I don’t live in Sweden. It might feel like I’m in Sweden right now. It’s 12 ° F and snowy, but this is Ohio. I’ve never even been to Sweden, unless an Ikea (really, like five different Ikeas) count as having been to Sweden. (They don’t. I know.)
But one thing those Ikeas do have is meatballs. I like Swedish meatballs. They’re good. Simple, honest mildly flavored balls of meat. I mean, what’s not to like about that – other than that I was in an Ikea and the parking lot was large enough that the car I came in might have been in another state.
Anyway, after that nearly incomprehensible introduction, here’s a delicious recipe for Swedish style meatballs, but – like everything else on this site – it’s made with chicken thighs. The recipe is pretty simple and is based on the classic formulation – ground meat with mild seasoning with cardamom and nutmeg, and doused in a simple cream sauce – which apparently is not traditional in Sweden, but definitely is traditional in an Ikea in suburban … everywhere. You can even serve them with lingonberry jam.
I’ve found over the years that I get the best result with meatballs – be they more traditional pork/beef meatballs, or the Coconut Green Curry Chicken Meatballs previously posted here – by quickly poaching the meatballs after shaping them. This means you can have round meatballs, instead of squishy somewhat flat meatballs. A quick bath in simmer stock gives you nice, round meatballs without sacrificing much flavor. More so if you use the stock (as we do here) to make the sauce.
Chicken Thigh Swedish Style MeatballsCourse: MainCuisine: American, SwedishDifficulty: Medium
Swedish style meatballs made from chicken thighs.
4 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
2 cups dark chicken stock
½ cup breadcrumbs
¼ cup heavy cream
1 large egg
2 tbsp whole milk
1 small shallot
2 tbsp AP flour
½ tsp ground black pepper
1 tsp kosher salt
½ tsp dried dill
¼ tsp ground cardamom
¼ tsp freshly grated or ½ tsp ground nutmeg
½ tsp finely chopped fresh parsley
Additional nutmeg and chopped parsley as garnish
- Cut the chicken into 1–2-inch pieces.
- Season with salt.
- Peel, trim, and microplane the shallot
- Beat the egg and milk together.
- Add the breadcrumbs to the egg and milk mixture.
- Add the chicken, microplaned shallot, egg/milk/crumb mixture, black pepper, cardamom, nutmeg, salt, and dill to the container of a food processor.
- Process until the mixture is smooth with no remaining chunks.
- Transfer to a covered container and refrigerate for 1 hour.
- Bring 2 cups dark chicken stock to a boil, then reduce to a simmer.
- Form the chicken mixture into 1 to 1 ½ inch balls.
- Working in batches, poach in the simmering stock for 1-2 minutes. Keep the stock warm for later use.
- Once all balls are poached, transfer to a fry pan over medium high heat (add up to 1 tbsp butter if necessary) and cook until lightly browned on all sides.
- Remove the meat balls from the pan and add the flour, stirring in to create a roux.
- Cook just until the raw flour smell has dissipated.
- Add 1 cup of the reserved chicken stock, whisking to incorporate the roux.
- Once the mixture begins to thicken, add the heavy cream, and cook until the sauce thickens Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Add the meatballs back in to re-warm and coat with the sauce.
- To serve, garnish with chopped parsley and fresh grated nutmeg and accompany with lingonberry jam.
Be sure to check out my other food project, The Weekly Menu!