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I’ve eaten the Swedish meatballs at IKEA. Delish!

I’ve also eaten Swedish meatballs in Sweden. They were served with a delicate lingonberry sauce and washed down with the caraway-heavy Scandinavian spirit aquavit. Note: When your husband forces you to eat pickled herring, you must wash it down with something.

This Swedish meatball recipe is reminiscent of Stockholm, but I’ve adapted it for a more casual, healthy meal: using turkey instead of beef and pork and turning lingonberry jam into a sweet and tangy dipping sauce.


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The meatball recipe itself comes from my 80-year-old neighbor, who got it from a Swedish relative who just passed away. The turkey meatballs get their flavor from allspice and Worcestershire sauce and their tenderness from a slice of bread soaked in half-and-half.

I’ve been using turkey in meatballs for a long time. So many European recipes call for beef and pork, but I find I don’t miss the red meat in these.


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Lingonberries are like the tart European version of the cranberry. So you can see why lingonberry sauce goes so well with turkey. If you’re near an IKEA, you can stop in and get some lingonberry jam. If not, you’ll find it in many international grocery stores as well as a good brand of lingonberry jam online.

   

Swedish Turkey Meatballs

With Lingonberry Dipping Sauce

A tangy sweet sauce for everyone’s favorite appetizer!

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Serves: 4-6

Ingredients

For the Meatballs:
  • 1 lb. ground turkey
  • 1 slice bread, crust removed and ripped in pieces
  • 1/2 cup half and half
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 tsp. ground allspice
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tbsp. minced onion
  • 4 tbsp. butter (optional, for browning)
  • For the Lingonberry Dipping Sauce:
  • 1 cup lingonberry jam (See Notes)
  • 3 tbsp. water
  • Instructions

    1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Tear up slice of bread in small pieces and soak in 1/2 cup half-and-half for 5 minutes.
    2. Put ground turkey, salt, Worcestershire sauce, allspice and minced onion in a large bowl. Beat egg separately and add to bowl. Pour bread/half-and-half mixture into bowl. Mix all ingredients together with a fork or your hands.
    3. With wet hands, shape turkey mixture into meatballs about 1 to 1 1/2 inches across.
    4. Optional Browning: Heat 2 tbsp. butter in a large pan over medium heat and brown the meatballs in 2 batches, adding another 2 tbsp. butter for the second batch. Once brown on all sides, transfer meatballs to an ovenproof dish or parchment paper-covered sheet pan and bake for 15 minutes at 400 degrees or until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees.
    5. Easy Bake/No Browning Required: Put meatballs on a parchment paper-covered baking sheet or in an ovenproof casserole dish and bake for 15-20 minutes at 400 degrees. Remove when cooked through or the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees.
    6. While meatballs are baking, make lingonberry sauce. Blend 1 cup lingonberry jam and 3 tbsp. water, adding water if needed to desired consistency. Heat sauce in the microwave or serve at room temperature.

    Notes

    Lingonberry jam substitute: If don’t want to get lingonberry jam at IKEA or online, cranberry sauce is a good alternative. I also like boysenberry jam with turkey meatballs, since it’s a bit more sour than other jams.
    Browning the Meatballs: Browning the meatballs before baking gives them better flavor (and also allows to you to make a gravy if you want), but adds to the difficulty of the recipe. You’ll need a good pair of tongs so you don’t squish them while turning them in the pan. The Easy Bake method is usually how I make them for a quick dinner.