Helga’s Meatballs by Top Chef Marcus Samuelsson

October 3, 2021

“Swedish export, top chef Marcus Samuelsson, credits his grandmother Helga with teaching him how to cook, notably this version of traditional Swedish meatballs.




For the meatballs:

½ cup dry breadcrumbs

¼ cup heavy cream

2 tablespoons olive oil 

1 medium red onion, finely chopped

½ pound ground chuck or sirloin

½ pound ground veal

½ pound ground pork

2 tablespoons honey

1 large egg

3 tablespoons unsalted butter

kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper

Combine the breadcrumbs and heavy cream in a small bowl; stir with a fork until all the crumbs are moistened. Set aside. Heat the oil in a small skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté for about 5 minutes, until softened. Remove from the heat. 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. 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 golf balls, placing them on a plate lightly moistened with water. You should have about 24 meatballs. 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 discard all but 1 tablespoon of fat from the skillet.

For the sauce:

1 cup chicken stock

½ cup heavy cream

¼ cup lingonberry preserves

2 tablespoons pickle juice

kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper

Return the meatball 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 5 minutes, until the sauce thickens slightly and the meatballs are heated through.

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