Teeny McMunn: My Recipe Box

Mrs. Doppelganger's Swedish Meatballs


I never really liked Swedish meatballs all that much, until a college buddy’s German mom cooked them for dinner one night while I was visiting in Bellingham. (Does this mean they are actually German meatballs?) No matter. I was sold, and I have been making these savory little flavor bombs for at least 30 years. This is comfort food and is great for a crowd on a cold wintery evening. Not to worry, they are great in the summer as well.

Mrs. Doppelganger’s Swedish Meatballs

To make the meatballs:

1 medium onion, finely minced and sautéed in butter

1 lb. ground beef (80% lean, you'll need some rendered fat to make the sauce)

1-2 ( I use 1) cup(s) dry bread crumbs soaked in milk and squeezed dry

2-2.5 tsp. salt (2 is just fine)

1/2 tsp. dried minced onion

2 tsp. ground nutmeg

1/2 tsp. dried minced garlic (NOT garlic powder)

2 tsp. ground paprika

1 tsp. dried mixed herbs (i.e. parsley-sage-rosemary-thyme or Italian herbs)

1/4 tsp fresh ground black pepper

3 well-beaten eggs

Mix ingredients above using a fork (not your hands) to keep meat mixture from becoming too dense. Form into 1-inch balls. Cook in skillet in ¼ cup butter or olive oil (the healthier alternative) on medium to medium-high heat – they need to sear a little bit for best flavor. Set meatballs aside.

To make the sauce:

I find that this recipe only makes enough sauce for half of the meatballs. So, I generally freeze half the cooked meatballs and make more sauce for them later – OR, of course, you can double the sauce recipe.

Add 4 T. flour to pan juices and add enough butter to wet the flour. Brown. Add 2 tsp tomato paste (I prefer sun-dried, a good pinch or two of nutmeg, and ½ tsp garlic powder. Make 2 cups beef broth by adding enough water to one 8 oz. can of Campbell’s French Onion soup concentrate to make 2 cups plus (optional) 1 tsp dry beef concentrate if you like salty dishes. Mix with browned flour and cook until thick, stirring constantly. Add 1 cup sour cream, blend, then put meatballs in sauce and simmer until warm.

Serve over noodles such as kluski, spaetzle, or regular old curly flat noodles, and top with grated Parmesan cheese (optional). A side of stewed red cabbage always goes well with this dish. There are only about a gazillion recipes for red cabbage on the web, so Google it and find one you think looks good.

To make the cabbage:

2 tablespoons butter

5 cups shredded red cabbage

1 cup sliced green apples

1/3 cup apple cider vinegar

3 tablespoons water

1/4 cup white sugar

2 1/4 teaspoons salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves


Place all ingredients into a heavy metal braising vessel such as a small Dutch oven with a loose-fitting lid. Bake at 325 F° for one to two hours until tender. Stir every 20 - 30 minutes to ensure even cooking. It’s donewhen you like it the way it is!

~The Unknown Chuck Wagon Cook~


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