Recipe: Venison Swedish Meatballs
A game changer for this classic dish
By Savannah Burns,
3:00PM, Tue. Feb. 9, 2021
My mother’s family is Swedish and she grew up with traditional Swedish meatballs made with beef as a regular meal in her house. She and my father have lived in Fredericksburg for the past 24 years where there was no shortage of venison game.
For many years, people would give my family venison ground meat, sausage, and backstrap. Not knowing how to cook with it, the meat would remain stored in our freezer. One night when my mother was making the Swedish meatballs she realized she had forgotten to buy ground beef, so she used the ground venison. The meatballs were so delicious that now no one in my family will make them without venison meat.
This recipe calls for nutmeg, which is what makes them Swedish and not Italian. The venison works well in this dish because the gamey flavor really compliments that unique nutmeg taste. However, if you don’t have a plethora of venison meat in your freezer like my parents, ground beef works perfectly fine.
¾ cup milk
1 ½ cups soft bread crumbs
2 ½ tablespoons butter
¼ cup onion (about ⅓ of a medium sized onion)
1 lb ground venison meat
½ teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon salt
1 egg, beaten
1 14.5 oz. can of beef broth
Flour for coating the meatballs (about 1 cup)
In a large bowl, mix the milk and bread crumbs together, soaking the breadcrumbs. Meanwhile, saute the onions in 1 ½ tablespoons of the butter until the onions become translucent but not brown.
Add the venison meat, nutmeg, salt, egg, onions and butter to the milk-soaked breadcrumbs and combine.
Roll the meat mixture into balls (about the size of ping-pong balls or golf balls) and roll in flour, lightly coating each ball.
In the same pan you used to cook the butter and onions, melt the remaining butter on medium heat - about 1 tablespoon. Cook the meatballs until they are brown on each side, but not yet fully cooked. For this step, you may have to do two rounds of browning the meatballs or use two pans to brown them if there is not enough room in the pan.
Pour the can of beef broth over the balls and cover with a lid. If you browned the balls in rounds, make sure to put them all in the same pan before pouring the broth.
Let them simmer in the broth for about 15-30 minutes until the meatballs have been cooked all the way through. This dish is best served with either mashed potatoes, noodles, or rice.