Swedish Meatballs (Paleo, Primal, AIP, Whole30)
I had such terrific Swedish Meatballs last week (at Travail’s pop-up Uffda, lasting just a few more weeks, you should go!) that I was inspired to revisit this recipe, which I first published several years ago. I decided to update the meatballs to be Paleo, AIP, and Whole30-compliant so everyone can enjoy them!
It was a verrrrry delicious week for me. I’m feeling quite lucky.
On Thursday night, I attended an EatWith dinner at host Mohamed Kotb’s home. Stephanie March of Minneapolis/St Paul Magazine wrote about the organization here. I think of it as an Airbnb sort of experience – EatWith is an international organization, where you can sign up to dine in someone’s home in cities all over the world.
There are a few hosts in the Twin Cities and the dinner I attended on Thursday was such a WOW, you guys. Absolutely incredible experience.
Mo’s home is warm and inviting, he’s a charming and gracious host, I had a blast meeting the other guests, and the food was a beautiful combination of Egyptian and Persian delights. We began with a gorgeous spread of dips enjoyed in front of the fire. Then at the table, lentil soup with lemon and cumin; Egyptian rice-stuffed zucchini and eggplant; chicken braised with pomegranate, walnuts, and endive; butternut squash roasted with ras hanout, brown sugar, rosemary, and finished with chartreuse liqueur; salad of cucumber, tomato, and onion; and ice cream for dessert.
Like I said, WOW. Absolutely one of the best meals I’ve had in quite a long time. If you’re looking for an exciting and new dining experience, book it! (Art by Mo’s incredibly talented son.)
So back to the meatballs. Y’all already know what a fan of meatballs I am. They’re one of my top 5 favorite batch cook items, so make a big batch and freeze them. They’re so easy to pull from the freezer to rewarm a few at a time.
This recipe takes the balls one step further, with a signature beefy pan sauce. Mashed potatoes are an obvious and incredibly delicious accompaniment. You could low-carb it with cauliflower mash or sautéed greens and that would not be a bad idea at all. In fact: yum. I’ll leave the addition of lingonberry jam up to you.
Before I leave you with the recipe, I posted this Facebook Live video last week for you – us – late bloomers! (See it on YouTube here.)
I absolutely consider myself a late bloomer and I personally find it incredibly exciting. I turned 53 last week and I feel better in my skin – and more excited about my career and life – than I ever have. I am FOR SURE a younger person than I was at 43 years old, and I credit being diagnosed with an autoimmune disease for putting my health as my top priority.
Eating nutrient-dense food, avoiding sugar and processed food, getting good sleep, working out, and bonus activities like saunas (I own this portable sauna and love it) and even cold water immersion (in a frozen Minneapolis lake) are more important to me than ever before. I consider facing these small – but mighty – discomforts every day a path 1) to keeping and improving my health (and vibrancy!), of course, but also 2) to exciting new chapters and people in my life.
It took me a long time to fully absorb that everything – everything – I want my life to be is on the other side of facing down fear and discomfort. Better late(ish) than never, right? Yes indeed. Cheers to a 2020 full of challenges to conquer.
And with that, I leave you with the meatball recipe. These are neither scary nor uncomfortable – think of them as a reward for hard work well done, ha. Enjoy!
Swedish Meatballs (Paleo, Primal, AIP, Whole30)
Serves 4 as a main course, or makes 30 1-inch meatballs
Note: I give the option of using ghee and cream for the Primal or Paleo folks who can have some dairy. For Dairy-free/AIP/Whole30, follow the avocado oil and coconut milk option. If you batch cook the meatballs to freeze, freeze them without gravy.
4 tablespoons ghee (or avocado oil), divided
1/2 cup minced onion
3/4 pound ground beef
3/4 pound ground pork
3 tablespoons tapioca starch, divided
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/8 teaspoon ground allspice (more to taste)
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
3 cups beef broth (rich chicken broth works well too)
1/4 cup heavy cream (substitute full-fat coconut milk for Dairy-free/AIP/Whole30)
Preheat oven to 200 degrees F.
In a 12-inch saute pan over medium heat, add 1 tablespoon of the ghee (or avocado oil). Add the onion and a pinch of salt and saute until the onions are soft. Remove from the heat and set aside.
In a large bowl, combine the ground beef, pork, 1 1/2 tablespoons of tapioca starch, 1 teaspoon of sea salt, black pepper, allspice, nutmeg, and onions. Using your hands, combine until mixture is quite uniform and smooth.
Using a small ice cream scoop, gently form mixture into 1-inch meatballs (not larger).
Heat the remaining ghee (or oil) in the saute pan over medium-low heat. Add the meatballs and saute until golden brown on all sides, about 7 to 10 minutes. Remove the meatballs to an ovenproof dish using a slotted spoon and place in the warmed oven.
Once all of the meatballs are cooked, decrease the heat to low and add the remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons of tapioca starch to the pan. Whisk for 1 to 2 minutes. Gradually add the beef stock and whisk until sauce begins to thicken. Add the cream and heat until thickened (do not boil for a long time – the starch will lose its thickening power). Remove the meatballs from the oven, cover with the gravy and serve.