23 Dec Paleo Swedish meatballs
When developing this recipe, I asked to see my Great Grandmother’s recipe for Swedish meatballs. What my mother gave me was a recipe for meatloaf. Her explanation was: Your Great Grandmother would use the same recipe, but instead roll the meatloaf into balls and serve with a thin gravy.
I guess you could call that Swedish meatballs…?
To me, Swedish meatballs are always made with a mixture of beef and pork, with a bit of allspice and nutmeg. They are tender and soft meatballs, served with a blonde gravy and mounds of mashed potatoes.
My Great Grandmother’s recipe didn’t include any spice beyond a passing mention of black pepper. Disappointed by the perceived lack of culinary talent in my family tree, I continued to search in the stacks of cookbooks in my Mother’s house (we are a family of book hoarders) for something more “traditional”. A quaint cookbook from 1947 titled Modern Swedish Cookbook, by Anna Olsson Coombs, describes such classics as “boiled salmon” and Lutfisk. The recipe for “Swedish Meat Balls” is lacking allspice, nutmeg or any spice for that matter. It’s no surprise that the next recipe after Swedish meatballs is meatloaf, which is conspicuously matching the Swedish meatball’s list of ingredients.
So this recipe for paleo Swedish meatballs isn’t rooted in my family’s Scandinavian heritage. Instead, I’ve found my own way, adding spices, omitting bread and instead swapping in paleo-friendly ingredients. The result is a tender meatball with plenty of mellow flavour and a thick light coloured gravy.
Paleo Sweedish Meatballs
- 1 lb Ground Pork, lean
- 1 lb Ground Beef, extra lean, grass fed if possible
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 Medium onion, minced finely
- 2 Tablespoons tapioca flour
- 1 Large Egg
- 2 teaspoons coconut aminos or Tamari sauce
- 1 teaspoon Garlic powder
- 3 Tablespoons coconut milk
- 1/4 teaspoon Nutmeg, fresh ground (double if pre-ground)
- 1/2 teaspoon Allspice
- 1/2 teaspoons Ground black pepper
- 2 Tablespoons Dried parsley
- Avocado oil for frying the meatballs (or ghee)
- 2-3 Tablespoons tapioca flour for dusting the meatballs before frying
- For the Gravy:
- 1 Cup Beef stock
- 1/2 Cup Coconut milk
- 1 Tablespoon coconut aminos
- 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
- 2 Tablespoons cold water
- 2 Tablespoons tapioca flour
- In a large bowl mix together the pork, beef, and salt. Set aside.
- In a medium bowl whisk the egg, and add in the minced onion, coconut aminos, garlic powder, coconut milk, nutmeg, allspice, black pepper, and parsley. Stir to combine.
- Sprinkle the tapioca flour over the pork and beef mixture, and then add in the egg and spice mixture. Use your hands to mix everything together, it should be wet and a bit mushy, not dense and dry. Add another tablespoon of coconut milk if it still feels dense and dry.
- Using both your hands, form the meat mixture into golf-ball sized meatballs.
- Heat a frying pan on medium heat and add enough avocado oil to coat the bottom completely.
- Sprinkle 2-3 Tablespoons of tapioca flour on a plate. Roll each meatball in a bit of tapioca flour before placing it into the hot frying pan.
- Fry the meatballs in batches, being sure not to crowd the pan. Flip the meatballs every 2-3 minutes, to develop a deep brown on all sides. Total cooking time will be about 7-10 minutes depending on your stove for each batch of meatballs.
- When cooked through, drain the meatballs on a paper cloth.
- To make the gravy, bring the stock and coconut milk to a simmer in a small saucepot. Cook for 10 minutes, allowing it to reduce by a quarter or more.
- Stir in the coconut aminos, mustard, garlic powder, and apple cider vinegar.
- In a small bowl, add the cold water and then mix in the 2 Tablespoons of tapioca powder. Stir until no lumps remain.
- Pour in half of the tapioca and water mixture into the gravy, and stir. The tapioca flour should immediately thicken the gravy. Continue adding the tapioca and water mixture until you've reached your desired thickness.
- Serve the meatballs with plenty of gravy!