I’m a fan of many, many world cuisines, and I’m lucky to have the opportunity to explore the foods and recipes of other cultures as a part of my job. Over many years, I’ve tried and tasted food from Central and South America, Southeast Asia, Europe and the Middle East, among other places. Along the way, I’ve discovered favorites and techniques that have changed the way I shop, eat and cook at home.
Surprisingly, a type of cuisine I haven’t spent a lot of time studying is Scandinavian, even though my husband is 50 percent Swedish and 25 percent Norwegian. Foods like lutefisk, rye bread and kringla show up at family gatherings at holiday time, but I’ve never really dug into them at home.
This season, I decided to rectify my oversight and developed some Scandi (or at least Scandi-inspired) recipes to share with my kids and my husband’s family. My 100 percent Swedish mother-in-law taught me how to make kringla and was thrilled to share both her childhood food memories and her opinions on my first ever attempt to make lefse (I know, mom, it’s Norwegian, not Swedish!). I plan to serve Swedish Meatballs for Christmas, with sweet and sour cabbage, hasselback potatoes and pepparkakor, skipping lutefisk in favor of lingonberries. Happy (hygge) holidays to all!
- ⅔ cup plain breadcrumbs
- ½ tsp. kosher salt, plus more for seasoning the sauce
- ½ tsp. garlic powder
- ¼ tsp. freshly ground Kowalski’s black peppercorns, plus more for seasoning the sauce
- ½ tsp. ground allspice, divided
- ½ tsp. ground nutmeg, divided
- ¾ cup milk
- 1 lb. Kowalski’s certified humane 93 percent lean ground beef
- ½ lb. Kowalski’s naturally raised ground pork
- 1 egg
- ¼ cup finely chopped onion
- 1 Tbsp. finely chopped parsley, plus more for garnish, if desired
- Kowalski’s extra virgin olive oil cooking spray
- 4 Tbsp. (½ stick) Kowalski’s unsalted butter
- 3 Tbsp. flour
- 2 cups beef broth
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tsp. Dijon mustard
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together breadcrumbs, salt, garlic powder, pepper, ½ the allspice and ½ the nutmeg. Stir in milk; let stand for 10 minutes. Add meat, egg, onion and parsley to the bowl; using your hands, thoroughly mix until well blended (do not overmix). Form 20–22 1 ¾- to 2-inch balls, using slightly wet hands; arrange on parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Spray meatballs with cooking spray; bake in preheated oven until done (about 25 minutes). Set aside; keep warm. In a large skillet, melt butter over medium heat; whisk in flour until smooth. Cook, and stir for 1 minute; slowly whisk in broth and cream. Stir in Worcestershire sauce, mustard and remaining allspice and nutmeg. Reduce heat to medium-low; simmer until sauce starts to thicken. Season sauce with salt and pepper to taste; add cooked meatballs to the skillet, Cook until hot (1–2 minutes).
Rachael Perron is the culinary and brand director for Kowalski’s Markets, where she specializes in product development and selection, culinary education and communications. Find more at kowalskis.com.