Swedish meatballs

Adam Liaw
Photo: William Meppem
Photo: William Meppem 

Kottbullar med graddsas, aka meatballs, are possibly Sweden's greatest culinary ambassador. Don't settle for pre-packaged shortcuts. Made from scratch, with mashed potato, pressed cucumber and lingonberry jam, they are a wonder to behold.


1 cup fresh breadcrumbs, loosely packed 

150ml thickened cream

250g pork mince

250g beef mince

1 small brown onion, finely grated

½ tsp grated nutmeg

1 tsp salt, plus extra to season

¼ tsp ground white pepper

50g butter

1 tbsp plain flour

1½ cups chicken stock

lingonberry jam, to serve*

mashed potato, to serve

Pressgurka (Pressed cucumbers)

1 lebanese cucumber, thinly sliced into rounds

¼ tsp salt

½ tsp castor sugar

1 tbsp white vinegar

* Lingonberry jam is available from selected gourmet food stores and IKEA, but cranberry sauce or fig paste are great substitutes.


1. For the pressgurka, place all the ingredients into a press-seal bag and seal, removing as much air as possible. Massage the bag to combine the ingredients, refrigerate with a heavy weight on top of the bag for at least one hour.

2. For the meatballs, pour two to three tablespoons of the cream over the breadcrumbs and allow them to soak for a few minutes. Combine the wet breadcrumbs, pork and beef mince, onion, nutmeg, salt and pepper in a large bowl and stir to combine for about five minutes. As you stir, the mixture should become stiffer. Refrigerate for 30 minutes, then form into about 20 balls the size of table tennis balls.

3. Heat half the butter in a large non-stick frying pan and fry half the meatballs over medium heat until browned and cooked through (about six minutes), shaking the pan regularly. Remove the cooked meatballs from the pan and repeat for the remaining meatballs. Do not wash the pan between batches.

4. After removing the second batch of meatballs from the pan, return to the heat and scatter over the flour, stirring for about a minute. Add the stock and bring to a simmer, scraping any food from bottom of the pan. Simmer for two minutes then add the remaining cream and stir through. Adjust for seasoning, then return all the meatballs to the pan to heat through the sauce for a further four minutes.

5. Serve the meatballs with mashed potato, pressed cucumber and lingonberry jam.