Invariably at your next baby shower or tailgate you will hear someone say that the “Swedish” meatballs are in the crockpot next to the finger sandwiches. You’ll look in and see meatballs swimming in barbecue sauce. Now, they may be good meatballs. They may be tasty meatballs. But they aren’t Swedish Meatballs.
Swedish meatballs are traditionally made with ground beef and pork, and are gently seasoned, lightly browned or baked, and served with brown sour cream gravy. I cooked them tonight for the first time and tried to stay true to several authentic recipes that I researched. In Creole, soul food and general south Louisiana cooking, we tend toward aggressive flavors. Swedish meatballs call for a lighter seasoned touch and, frankly, it was a welcomed change.
I used a half pound of ground pork, a half pound of ground beef, bread crumbs, and egg, a half cup of half & half, a half of a small onion, three cloves of garlic, a bit of allspice, salt, pepper and – I couldn’t resist – a generous sprinkling of Tony Chachere’s to make the meatballs.
I made what we might call a “blond” roux here in Louisiana for the sauce: butter, flour, half & half, chicken stock. This roux does not brown like a typical etouffee or gumbo roux. Sour cream is added at the end. Of course, it is seasoned to taste.
What I liked most about the dish was the mix of pork and beef. It is more subtle than beef alone, a little “smoother”, if you will. So when you’re red-sauced out and want something different, I can definitely recommend going with this dish.