 pounds ground beef
2 pounds ground pork
6 tsp. salt
1 tsp. pepper
6 tbsp. (or 1/3 cup) flour
1 tsp. allspice
4 slices of toast crushed or 1 cup breadcrumbs
¾ tsp. nutmeg
4 eggs
1 cup half and half (or ¾ cup whipping cream with ¼ cup milk)
1 ½ packages Lipton Dried Onion Soup Mix (heaping 1/3 cup)
Contadina Traditional Unseasoned Bread Crumbs
Lipton Onion Soup Mix

Mix all these ingredients together. The best way to do this is to get in there with your bare hands and mix it, just grinding your hands through all the ingredients until everything is well blended. It won’t be pretty and if raw meat makes you gag a little, as it does me, you might have to hold your breath while you’re doing it, but the result will be a well-blended meat mixture.

I used a medium cookie dough scoop to get the same portion of meat for each meatball and then gave each scoop a little roll in between both of my hands to make it nice and round (although you can tell from my photos, I didn’t put too much effort into making them round).

Next, brown each meatball in a fry pan on the stove top. Just turn the stovetop on medium and turn each meatball frequently to see how the browning process is coming along.

Then, place all your meatballs in a roasting pan or Corning dishes with covers, as I did. Take a soup can of beef consommé and pour over the meatball. Then, fill the soup can with water and pour that over as well. Depending on the size of the dish you are going to bake it in, you might need to fill the soup can with a second can of water to pour over the meatballs, as well. You want the meatballs to be almost covered.

Campbell’s Beef Consommé

Then, cover your bake ware and bake in the oven at 300 degrees for 3 to 4 hours.

I personally only made a half recipe (60 meatballs). Any meatballs you won’t be able to eat right away you can freeze in their consommé mixture. They heat up great later in the oven or a crock pot.

I made some delightful whipped potatoes and glazed carrotsthat I got off the Taste of Home site to go along with the meal. I am not sure what the difference is between whipped and mashed potatoes, but I call these whipped, because I had cut the potatoes into really small, thin pieces for boiling and they got cooked very well. When I went to mash them, I worried I added too much liquid (I only added a little bit of butter, heavy cream, and sour cream) and they were going to be runny, because the potatoes were almost overcooked, but they ended up coming together quite well, almost pureed.

I’ve heard others say mashed potatoes are when you use a potato or meat masher or a fork to blend your butter or cream or other ingredients into your boiled potatoes, whereas whipping them involves using a mixer to blend your ingredients. I didn’t use a mixer, but I might as well have for how creamy and smooth my potatoes turned out.

So far, these meatballs have been my favorite recipe to make. I was reminded of one year when my mom and I made multiple recipes—I can’t remember any more if it was six recipes we made or sixty pounds of meat—the number six being in there is the part I remember—regardless, it would have been somewhere in the neighborhood of 720-1,200 meatballs we made. Can you imagine? Those are restaurant quantities!

We used to freeze them in batches of two to three dozen and then bring them to all the family holiday gatherings, where they were de rigueur. Family and friends expected and looked forward to them and would have been hugely disappointed if they weren’t on the holiday menu each year.

Anyhow, it took us the entire day to make that many, and I remember, for the longest time afterwards, never wanting to go near a meatball recipe again. However, perhaps it was that practice that made perfect and ensured this dish would turn out so well, now that I’ve finally got around to making it again.

I really thought of my mom, as I made these. I felt as if she was right there in the kitchen with me, encouraging me. She loved the holidays so much and was always so excited every year to make all the traditional meals. I miss her so much.

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