Venison-Swedish Meatballs

What is there to say about the Swedish meatball? I’m convinced its a highly misunderstood treat. A delicacy if you will. So your thinking how is that possible? WHAT!??? Really??? Well, upon googling “Swedish meatballs” I was in utter shock and disbelief to find out that most Americans and typically most people across the globe compare the recipe solely on the mass produced preservative packed mystery meatballs from IKEA. While I’m guilty of eating them there on occasion, there is truly nothing comparable to home made. Often mistreated and placed in a chafing dish somewhere to be forgotten these little delights are great for kids and grownups alike. I typically make them differently each time based on whatever products I have easily accessible. I almost never use one type of ground meat, I think the difference in flavor and texture really brings something to the table. (literally). For instance, sometimes (like this one) I used venison meat and bison, other times I use ground veal, beef  or pork. Sometimes I use a basic brown gravy, other times I make them slightly sweet, spicy and creamy as pictured here. I always try and stay true to the old fashioned somewhat vintage concept but never so far that they come out bland, dense and boring.

Swedish Meatballs:

  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 egg
  • 2 lbs of ground meat
  • 1/2 of a medium sized onion, grated
  • 1/2 cup peeled and cooked potato (mashed fine, or put through a ricer)
  • 1/2 teaspoon each:
  • salt, garlic powder, allspice
  • 1 teaspoon fresh cracked pepper
  • Fresh grated nutmeg
  • 2 slices of bread
  • A handful of bread crumbs if necessary.

To prepare the meatballs tear up your bread and combine well with 1 egg and the milk, allow it to rest for 10 minutes or so before you incorporate it with your meat mixture. In a large bowl or stand mixer bowl combine the meat, onion potato, salt, pepper, garlic powder, allspice and nutmeg. Mix with a spoon, by hand or with the mixer for a minute or two. I do it this way so that it really thoroughly combines the ingredients as well as mixes up the combination of meats. Once it seems mostly combined add the bread, milk and egg mixture. Mix until it appears to be an even mixture. Add any additional bread crumbs as needed. It should hold together well but still be soft and quite moist. I allow my meat mixture to rest a few  hours before I form them into balls and cook them. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Line a sheet pan with aluminum foil and spray lightly. Form approximately 1 ounce balls and smooth them out. Place them one by one onto the sheet pan. Once you’ve formed all of your meat bake for 20-25 minutes.


  • 3 tablespoonsbutter
  • 3 tablespoons flour (or 1 1/2 tablespoons corn starch)
  • 1 cup beef stock
  • 1 cup milk
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon allspice
  • *fresh grated nutmeg

-Optional* 1 tablespoon jam, I often use a home made cranberry jam. If you dont have something similar I would recommend omitting it entirely. You want something somewhat tart and not overly sweet. You dont want a cloying sweetness in your gravy.

In a sauce pan melt the butter. Whisk in your flour and allow to cook 1 minute. Slowly whisk in your beef stock, then milk and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and add salt and pepper to taste, allspice and nutmeg. If your using the jam you will whisk this in last. Keep warm until meat balls are finished. You can keep  your meatballs warm while you cook your noodles or other side dishes by holding them at a simmer in the hot gravy.

For regular Beef gravy substitute the milk and use all beef stock, add sautee’d garlic and onions if desired.

Hot Cabbage Salad: (German Braised Cabbage & Apples)

I make this salad every Christmas and usually Easter as well. I also make it quite often in between the holidays as well. Its one of my favorite classics. The raisins are optional, typically I use 2 apples or pears if I have them on hand.

  • 2-3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 lb sliced red cabbage
  • 1/4 cup raisins (optional)
  • 1/2 sliced onion
  • 2 small apples peeled and diced
  • 2-3 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon each: Cloves and Allspice
  • 1 tablespoon cranberry jam

Melt your butter in a large dutch oven or pan. Slightly saute the apple and onion then add cabbage and remaining ingredients. Place lid on the pot and simmer until the cabbage is your desired texture or about 45 minutes. I taste mine as I go along and add extra ingredients as necessary. (Salt, sugar and vinegar tend to be my most inconsistent variables.)