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Kitchen Mailbox Countdown to Dinner Dining
Kitchen Mailbox: A multitude of Swedish meatballs can fill the buffet or dinner table

Thursday, January 18, 2001

By Arlene Burnett, Post-Gazette Staff Writer

When we mentioned to a few co-workers that Kitchen Mailbox was featuring Swedish meatballs, we received a universal comment: "Swedish Meatballs? I haven't had Swedish Meatballs for years." Swedish Meatballs used to be and probably still are a favorite buffet dish, although they can be served as a main course.

  Cooking Term
of the Week

Clarified butter --
Also known as drawn butter, it is unsalted butter that's slowly melted, evaporating the water. The milk solids separate (sinking to the bottom of the pan) from the golden liquid. Any foam is skimmed off the top, and the clarified butter is poured or skimmed off the residue remaining.


Today we have four versions of Swedish Meatballs, all very different, but all delicious.

All four recipes call for bread crumbs and a liquid that's either milk, cream, water or broth. The first recipe calls for a cream cheese gravy. It's a rich dish but tasty. We suggest having the cream cheese at room temperature. In the next recipe, the meatballs are smothered in a mushroom soup gravy -- great for spooning over egg noodles. The third recipe, Kottbullar, is from a Scandinavian cookbook (guess you can't get more authentic than that). The gravy is made with either cream or beef stock. We chose beef stock, which gave us a thick, stew-like brown gravy. Our final recipe is probably the version most of us are familiar with, because it has the addition of sour cream. It's another rich but delicious sauce.

If you're serving any of these dishes as an appetizer, make the meatballs small. Swedish meatballs as a main dish can be served over egg noodles or with mashed potatoes.

Antonina Bostjanick of Polish Hill requested a recipe for Swedish Meatballs. Here are two from Betty Rakoczy of Bridgeville.

Swedish Meatballs

1 pound ground beef
1 egg, beaten
1/2 cup bread crumbs
2 tablespoons chopped onion
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoon parsley
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 3-ounce packages cream cheese
3/4 cup milk
1/2 cup water
1/8 teaspoon thyme

Combine beef, egg, bread crumbs, onion, salt, parsley and nutmeg; mix well. Form mixture into balls. In large skillet, brown meatballs in oil. Remove meatballs from skillet; drain drippings, reserving two tablespoons. Add remaining ingredients; stir until smooth. Return meatballs to skillet. Serve over egg noodles.

Swedish Meatballs

1 pound ground beef
3/4 cup bread crumbs
1 egg
1 tablespoon parsley flakes
Salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese, optional

Combine all ingredients and form in balls. Fry the meatballs in a large skillet or bake in a 350-degree oven for about 15-20 minutes or until done. Transfer the meatballs to a casserole dish and add:

1 can mushroom soup
1/2 cup milk
1 small can mushrooms

Place casserole in 350-degree oven for about 15 minutes.

Serve over noodles.

Suzanne Kemper of Murrysville found this recipe in a Scandinavian cookbook.

Swedish Meatballs

1 pound ground beef
1/4 pound ground pork
1/2 cup fine bread crumbs
1 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
1 egg
2 tablespoons finely chopped onion
2 tablespoons margarine or butter

1 tablespoon cornstarch
2 tablespoons cold water
1 cup of half-and-half or beef stock (we used beef stock)

Combine meatball ingredients and shape into 8 large or 40 small balls. Heat margarine in large skillet over moderate heat and brown meatballs on all sides. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer about 15 minutes for large, 8 minutes for small. Remove meatballs and pour off fat. Add half-and-half or beef stock to skillet. Blend cornstarch and water, add to skillet and stir over moderate heat until mixture comes to a boil. Season with salt and pepper as desired. Serve meatballs with gravy.

Pearl Kress of McCandless sent us a version of Swedish Meatballs.

Swedish Meatballs

1 pound ground beef
1/2 pound ground pork
1/2 cup minced onion
3/4 cup bread crumbs
1 tablespoon minced parsley
2 teaspoons salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 egg
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup flour
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
2 cups water
3/4 cups sour cream

Mix first 10 ingredients. Refrigerate 2 hours. Take rounded tablespoons of mixture and form into balls. Place the oil in large skillet add meatballs and brown. Remove meatballs; keep warm. To the skillet add the flour, paprika, salt and pepper. Cook over low heat, stirring until mixture is smooth (we used a wire whisk) and bubbly. Remove from heat; stir in water. Return skillet and heat to boiling, stirring constantly for 1 minute. Reduce heat and gradually stir in sour cream; mix until smooth. Add meatballs; heat through. Makes 6 to 8 servings

Note: We reduced the oil to 2 tablespoons.


Here's a request from Pearl Kress of McCandless: "Does anyone have a recipe for a garlic biscuit like they serve at Red Lobster? They are so good, but so far all the ones I've tried don't even come close."

If you want to answer a recipe request from a reader or are looking for a recipe yourself, please write to Kitchen Mailbox, c/o Arlene Burnett, 34 Blvd. of the Allies, Pittsburgh 15222, or e-mail to aburnett@post-gazette.com. Please include a name, neighborhood and a daytime phone number on all correspondence. All recipes are kitchen-tested by the Post-Gazette.

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