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Swedish Meatballs (Cardamom) April 12, 2011

Posted by andrewescott in Recipes.
Tags: , , ,

It turns out that the vikings took cardamom to Scandinavia, and a number of traditional dishes in the region use it, including Swedish Meatballs. This recipe is based on three different online recipes.


For meatballs:

  • 5 slices wholemeal bread, torn into pieces
  • 2/3 cup (165mL) milk
  • 1 large white onion
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 500g beef mince
  • 500g pork mince
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom (ideally freshly ground from green pods)
  • 1/2 teaspoon mixed spice (cinnamon, allspice and nutmeg)
  • 6 tablespoons butter (plus approx additional 3 tablespoons butter) for frying

For gravy sauce:

  • 1/3 cup plain flour
  • 500 mL beef stock
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons cranberry sauce (ideally lingonberry sauce, eg. from IKEA)


  1. Soak the bread in milk, and leave it to get really soggy.
  2. Peel and grate the onion, then finely dice it to ensure no large pieces. Fry in butter until it begins to change colour (after about 3-4 mins). Then remove and allow to cool.
  3. Blend the milky bread, or use a stick mixer, until smooth, and pour into a large mixing bowl.
  4. Add the onions, salt, pepper, cardamom and mixed spice, and combine well.
  5. Add eggs, pork mince, beef mince and mix well using fingers. Squish it all together for at least 3 mins.
  6. Take tablespoon-sized spoonfuls of meat mixture, roll into balls and set aside. Makes between 50-60 balls.
  7. Melt the butter in a large frypan over medium heat, and fry the meatballs in batches. Do not crowd the pan, and fry them just enough to brown the outside, turning them to ensure an even colour.
  8. When, during this last step, the frypan butter starts to get very brown, before starting the next batch, scrape out the pan into a jug and set aside (do not keep any burnt butter!). Then put fresh butter into the frypan and continue. Scrape out the pan into the jug at the end.
  9. You can now store the partially cooked meatballs in the fridge overnight, in a 2L-capacity airtight container. Keep the pan scrapings also.
  10. Start the gravy sauce by emptying the pan scrapings into a large frypan, and cooking over medium heat until melted.
  11. Heat the stock (eg. in a microwave) or on the stove. You’ll need this in a little bit.
  12. Stir the flour into the frypan, and then cook it with the scrapings for a couple of minutes until it has good colour.
  13. Slowly add the stock, stirring all the while. Initially, the mix will start going solid, but keep adding the stock and stirring until it has all been combined.
  14. Turn the heat to low, add the meatballs, and cook for 10-15 minutes until the meatballs are cooked.
  15. Stir in sour cream and cranberry sauce, ensuring that the cranberry sauce separates.
  16. Plate up immediately (around 8 meatballs are right for an entree-sized serving).
  17. I served it with mashed, red-skinned potato, flavoured with dill.


1. Cardamom « Melbourne Recipe Club - April 12, 2011

[…] the entree, Andrew served Swedish Meatballs with […]

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