Swedish Meatballs for Diana Vreeland

swedish meatballs with gravy

When Barney’s Creative Ambassador at Large, Simon Doonan, came on The New Potato, he told us about Diana Vreeland’s penchant for Swedish meatballs. Naturally, we’ve been craving them ever since. That’s why we called upon fashion-forward chef Marcus Samuelsson to make us the ultimate Swedish meatball recipe. Enjoy the formula below, and Samuelsson’s thoughts on couture’s icon Diana Vreeland…

“It’s no wonder a classic fashion icon like Diana Vreeland would love a classic dish like Swedish Meatballs. No one thing defines them. Although she was successful as an editor for American fashion magazines, her European upbringing provided her with a colorful and dimensional style. The same thing can be said about a plate of Swedish Meatballs: The mashed potatoes, lingonberry jam and pickled cucumbers create an unexpected dimension to the humble meatball.”  – Marcus Sameulsson, chef/owner Red Rooster Harlem and The New York Times best-selling author of Yes, Chef 

Helga’s Meatballs

Serves 4 to 6

For the Meatballs:

1/2 cup dry breadcrumbs

1/4 cup heavy cream

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 medium red onion, finely chopped

1/2 pound ground chuck or sirloin

1/2 pound ground veal

1/2 pound ground pork

2 tablespoons honey

1 large egg

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

3 tablespoons unsalted butter

For the sauce:

1 cup chicken stock

1/2 cup heavy cream

1/4 cup lingonberry preserves (see below)

2 tablespoons pickle juice (see below)

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1. Prepare the meatballs: Combine the breadcrumbs and heavy cream in a small bowl, stir in 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 5 minutes, until softened. Remove from the 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.  Add the bread crumb-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.

4. 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 cook through. Transfer the meatballs to a plate, and discard all but 1 tablespoon of fat from the skillet.

5. Prepare the sauce: 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 5 minutes, until the sauce thickens slightly and the meatballs are heated through. Top with pickled cucumbers.

*Photo by Mahir Hossein