Marcus Knows Best: Helga’s Meatballs and Gravy with Carrot Apple Mashed Potatoes

18 Nov

I am a big fan of Swedish meatballs. I have been making them for several years with different variations, most commonly one recipe that my grandmother had passed on to me years ago and one from chef Marcus Samuelsson that he uses at his restaurant, Red Rooster, in Harlem here in New York. I like both recipes but the one from chef Samuelsson seems much more authentic to me so that is the one I have used, still use, and is basically the same as the one in this recipe, but this recipe also has the addition of carrot-apple mashed potatoes to go with the meatballs to make it more of a meal and less of an appetizer. This is the way you will find it on the menu at Red Rooster and the flavor is fantastic. I did tweak the recipe just a bit from the original. I decided to bake my meatballs instead of grilling them, as is called for in the original recipe to get more of a char on the meatballs. It just seemed easier to bake them, though doing them in a skillet would work pretty well too. Other than that, I followed the recipe, right down to the lingonberry preserves. This particular version is from the Serious Eats website.

Helga’s Meatballs and Gravy with Carrot-Apple Mashed Potatoes

For the Meatballs:

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 red onion, finely chopped

1/2 cup dry bread crumbs

1/4 cup heavy cream

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


For the Gravy:

1 cup chicken broth

1/2 cup heavy cream

1/4 cup lingonberry preserves

2 tablespoons pickle juice

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper


For the Carrot-Apple Mashed Potatoes:

3 Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and quartered

2 carrots, peeled and chopped

1 Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored, and sliced

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 red onion, thinly sliced

2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

2 medium shallots, thinly sliced

1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

1 tablespoon honey

1/2 cup buttermilk

1/2 teaspoon horseradish, preferably freshly grated

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

To make the meatballs, heat the olive oil in a small skillet over medium heat. When the oil is shimmering, add the red onion and cook until the onion is softened, about 5 minutes. Remove the onions from the heat and allow them to cool.

Combine the bread crumbs and the heavy cream in a large bowl, stirring the mixture with a fork until all of the bread crumbs are moistened. Add the sautéed onions, ground beef, ground veal, ground pork, honey, egg, and salt and pepper to the bread crumbs and mix the ingredients well. Wet your hands to keep the meatballs from sticking and shape the mixture into meatballs the size of golf balls, placing them on a plate lightly moistened with some water. You should end up with about 24 to 30 meatballs.

Heat the oven to 400 degrees. On a rimmed baking sheet with a rack inserted, place the meatballs on the rack and bake them in the oven until they are golden brown all over and cooked through, about 12 to 15 minutes.

To make the gravy, bring the chicken broth, heavy cream, lingonberry preserves and pickle juice to a simmer in a large saucepan set over medium-high heat. Add the meatballs to the gravy, reduce the heat to medium and simmer until the gravy thickens slightly and the meatballs are heated through, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste and keep the meatballs and gravy warm.

To make the carrot-apple mashed potatoes, place the potatoes in a large saucepan, cover the potatoes with salted cold water by at least one inch and cook the potatoes until they are tender, about 20 minutes. Put the carrots and apples in a separate saucepan covered with salted cold water by at least one inch and cook until the carrots and apples are tender, about 15 minutes.

While the potatoes, apples and carrots cook, heat the olive oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. When the oil is shimmering, add the onion, garlic, shallots, balsamic vinegar and honey. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook, stirring often, until the onions and shallots are tender, about 10 minutes.

Drain the potatoes and the apples and carrots and return all of them to one of the cooking pots. Mash the mixture coarsely with a fork or a potato masher. Stir in the buttermilk, horseradish and onion mixture. Season the potatoes with salt and pepper to taste. Spoon the carrot-apple mashed potatoes onto dinner plates and top them with the meatballs and gravy.

The meatballs have fantastic flavor and the gravy makes them even better. If you can get the lingonberry preserves it makes a big difference in the overall taste, adding that hint of flavor that makes them distinctly Swedish meatballs. I really liked the apple-carrot mashed potatoes as well as it was a great mix of flavors with the apple and carrot along with the onions, horseradish and garlic. I actually made the meatballs a little bit smaller so we had a bunch leftover that I could freeze and use for appetizers for the holidays coming up. It is definitely a recipe worth giving a try.

That’s all I have for today. Check back next time for another recipe. Until then, enjoy the rest of your day and enjoy your meal!

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Posted by on November 18, 2014 in Appetizers, Beef, Cooking, Dinner, Gravy, Pork, Potatoes


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