When you’re married to one Sicilian, and mother to another, it’s easy to become infected by their passion for all things Italian. In fact, I often refer to myself as an I.B.M. – Italian by Marriage. But my grandfather, Don Mathison, was 100% Norwegian and proud of it, and every now and then we find a way to honor my heritage, too.
Today’s featured Christmas Favorite is Tony’s Norwegian Meatballs – that’s right, Tony’s. He created this recipe last year when he was asked to be a food presenter at Norsk Hostfest, the country’s largest Scandinavian festival, held each fall in Minot, ND.
Initially, he wasn’t sure if he was the right fit for this event, but I assured him that if I could create my own lasagna recipe, he could roll out some Norwegian meatballs just as well as any old hukalars or tulabook (invented words my 100% Norwegian Grandpa Don used when referring to a good old Norwegian).
And I was right. Tony spent hours researching Norwegian meatballs and came up with his own original recipe. And with the help of our part-Norwegian son, Giovanni, his meatballs were a hit at the festival. One woman even told us that they were better than her Norwegian grandmother’s. Wow.
Tony’s Norwegian Meatballs are easy to make, utterly delicious, and authentically Norwegian. I know that my proud Norwegian Grandpa Don would definitely approve. Vær så god!
Ingredients – Meatball Mix:
1 lb. ground beef, 85% lean
½ cup whole milk
1 yellow onion, finely chopped
1 cup panko (Japanese-style) breadcrumbs (or plain breadcrumbs)
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
½ teaspoon ground allspice
½ teaspoon ground ginger
1 ½ teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 cup canola oil
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
In a large bowl, mix the breadcrumbs and milk together until combined. Add the ground beef, egg, onions and spices and use your hands to mix them together. Season with salt and pepper and mix again until ingredients are incorporated.
Shape the meatballs to desired size (we recommend making balls 1-inch in diameter, which makes about 30 meatballs). Heat the oil in a saute pan over medium heat and cook the meatballs until browned on all sides.
Place the meatballs on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper or aluminum foil and bake in a 400-degree oven for about 10 minutes to finish cooking.
Ingredients – Meatball Sauce:
2 cups beef broth
¼ cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons roux
1 pinch kosher salt
1 pinch black pepper
Place beef broth in a sauce pot and cook over medium-high heat. Once the broth starts to boil add the roux and whisk until broth thickens to a sauce consistency. Finish by adding cream and season with salt and pepper. Add the meatballs to the sauce and cook for another 5 minutes. Serve and enjoy!
- Mix the meatball mixture by hand for at least five minutes to enhance the texture and bind the ingredients together.
- For a gluten-free version, use a slurry of 2 tablespoons corn starch and 2 tablespoons water instead of the roux to thicken the gravy. Omit the breadcrumbs in the meatball mixture and mix the meat for a few more minutes.