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51 responses to “Swedish Meatballs – Yeah, Baby! Yeah!”

  1. Sarah

    Those sound amazing! As the daughter of a hunter (who lived in Alaska for ten years) moose is probably my favorite red meat, elk coming in second. YUM! I have a freezer full of elk so may have to try these out . . . my son (almost three) loves anything in meatball form so these would be perfect!

    Thank you!


    PS – I think this is my first comment. Discovered you last week when Ruhlman linked to one of your recipes on Twitter. I feel like I’ve met a long-lost brother. You remind me of my dad, and my husband. Both hunters, gardeners, fishermen and I’m the gourmet cook of the bunch. I’m enjoying perusing your blog! Keep it up!

  2. suburbanbushwacker

    ‘the IKEA ones were better’
    WTF Hank! I’d swallow pretty much anything I’ve seen you cook up, but I wont swallow that. NO WAY. My son is mad for ikea meatballs (he loves to see his food come in a packet Grrrr) so I’ve eaten shed loads of them and really mate, they’re not all that.

  3. Stephen

    I’ve been lurking around here and on Holly’s site for awhile. Time to stick my head up. Having done all the cooking for this household for the last 30 years, and being a hunter, I love your site. In the course of culinary flights of fancy often I crash and burn. But, there are plenty of times when through sheer perserverance and dumb blind luck something clicks extraordinarily. When it does I always say “HOLY SHIT!” Usually accompanied by the further descriptive, “You could sell that.” When I read that ” Holy Crap!” of yours, I reflexisvely spit a pomegranate kernel straight into the cup of coffee sitting on my desk. Needless to say, pomegranate infused java ain’t going on the menu. Thanks for the laugh.

  4. Paula

    laughed out LOUD at Rocky and Bullwinkle, which I knew was coming when I read you were waiting to hunt squirrel before doing the moose.

  5. Peter

    Hank, love the presentation….Swedish Meatballs would make for a good cocktail party nosh too!

    Thanks for the link-luv, I wait your Venison Stifado (sounds delish).

  6. lanesvillelady

    OK – so now I am going to have to go and make Swedish Meatballs a la Hank! They sound delicious and wish I could have been there to enjoy them with you! Recently had a hankering for meatloaf so made that with pizza sauce and beef meat from a farm in ME. It tastes great! Bet it would be even better with Bullwinkle Meat! Loved Holly’s photos too. She does super work!

  7. Tina

    Absolutely loved the Rockey & Bullwinkle reference! Boris and Natasha would have loved a dinner combo of squirrel kiev with moose based borscht to start. Of course, now I’ve got to make swedish meatballs. It just so happens that I was at IKEA yesterday (no, I did not buy meatballs) and bought a jar of lingonberry preserves. On it’s own, I’m not really a fan, but made into a sauce for meatballs, it may actually be interesting. I usually use nutmeg instead of allspice, but I think I’ll give it a try; I do have to take exception to the idea of caraway seeds, though. Can’t stand them in anything, not even rye bread, so they’re out!

  8. K

    Being a Swede from Sweden, I have had a meatballs made with reindeer. The classical recipe (by late Tore Wretman) calls for 2 parts beef, 1 part veal, and 1 part pork. No spices but white pepper and salt. Fried onion, bread crumbs, cream, egg. No flour. To be fried in butter. Best served with “rårörda” (raw-stired?) lingonberries (not cooked, just stired with sugar) and cream gravy (sometimes with added black currant jelly).

    Having read all the bizarre recipes following your links, I just wanted to add one that more resembles the meatballs we eat here in Sweden, even though there is great variation here as well.

  9. K

    Correction: I have _never_ had reindeer meatballs.

  10. deana@lostpastremembered

    I have spent days trying to take pictures of meatballs… so I first must say Kudos for the great photos and then the recipe… OMG… fabulous and perfect for a winters night… my mom made them when I was a kid and I just about forgot about them… thanks for the memories, and the recipe.

  11. Holly Heyser

    Thanks re the photos, everyone! Photographing a brown-on-brown food always fills me with dread, but this assignment was a good excuse to trot out the new plateware. Have I mentioned that being Hank’s photographer has been an excellent excuse for my addiction to cute little bowls and plates?

    And yes, these were total crack. I think what I really said when I ate them, after my eyes rolled back in my head for a few minutes, was “Holy $@#$# !@#% $%& **^&%!” But that doesn’t sound as good as some cheesy old ’70s lyrics, does it?

  12. Josh

    Hank, those look great. However, I think you should have a link on the kottbuller with an audio of how to pronounce it. I was thinking either just you, saying something like, “kottbuller, dumb@$$!”, but I think getting Stephen Hawking to do the audio pronunciation would be better. Probably with the “dumb@$$” part with it, too…

  13. Nathan

    Awesome! I’ve got my Valentine’s dinner figured out. A couple questions on the recipe…I plan to use venison, I butcher my own and it’s as close to 100% lean as you can get. Do I need to add more fat, bread or anything to keep them together? Or should I sub in some ground beef? Also, maybe I missed it, but I didn’t see the sour cream in the directions. I figured it goes in with the lingon berry jam? Thanks

  14. nhbow gal

    I have to agree with Sarah that Moose is our favorite red meat. We have fond memories of unbelievably delicious tacos made with the moose my husband and a friend got a few years back. Time to enter the moose license lottery again. Wonderful, and inspiring post Hank!

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  16. K

    Well, the black currant jelly just adds something sweet to the sauce, and we wouldn’t put the lingonberries in the gravy…

    Thin slices of sweet and sour cucumber is another common addition to this dish.

  17. Dana McCauley

    The members of ABBA should be so lucky as to have such elegantly presented meatballs. Nice work!

  18. Otehlia Cassidy

    Oh, yeah. My grandma was Swedish, too, and we had these balls on rare occasion. When I make them now, they are good, but not half as good as I remember. Maybe it’s the moose that I need….

  19. Tom

    What a great post! A fantastic recipe and utterly mouth-watering photography. Please tell Holly that the photography here just gets better and better. Lighting, depth-of-field, composition; wow, she’s got it all goin’ on with that camera. And I’ve got to say, you’ve done some really fascinating stuff since you hurt your foot. Maybe we should give Elise a contract to stop by and whack your other foot (just kidding).

  20. Cecilia

    Loved the story,and I look forward to trying the meatballs–the recipe and photos looks delish. I reckon I’ll have to substitute venison (that’s what I have) for the moose, unless I can get my cousin to send moose meat to Texas from Alaska.

    The photography is, as always, gorgeous. My question is for Holly–where did you get that fabulous serving piece in which the meatballs were displayed? I LOVE it…and must have one. Thanks!!

  21. Holly Heyser

    Cecilia, the plate came from Cost Plus (now known better as “World Market,” I guess to distinguish it from Costco). I’d say 95 percent of our plates come from either Cost Plus or various stores in San Francisco’s Japantown. Japanese plates and bowls ROCK. I go to Japantown a couple times a year to exercise my credit card in the name of food photography.

    And Tom, thank you! I’m blushing :-).

  22. Heather

    Moose! Even more Swedish than usual, I reckon. Those look wonderful and I agree, bite-sized is best.

    Thanks for the link-love. It’s weird, 10-20% of all my traffic comes from people Googling Swedish meatball recipes.

  23. suburbanbushwacker

    The world is a comforting [meatball] shape once more

  24. Dawn (KitchenTravels)

    Your Rocky & Bullwinkle idea had me laughing out loud. And the recipe, photography, and food details had me drooling. I can almost taste these little meatballs already. Afternoon delight! 😉

  25. T. Michael Riddle

    STARLIGHT VOCAL BAND & ABBA tell Holly two of my faves for her description of your Swedish Meatballs!

    Best to you!

  26. Cork Graham

    Dang, Hank–Now I have to go back to Alaska to get darned moose again, because looks so incredible! I don’t think I could do what Sarah said about substituting elk, though I love both, they taste so different, and that moose meat is so much richer, and would have resided as my top of the list if I hadn’t tasted the sweet meat of antelope shot near Casper, WY, and only fed on sage. That moose meat just makes it that much richer a Swedish meatball.

    …Let’s see now , $2,500 for a float trip on a raft (cheapest/best hunt still available in AK), a flight up to Anchorage for the first leg, and another $1,000 for a flight out to King Salmon…is it worth it, to come back down and use this recipe? Yes!!! BTW I’ve only been used to the big dinosaur balls, too…the smaller ones must taste that much better with a better sauce to meat ratio.

    Oh, and that boar I shot on Sat that we turned into babi guling, ended up making some incredible burritos and an amazing off the cuff sweet Thai curry pork!


  27. we are never full

    my swedish nana (very proud of her heritage as she was always around a bunch of italians) made these all the time – obviously not w/ moose meat (although i would’ve eaten them even as a three year old). they bring back great memories.

  28. Suzanne

    yumm….these meatballs looks really good!

  29. Mfree

    These were AMAZING. I used ground lamb and bison. so. so. yummy. Thanks!

  30. Ingemar

    Swedish meatballs are ALWAYS baked in the oven not fried.

  31. JC

    As if this debate needed more Swedes pitching in, but what the heck: moose is, as you’ve noticed, fine for meatballs, but so is a bunch of different animals. These days I usually make mine out of 50% wild boar and 50% good, free range fatty pig meat, which is an exellent combo, but I´ve had them in restaurants made from Brown Bear and beaver as well (not in the same meatball). Mind you, both of these variations were more interesting then actually tasty. If it´s meat then you can probably make a decent meatball out of it. Chicken? No probs. Turkey. Great. Venison? Lovely. Aligator? Probably, but hold the lingonberries on that one.

    As for the lingonberry debate: anything that is sweet and tart works pretty well. I’ve substituted lingonberries with Cumberland sauce, black/red currant jelly at times, just out of curiosity. It all works as long as the sauce is rich and creamy. I’m thinking gooseberry jelly could be an interesting variation, if the sauce is adapted accordingly.
    Thyme adds some lovely flavour to the sauce, as do most wild mushrooms, I tend to use black trumpet mushroom or funnel chanterelles. Brilliant combo.

    If you need to bake them in the oven they’re too big.

    If you don’t mind going overboard with big, big flavours and take it easy on the jelly/lingonberries, a truffle-infused potato mash/purée is to die for with swedish meatballs.

    Butter all the way.

    Sweden has tons of great bands: Abba is not the be-all and end-all of the music scene (admittedly my kids love them, but they love Michael Jackson as well…), I recomend Katatonia for long winter nights, of which we’ve had quite a few this year.

    Josh: Pronunciation. I wish I could remember the phonetic alfabet they taught us in school but here goes: the K is soft; Kott is pronunced kind of like “Chet” (the name) but with instead of the e use a high, open mouth U-sound. As for “bullar” it´s not too dissimillar to how you would pronounce it, but you need to tense the lips a bit, and pronounce everything higher in the mouth, think british upper class, and you should be there.
    — JC

  32. Restaurant Supply Guy

    These look awesome. I think I am going to try something similar with some good old Pennsylvania white-tail deer meat. New game recipes are exciting!

  33. Hank Shaw, Hunter Angler Gardener Cook: Food Blogger Spotlight

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  34. Nathan

    Hey Hank, Made the meatballs for Christmas…Awesome! Thanks for the recipe. Substituted venison for moose and Ikea’s lingon berry jam. The jam was pretty blah, but everything else was great. If you happen to be up in Oregon in early July, there are red huckleberries that grow in the coast range which are very similar to the lingon berry and make fabulous jam. Also, I’m not real familiar with the Sierra’s up your way, but down here on the Stanislaus NF, lion’s mane were blooming the 2nd week of December the last two years. I’m out doing deer counts then and have been able to harvest a few. The lion’s mane I’ve found have all been on living black oaks, growing out of scars in the 2500-4000′ elevation range.

  35. Katie Smith

    Thanks for sharing the recipe. Been looking for a recipe of this Swedish meatballs because my husband has been requesting me to cook this for him. I’ll be surprising him with this meatballs during our first anniversary. Wish me luck!

  36. stuffed elk tenderloin and visions of meatballs dancing in my head « Culinaria Eugenius

    […] hamburger.  I’m planning to use Hunter Angler Gardener Cook Hank Shaw’s swoonworthy moose meatball recipe, maybe for an upcoming very special birthday party?  (Yes, […]

  37. our big fat alpine birthday bbq « Culinaria Eugenius

    […] using wild elk and smoked trout captured and prepped by my brother-in-law in Montana. I adapted Hank Shaw’s moose meatball recipe for a slighly more saucy and less photo-perfect […]

  38. DiggingDogFarm

    In my case, it’s Swedish meatballs with venison.
    There’s always, it seems, a very limited amount of available wild venison and a few favorite ways to prepare it…and this is one of them.
    I love how the assertive flavor of the venison shines through.

  39. Timbo

    I’ll be doing this on the weekend with moose … does anyone know where I can get a pound of pork fat? Is there a substitute?

    Thanks! Looks amazing.

  40. Carl the Swede

    I grew up on moose meatballs. If you want to add a dimension to the taste, mix some dried chantarelles or porcini with the meat. Very nice

  41. Nina Marie

    I work with your dad, who has been boasting his sons meatballs to everyone. I am looking forward to giving these a try. My whole family likes to hunt, except me, I’d rather cook. Looking forward to going through the book.
    Nice set up on the site, you have some great pics.


  42. Matt Ortiz

    Can’t wait to try this recipe!

  43. Ron

    I just had two fabulous Svenska Kottbullar meals in Stockholm this week. Both were made with venison (Reindeer?). According to the respective menus, the meatballs of both meals were “traditional” style and served with soft potatoes (not pasta noodles), copious lingonberry sauce on the side and of course, a rich, light, brown gravy overall. I’ve been hunting the web for a recipe and see plenty that have beef, veal, lamb- even bison! But no venison so far. I loved the flavors of the venison meatballs.

    I know my wife and I can make these here!

  44. Hank Shaw, Hunter Angler Gardener Cook: Food Blogger Spotlight

    […] Swedish Meatballs – Yeah, Baby! Yeah! […]

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    […] from Golden Bear Monarchs Elk Farm. Hank includes a recipe for Swedish Moose Meatballs in the book (also on his blog), easily adapted to Elk meat.  In place of the high-bush cranberry jelly, I utilized the Bacon […]

  46. Brian

    Sounds like an “Afternoon Delight”!

  47. Nicky

    I was given some ground moose meat by my brother. I decided to try this recipe but I couldn’t get ground fat, so I substituted really fatty fresh ground pork. I also didn’t add the loganberry as we are a savory bunch. Worked out wonderful! So tasty and tender that I have been asked to make it again for company. It was so good that my husband was upset that I gave some to my brother. lol Need to double up this time! Thanks for this recipe.

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