These scratch-made Norwegian Meatballs are tender and delicious. Serve with boiled potatoes, seasonal vegetables, and a dollop of lingonberry jam for a Norwegian-inspired dinner at home. This flavorful dish is ready in just 30-minutes!
20ozground beef [ 1+1/4 pounds] or blend of beef, pork, and/or veal (meatloaf blend works well). See Recipe Notes.
3tbspcornstarchor potato starch. See Recipe Notes.
2/3cupHeavy Whipping CreamSee Recipe Notes.
1/4cupCanola Oilfor frying meatballs. See recipe notes.
For the Gravy
1stickbutter[1/2 cup] See Recipe Notes
4cupsbeef cooking stock, beef broth, or waterSee Recipe Notes.
2tspBeef BaseSee Recipe Notes.
1/4cupHeavy Whipping Cream
1tspSaltmore or less to taste
1/2ground peppermore or less to taste
1/2tspground nutmegmore or less to taste
1/2allspicemore or less to taste
Lingonberry jam or Red Currant jellyOPTIONAL, for serving along side
2springsfresh thyme or minced parsleyfresh, for garnish
Add all the meatball ingredients except the meat and oil into a large mixing bowl and whisk to combine.
Next, break up and add the meat into the cream mixture and mix well; about one to two minutes. You will notice the mixture combine together into a large ball.
Divide the meat into 8 to 10 large meatballs. Forming into a ball and then flatten slightly on the top and bottom, forming almost a patty.
Heat the oil in a large Teflon or Cast-iron skillet over medium to medium-high heat and brown the meatballs well on both sides, about 3 minutes per side. If you notice the meatballs becoming too crusty, turn down the heat to medium or medium-low. [This is largely dependent upon your stove. My gas stove runs hot.]
Transfer cooked patties to a plate and prepare the gravy. Start by draining the excess oil from the pan reserving any browned bits in the pan to help flavor the gravy.
Next, add the butter and melt. Add the flour to the butter and whisk to combine. Cook the butter-flour mixture [called a roux] over medium-low heat, stirring often. You will cook the roux until you reach your desired color, typically something like milk chocolate or coffee with cream.
Slowly pour in the beef stock, stirring to combine. Next add the beef base, bouillon, or kitchen bouquet, salt, and ground black pepper to taste. If using, add in the nutmeg and allspice to mirror the flavors in the meatballs themselves. Stir in the cream.
Add the meatballs into the sauce and gently simmer. Turn the meatballs over to coat in sauce.
Serve over mashed potatoes, boiled potatoes, buttered egg noodles, or German Spatzle and a dollop of lingonberry jam.
Garnish with fresh thyme or freshly minced parsley before serving.
Ground beef - I use 80% lean minced beef. Lean grades of beef produce a dryer meatball, and here fat equals flavor and adds to the overall juiciness of the meatballs. While an all-beef mixture is traditional, you can use any blend of ground meat you prefer. A meatloaf blend of beef, pork, and veal is fabulous in this recipe, too.
Ground nutmeg - This warm spice is a beautiful background note for the rich meat.
Ground ginger - This warming spice cuts through the fatty meat and refreshes the palate.
Allspice - This is a secret ingredient my Norweigan friend alerted me of when she gave me this recipe many years ago. If you did not have allspice, you could substitute an equal amount of cinnamon.
Cornstarch + flour - this combination is used instead of breadcrumbs in a traditional Norwegian meatball to bind and help the meatball hold its shape as it cooks. Potato starch is more conventional here but not as easy to find at the store. Potato Starch is an ingredient I usually purchase at my local Asian or Indian grocery store.
Cream or Milk - I use the cream since I'm already using it in the sauce, but whole milk will also do here. The meatballs will not be as rich using milk, so there is a trade-off in flavor.
Oil for Frying - Any inexpensive oil will do. I prefer vegetable or canola oil. There is no need to spend extra money on expensive oil for frying.
It is important to use full-fat cream or milk in the gravy recipe. Keep the heat low (or off) when you add the milk or cream; do it right at the end of cooking as it does not need to come to a boil. It will also be less likely to curdle if it's not too cold, so instead of using it straight from the refrigerator, let the cream come up to room temperature.The fat content in dairy affects how dairy products react when heated. There's nothing more disappointing than working so hard to pull a special meal together and ending with a broken sauce. It's so disheartening.I prefer cast-iron for the crust it imparts on the meatballs, but a Teflon coated skillet (shown in the photos) will work well here too. I find a stainless steel skillet a little harder to work with especially in regards to these tender meatballs breaking apart if you try to turn them too soon.