Marcus Samuelsson's Swedish Meatballs

Jan 20, 2012 12:01 pm

Make the Red Rooster Harlem favorite right at home

marcus samuelsson's swedish meatball recipe
Photo: Mahir Hossein
Grandma Helga's Swedish meatballs are Food Republic co-founder Marcus Samuelsson's ultimate comfort food.

My grandmother Helga was the one who taught me how to cook  — traditional Swedish meatballs before anything else. The meatballs I got for school lunch were always perfectly shaped and just the right size, but never tasted as good as her lumpy, misshapen ones. I serve them at Red Rooster, where they're the most popular dish on the menu. I've cooked all my life, but my meatballs never compared to the ones my grandmother used to make for us.

Servings: 4 servings


For the meatballs
1/2 cup fine dry breadcrumbs
1/4 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium red onion, finely chopped
1/3 pound ground chuck or sirloin
1/2 pound ground veal
1/2 pound ground pork
2 tablespoons honey
1 large egg
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
For the sauce
1 cup chicken stock
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup lingonberry preserves
2 tablespoons pickle juice
To garnish
lingonberry preserves
quick pickled cucumbers
  1. Combine the breadcrumbs and heavy cream in a small bowl, stirring with a fork until all the crumbs are moistened. Set aside.
  2. Heat the oil in a small skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté for about five minutes, until softened. Remove from heat.
  3. In a large bowl, combine the ground beef, veal, pork, onion, honey and egg, and mix well with your hands. Season with salt and pepper to taste. 
  4. Add the breadcrumb-cream mixture and mix well. With wet hands (to keep the mixture from sticking), shape the mixture into meatballs the size of a golf ball, placing them on a plate lightly moistened with water. You should have about 24 meatballs. 
  5. Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the meatballs, in batches if necessary, and cook, turning frequently, for about 7 minutes until browned on all sides and cooked through. Transfer the meatballs to a plate and drain off all but 1 tablespoon of fat from the skillet. 
  6. Return the skillet to the heat, whisk in the stock, cream, preserves and pickle juice, and bring to a simmer. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Add the meatballs to the sauce, reduce the heat to medium and simmer for about five minutes, until the sauce thickens slightly and the meatballs are heated through.  

Serve hot with mashed potatoes and quick-pickled cucumbers

Level of Difficulty: 
Prep Time: 
20 minutes
Cooking Time: 
25 minutes
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