Papaw’s Swedish Meatballs
When I was a teenager, my Dad started doing a lot of cooking on the weekends. I don’t know if he was just giving my Mom a break. Or if he simply had more time to do the simple things in life. I mostly remember my Dad working the Night Shift and sleeping during the day. Of course his weekends were usually reserved for Golf. Until the late fall and winter.
One of those winter weekend meals was what he called Swedish Meatballs. I wrote this recipe down one Saturday when I was helping to make dinner. Actually he told me to come make the meatballs, after he tossed everything into a big mixing bowl. Pretty sure he didn’t need the help. He just wanted someone else to get their hands into mixing and kneading the meat together with the eggs. Come on, what kid didn’t like playing in the mud and squishing the goop between your fingers. Cooking like this is the same thing. You just get to say you’re cooking, instead of playing in the goop.
20 minutes preparation,
30+ minutes cooking time
- Pasta – You can use any pasta you like. And how much is also up to you. A rule of thumb, use 2 cups uncooked noodles to start. You can always add more later. Traditionally the noodles used in this dish are flat and wide. Such as Ricciutelle, Farfalle or Mafalda. You can also use extra wide egg noodles. I prefer Farfalle (bow tie noodles).
- 2 lb Bison or hamburger (we prefer Bison burger)
- 1 cup Italian bread crumbs
- 1⁄3 cup parsley
- ¼ cup finely chopped onion
- 1⁄3 cup ketchup
- 2 eggs
- 2 tblspn butter
- ¼ cup chopped onion
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 2 cups beef broth
- 1 cup whole milk
- 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
- 2 tblspn chopped parsley optional
- ¼ tspn black pepper
- No salt – there should be enough salt in the broth and Worcestershire sauce.
There are 3 parts to this recipe, the noodles, the meatballs and the sauce.
- Fill a medium pot with warm water. Add Noodles and 1 teaspoon of butter. Cook until the noodles are tender.
You can cook the meatballs in a large skillet on the stove. Or on a cookie sheet in the oven. If you prefer this method:
- Pre-heat oven 375° F
- In a large mixing bowl, combine all the meatball ingredients listed above for the meatballs.
- Knead the mixture together until all the ingredients are fully mixed into the meat.
- Using your hands, mold the meat into 2 inch diameter balls.
- Cook the meatballs
- In the Oven:
Place the meatballs, about 1 inch apart, on a cookie sheet and place them in the oven for 20 minutes until brown.
- On the Stove:
Place the meatballs, about 1 inch apart, in a large skillet over medium heat. Turn the balls about every 10 minutes to ensure the meat is cooked all the way through.
- In the Oven:
- If you cooked the meatballs in a skillet, remove them when they’re done and set them aside in bowl.
- In this same skillet, melt butter and saute the onion until tender.
- Add the flour and mix it in thoroughly with the onion and remaining melted butter.
- Add the milk and stir it into the flour mix. Then stir in the beef broth.
- Add the remaining ingredients and stir. Fold the sauce in on itself for about 2 to 3 minutes. Then bring to a boil. Stirring the mix about every 5 to 10 minutes. This should thicken the sauce into a gravy like consistency.
- Drain the noodles and place them in a large pasta serving bowl.
- Place the meatballs on top of the noodles.
- Cover the meatballs and noodles with the sauce.
- You can garnish the top of the dish with a few sprinkles of parsley.
- Add vegetables –
- You can add any type of vegetables to the sauce. Try adding broccoli or mushrooms. Or maybe even some cubed tomatoes.
- You can trade out the meatballs with stead, cut into 1 inch cubes.
- You can also trade out the meatballs with ham, cut into 1 inch cubes, and trade out the beef broth with ham broth, or ham base.
- Serve Hot
- Serve with warm bread slices. We use Italian bread. But any bread will do. Consider a french or sourdough load as well.
- Serve with a side of your favorite veggies, or a salad.