Swedish Meatballs (Gluten Free)Posted: May 30, 2014
I might have a problem. Every time I happen to think about these meatballs–or worse–I happen upon a picture of them as I organize my photos, I immediately, desperately, need to make them again. I might be obsessing over these meatballs (or, more specifically, these meatballs doused in this gravy). Actually, considering the bubble of joy that swells in my mind at the prospect of making a big batch of these meatballs to freeze now and pack later for those quickly-approaching camp lunches, I am certain that I am obsessing over these meatballs. That is fine with me. I think you might obsess over them too.
So, Swedish meatballs. In this day and time, I would guess that many people’s minds would immediately think of Ikea’s famous take on this dish. I have certainly heard about Ikea’s glorious swedish meatballs time and time again. But I have never tried them. My first trip to Ikea was less than a year ago, well after I gave up gluten. So the gluten-filled meatballs and creamy gravy were definitely out of the question.
I have no idea if these meatballs taste like Ikea’s. If you have some ground pork and would like to weigh in, I wouldn’t be opposed to an informed opinion. I do know that these little roasted parcels of chicken and pork swimming in this dreamy gravy make a dinner that lingers in my memory and kickstarts cravings at the mere thought. Honestly, I am sharing this post so that I can take the photos out of my To-Be-Posted folder and limit my encounters with the visual reminder. I am having a hard time preparing a convincing argument with myself as to why I can’t just have meatballs for dinner every night.
Swedish Meatballs & Gravy
Adapted from The Londoner
Serves: 3-4 | Prep time: 20 min | Cook time: 30 min
For the Meatballs
- 3 slices Udi’s white bread, thawed and untoasted (you may only need 2 if you use larger slices than Udi’s brand)
- up to 6 Tbsp. milk, divided
- 1 sm. yellow onion, finely diced
- 1 clove of garlic, minced
- 1 egg
- 3/4 lb. ground pork
- 3/4 lb. ground chicken
- 1 tsp. sea salt
- 1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
- 1/2 tsp. nutmeg
- 1/4 tsp. allspice
- 2 tsp. sage
- 1 tsp. thyme
- 1/4 tsp. cayenne, optional
- 1 Tbsp. butter
For the Gravy
- 3 Tbsp butter
- 2 Tbsp flour (rice flour, a blend, any kind that is not pure starches)
- 2 c. chicken stock
- 4 tsp. dijon mustard
- 2 Tbsp. worchestershire sauce
- 2 tsp. sugar
- 1 1/2 c. sour cream*
- 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1/2 tsp. nutmeg
- 2 tsp. parsley (dried flakes, or chopped fresh)
- Cooked pasta or mashed potatoes
- 1 small lemon
- Fresh parsley
Make the meatballs
Remove the crusts from the bread slices and roughly chop into small pieces. Tear or chop remaining bread innards. Add all bread pieces to a large bowl. Add 4 Tbsp of milk and allow to soak for several minutes until bread softens and absorbs most of the liquid. If portions of the bread are still dry, add up to 2 additional tablespoons of milk, one tablespoon at a time. While the bread is soaking, add butter to a large saucepan and cook onions until soft and translucent. Add garlic and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant–about 1-2 minutes. Add onion mixture to the bowl. Add meat, sprinkle over all spices. Mix well, until all ingredients are incorporated. Form meat mixture into 1 1/2 inch wide balls.
Cook the meatballs in the large sauce pan used for the onions, turning gently, until all sides are browned and meatballs are firm, about 7-10 minutes. Do not overcrowd the pan–cook the meatballs in batches if necessary. Place in oven on “Warm” or lowest setting.
Make the gravy
After the meatballs are all cooked, melt the butter is the large saucepan used for the meatballs over medium heat. Sprinkle over flour, whisking constantly. The butter and flour will come together. Cook for 3-5 minutes until the roux begins to turn golden. Add a large splash of the chicken broth. Keep whisking. The roux will bubble and hiss and clump, but that’s okay. Just keep whisking. When the mixtures smooths out, add another big splash of chicken broth. Repeat. Whisk some more. Keep up this cycle: a little broth, whisk until smooth, more broth, whisk again; until all of the broth has been added into the smooth gravy. Measure out the sour cream in a separate container. Stir in the vanilla extract and the sugar. These ingredients are both to take the edge off of the sour cream, so you get a delightful rich, not-too-tangy gravy. Stir the mustard, worchestershire, and sour cream mixture into the gravy in the pan, stirring until thoroughly combined. Stir in nutmeg, parsley, salt, and pepper. Taste and adjust seasonings if needed. Add a little water if it is too thick.
To serve, plate up the mashed potatoes or pasta, add meatballs and top it all off with delicious gravy. Sprinkle parsley over top. I also like a squeeze of lemon juice. Enjoy the meal and try not to obsess over these meatballs!