This version of Swedish meatballs features larger meatballs made of all beef instead of the traditional beef/pork combination. (Photo by Tressa Dale/Peninsula Clarion)

This version of Swedish meatballs features larger meatballs made of all beef instead of the traditional beef/pork combination. (Photo by Tressa Dale/Peninsula Clarion)

Meatballs and weddings

When my husband and I got married, Swedish meatballs were served as part of our dinner spread

My sister came down for a visit this past weekend and along with some lawn seeding and garden weeding we had an important job to do — we were on a mission to find the site for her upcoming wedding ceremony.

Both she and her fiancé are artists, painters, and although the mountains of the Mat-Su valley are a beautiful backdrop to their everyday lives (and frequently the subject of their artwork), they had something different and particular in mind for the background of their nuptials next September: a rocky beach.

We toured our favorite beaches with them, and they fell in love with one that features enormous boulders and patrolling eagles and a view of the mountains across the sea. We schemed and dreamed about flowers and gowns while we strolled together down the shoreline, taking pictures and making notes for color palettes and seating options and contingency plans.

It was wonderful to see her so happy — her eyes sparkled like the sun on the waves, and I am so excited to get to help her plan this most joyous occasion.

When my husband and I got married, Swedish meatballs were served as part of our dinner spread, and they were so delectable and memorable I can’t think of my wedding without remembering them.

My version is all beef (versus the traditional beef/pork combination), and I make my meatballs a little larger when serving a family instead of a congregation — just to save myself a little time and effort — but you can make them bite sized in the traditional style if you choose.


1 pound ground beef

¼ cup breadcrumbs (panko or unseasoned)

½ teaspoon allspice

¼ teaspoon nutmeg

½ white onion very finely chopped or pureed

¼ teaspoon garlic powder

1/8 teaspoon white pepper

½ teaspoon salt

1 large egg

Splash of olive oil

For the sauce:

½ stick butter

3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

2 cups beef bone broth

1 cup heavy cream

2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

Salt and pepper to taste

Fresh parsley for garnish


In a large mixing bowl combine your beef, allspice, nutmeg, onion, garlic powder, white pepper, salt, egg and breadcrumbs.

Use your clean hands to knead the mixture until it is smooth and homogeneous. If the mixture feels dry, add a splash of milk.

Roll into balls. I made mine about the size of golf balls, but smaller than that is traditional. For bite-sized meatballs aim for them to be about the size of a quarter.

Arrange the balls on a tray, cover with plastic, and refrigerate at least 1 hour. This step will help prevent them from breaking apart while cooking.

Brown the meatballs in a little olive oil in a large, heavy-bottomed skillet. Keep them moving and be careful to not let them flatten as they cook — spherical balls are prettier on the plate. Do not cook the meat completely, just brown the outside, because they will finish cooking in the sauce. Remove from the pan and set aside.

In the same pan, melt the butter and scrape the bottom well. Add the flour and cook, whisking constantly, until the flour has a nutty smell, about 5 minutes. This step prevents your sauce from tasting like flour.

Whisk in your beef broth and heavy cream and cook until the sauce thickens slightly. When the sauce has come to a simmer, return the meatballs to the pan.

Allow the meatballs to cook in the sauce for 20 minutes, stirring gently to keep them coated in sauce. After 20 minutes, remove the largest one and cut it open to check doneness before serving. Garnish with fresh parsley.

Tradition dictates these be served with lingonberry sauce, but we used cranberry rhubarb jam. Any tart jam will be an excellent accompaniment.

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