Martian Food
Sep 18, 2015

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Swedish Meatballs

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Start To Finish:


Yield: 25-30 meatballs

Source: Cook's Illustrated

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1 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. fresh lemon juice
½ cup heavy (whipping) cream
2 tsp. packed brown sugar
1¼ cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 Tbs. unbleached all-purpose flour
1 Tbs. unsalted butter
¼ cup vegetable oil
8 oz. 85% lean ground beef
1 large egg
1½ tsp. table salt
⅛ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
⅛ tsp. ground allspice
⅛ tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
1 small onion, grated on large holes of a box grater (about ¼ cup)
8 oz. ground pork
1 large slice high-quality white sandwich bread, crusts removed and bread torn into 1-inch pieces
¼ cup heavy (whipping) cream



Whisk egg and cream together in medium bowl. Stir in bread and set aside. Meanwhile, in stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, beat pork, onion, nutmeg, allspice, pepper, salt, and baking powder on high speed until smooth and pale, about 2 minutes, scraping bowl as necessary. Using fork, mash bread mixture until no large dry bread chunks remain; add mixture to mixer bowl and beat on high speed until smooth and homogeneous, about 1 minute, scraping bowl as necessary. Add beef and mix on medium-low speed until just incorporated, about 30 seconds, scraping bowl as necessary. Using moistened hands, form generous tablespoon of meat mixture in 1-inch round meatballs; repeat with remaining mixture to form 25 to 30 meatballs.

Heat oil in a 12-inch straight-sided sauté pan over medium-high heat until edge of meatball dipped in oil sizzles (oil should register 350° on instant-read thermometer), 3-5 minutes. Add meatballs and fry, flipping as necessary, until lightly browned all over and cooked through, 7 to 10 minutes. (Adjust heat as needed to keep oil sizzling but not smoking.) You may need to fry the meatballs in batches.  Using tongs or a slotted spoon, transfer browned meatballs to paper towel-lined plate.


Pour off and discard oil in pan, leaving any fond (browned bits) behind. Return pan to medium-high heat and add butter. When foaming subsides (about 1 minute—do not let butter brown), add flour and cook, whisking constantly, until flour is light brown, about 30 seconds. Slowly whisk in broth, scraping pan bottom to loosen browned bits. Add brown sugar and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to medium and cook until the sauce is reduced to about 1 cup, about 5 minutes. Stir in cream and return to a simmer.

Add meatballs to sauce and simmer, turning occasionally, until heated through, about 5 minutes. Stir in lemon juice, season with salt and pepper to taste, and serve.


The meatballs can be cooked and the sauce made without adding the cream at least one day ahead.  Refrigerate meatballs and sauce separately.  About 45 minutes before serving, gently reheat the sauce, add the cream and continue with the recipe.


The traditional accompaniments are lingonberry preserves and Swedish Pickled Cucumbers. Serve with mashed potatoes, boiled red potatoes, or egg noodles. Or, if you serve them as an appetizer, just provide some toothpicks for guests to easily grab one.

The original recipe is slightly sweeter—if you would like to try that version, add 1 tsp. packed brown sugar to the pork mixture, and increase the brown sugar in the sauce to 1 Tbs.

The meatball mixture is very loose, so it is important to keep your hands moistened when forming the meatballs. Put the formed meatballs on a sheet of parchment or waxed paper.

If you don't have a stand mixer, use a hand mixer.

Drink with:

Pinot Noir

Specialty Equipment:

Stand mixer, box grater, spice grater (for the nutmeg)

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