Swedish meatballs – kottbullar


Even folk who don’t know much about Swedish food will have heard of their meatballs. I must admit, it seems odd to emulate a recipe which is also the signature dish of the huge furniture store Ikea, but these delicious morsels of Swedish heaven, swimming in their rich creamy gravy, deserve to be shared! Every Swede has their own secret recipe, handed down through generations and this is my hybrid version. Who doesn’t love a good meatball? This recipe has them served in a cream-based sauce, which takes it to a new indulgent level. These will not fail to satisfy all the family, both child and man-child alike. Enjoy!



2 tablespoons olive oil, divided

1 onion, diced

300g pound ground beef

300g ground pork

1/2 cup Panko breadcrumbs (or use normal if do not have)

1/2 cup milk

1 egg

1/4 teaspoon ground allspice

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

1 can of lingonberries (or just use cranberry jelly)


4 tablespoons butter

4 tablespoons all-purpose flour

2 cups (500ml) good quality beef stock

100ml cream

Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

2 tablespoons fresh parsley leaves, chopped


  1. Heat one tablespoon of olive oil in a large frypan over medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring frequently, until onions become translucent – about 2-3 minutes.
  2. Soak your breadcrumbs in milk, then in a large bowl combine beef, pork, breadcrumbs, egg, allspice, nutmeg and cooked onion; season with good amount of salt and pepper.
  3. Using a wooden spoon or clean hands, stir until well combined. Roll mixture into 3-4cm meatballs, forming about 25-30 meatballs.
  4. Add remaining olive oil to pan. Add meatballs, in batches, and cook until all sides are browned – about 4-5mins. Transfer on to a paper towel.
  5. To make gravy, melt butter in a pot (or use same pan having drained the oil). Whisk in flour until bubbling – about 1min. Gradually whisk in beef stock and cook, whisking constantly, until slightly thickened – about 2-3mins. Stir in cream and Dijon mustard; season with salt and pepper, to taste.
  6. Stir in meatballs and cook, stirring occasionally, until heated through and thickened – about 6-8mins.
  7. Serve immediately, garnished with parsley, if you like, and either on a bed of fettucine, mashed potatoes or polenta, with a side of the lingonberry or cranberry jelly or jam.