Many people believe the only place to eat Swedish meatballs is IKEA. That is just not true.
In my family we call them Scandinavian meatballs, in the interest of fairness. My father is Swedish and my mother, Norwegian, so we keep the peace with the term Scandinavian.
When my grandmother would visit Norway, she would always make sure to buy some Klydder Blanding. This is a spice, she claimed, that you could only get in Norway.
Now, I am fairly certain that we can all be in agreement that Norway is not the spice capital of the world. It always baffled me that Norway would be the only place to have this spice.
If she had said that India was the only place to get this spice, it would be more believable. After all, we all know that the Scandinavians consider cardamom their spice, but it did originate elsewhere.
Well, after blindly accepting that Klydder Blanding was only available in Norway, I decided to do a little investigating of my own. (My spice jar is now over 20 years old.)
First of all, I looked up Klydder Blanding on the Internet. What a shock. It means Spice Mix. Underneath was another few words. I though maybe this would be my answer. The words were “alt I ett dryss”. These words translate to “all in one sprinkle.”
Seriously, this was of no help. I tried smelling the spices to see what the combination could be. But with a bottle that was over 20 years old, the spices were not that pungent anymore.
Determined not to give up, I started asking people to smell the spices in the jar and give me their opinion. Again, no help, everyone had a different guess.
If you do not own a jar or Klydder Blanding, don’t despair. The spices you will need to get the same taste are allspice (if you don’t have allspice, use nutmeg), white pepper and dry mustard. Sounds like an odd combination, but it is delicious.
Swedish (Scandinavian) meatballs are generally made with a mixture of lamb, pork, ground beef, onions, breadcrumbs, and, of course, Klydder Blanding. The meatballs are served with gravy, usually over noodles, potatoes, or rice. Even served alone, they are quite good.
In the interest of ease of preparation, affordability, and healthiness, consider making the meatballs with ground turkey. To make things even easier: How about making them in the slow cooker?
This is the way that I like to make them and my family loves them. My grandmother always fried her meatballs in a pan on the top of the stove. We never ate them with the traditional cream sauce. I think it was because the meatballs alone were so good we just ate them plain.
I prefer to make the meatballs ahead of time and freeze them so that I can make them whenever I want to. I have tried making the meatballs in the slow cooker when they were still raw. Although they do cook, they have a tendency to fall apart. If you want to put your Swedish meatballs in the slow cooker for a full 8 hours, cook them on the stovetop first and then freeze them. Put them frozen into the slow cooker. You will be very happy with the result.
I like to use a cookie scoop so that my meatballs are all about the same size. If the meatballs are the same size, they cook evenly.
Scoop the meat mixture into the cookie scoop and then round it into a ball shape. I use the medium-size cookie scoop. The meatballs will be about 1 ½- to 2-inches in diameter. Put two tablespoons of butter in a skillet and cook these meatballs until they are done.
Since the whole idea of using a slow cooker is to make things easier, make your sauce from items you have on your shelf at home. Use two kinds of cream soups (I used cream of celery and cream of chicken), add cream cheese and water. You will not be able to tell that you did not make a white sauce and fuss for hours.
When making these meatballs, perhaps you will remember to say: “Tack sa myket” if you are Swedish, or “manga takk” if you are Norwegian. Perhaps a simple thank you will do. Anyway you say it, be sure to show appreciation to the person who prepared this meal. No one was ever insulted by someone showing gratitude.
Serve these Swedish meatballs over egg noodles, mashed potatoes, or rice. It is a delicious meal your entire family will love.
And remember,… a good cook always cleans up!
SLOW COOKER TURKEY SWEDISH MEATBALLS
2 lbs. ground turkey
1 ½ cups fresh breadcrumbs
¾ cup milk
1 medium onion, grated
1 TB butter
1 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. cardamom, optional
1/8 tsp. white pepper
1/8 tsp. nutmeg
¼ tsp. allspice
¼ tsp. dried mustard
4 TB butter
Grate onion with a cheese grater and cook over low heat with one tablespoon of butter until onions begin to look translucent. Remove to a plate to cool.
Cut up about 3 to 4 pieces of bread (crusts removed) into very small pieces. Place crumbs in ¾ cups of milk and let sit for 5 minutes.
Once onions are cooled and milk mixture is ready, combine all other ingredients together. Mix well.
Use a cookie scoop to get the meatballs similar in size.
Melt 2 TB of butter in a skillet and cook half of the meatballs, turning as needed. Remove to cool.
Melt 2 more TB of butter for the rest of the meatballs.
Once all the meatballs have cooled. Freeze until you are ready to use them.
Slow cooker ingredients:
2 cans cream soup (chicken, celery, mushroom, etc.)
¼ cup cream cheese
1 cup (or more) of water
3 TB sour cream
1 tsp. allspice (optional)
Place your frozen meatballs on the bottom of the slow cooker.
Mix two soups and cream cheese until smooth, add one cup of water (or more) to soups.
Pour over meatballs. Set slow cooker to 8 hours on low or 4 hours on high.
Once the meatballs are done cooking, remove meatballs and keep warm.
Add 3 TB of sour cream to the sauce and mix together well. Add 1 tsp. of allspice for extra flavor.
Serve sauce over meatballs.