The New Nordic
4 very generously or with leftovers
Simon Bajada

What makes Swedish and Danish meatballs different from Italian ones? Well, for a start they are not swimming in a rich tomato ragu; it is the cream-soaked breadcrumbs and hint of allspice that I think really sets them apart. Making these meatballs from half beef and half pork mince produces a lovely rich combination of flavours, but you can make them from all beef mince, if you prefer. I also recommend using a blender to make the mince as fine as you can. Make double, as they freeze well.


Quantity Ingredient
lingonberry jam, to serve
Light pickling solution, made using cucumber, to serve

Mashed potatoes

Quantity Ingredient
800g potatoes, peeled
100ml full-cream milk
100ml pouring cream
25g salted butter


Quantity Ingredient
50g dry breadcrumbs
2 pinches ground allspice
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon white pepper
200ml full-cream milk
2 small onions, peeled
500g minced beef
500g minced pork
2 eggs, whisked
1-2 tablespoons rapeseed oil
1-2 tablespoons salted butter

Brown sauce

Quantity Ingredient
600ml beef stock
2 tablespoons plain flour
2-3 tablespoons salted butter
1 tablespoon orange juice


  1. For the mashed potatoes, boil the potatoes in a large saucepan of salted water for 12–15 minutes, until soft. Drain well, and allow to cool and dry out.
  2. Heat the milk, cream and butter for the potatoes in a large saucepan. For best results, put the potatoes through a ricer, or use a masher. Mix them into the buttery mixture using a wooden spoon. Season to taste, then set aside.
  3. For the meatballs, combine the breadcrumbs, allspice, salt and white pepper in a large bowl. Mix in the milk to form a smooth paste then let stand for 10 minutes. If the mixture is still quite dry, add a little more milk.
  4. Grate the onion extremely finely or purée it in a blender.
  5. Line a baking tray with baking paper. Use your hands to knead together the minced meats, onion, eggs and the breadcrumb paste until well combined, or mix together in a food processor. With clean, wet hands form the mixture into meatballs, about 2.5–3 cm wide. Place on the lined baking tray.
  6. For the sauce, bring the stock to a boil. Sprinkle the flour into a dry saucepan over a medium heat. Using a wooden spatula, stir the flour for a few minutes, until it turns golden brown. Be careful not to burn it, or you will have to start again. Quickly stir in the butter until the flour is fully incorporated; you may need extra butter. Immediately pour in the hot stock, a little at a time, stirring to ensure the mixture is smooth. Strain through a sieve if there are any lumps. Wipe the pan clean, return the gravy and continue cooking over a medium heat, stirring occasionally, until it thickens. Add a little more stock (or water) if it is too thick. Stir in the orange juice, check the seasoning and set aside.
  7. Preheat the oven to 140°C. Heat the oil and butter in a cast-iron or heavy-based pan over a medium heat until the butter foams. In batches, cook the meatballs for 10 minutes, until browned on all sides. Keep them warm in the oven while you cook the rest, using more oil and butter as necessary.
  8. Reheat the gravy, whisking to smooth it out. Gently reheat the mash. Serve the meatballs and mash ‘swimming’ in gravy with a dollop of lingonberry jam and some lightly pickled cucumber.
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