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MSP: Where Can I Buy Really Good Swedish Meatballs?

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Gr8Marlys Dec 21, 2009 11:14 AM

I'm hosting a little get-together at my house on X-mas eve and would love to serve some really fine (non-Ikea) Swedish Meatballs. Normally, I'd be looking for a good recipe, but I've got a five-day-old son, a toddler, and too much to do between now and Christmas. Anyone have a bead on some decent meatballs? Thanks!

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  1. r
    Rheta RE: Gr8Marlys Dec 21, 2009 11:44 AM

    IKEA. If you can take the crowds!

    1. r
      Rheta RE: Gr8Marlys Dec 21, 2009 11:45 AM

      I'm sorry. I just read your post more carefully. (non-Idea).

      1. k
        kevin47 RE: Gr8Marlys Dec 21, 2009 11:54 AM

        Ingebretsen's or Von Hanson's would have to have them, I'd think. That said, is there such a thing as a "really fine" swedish meatball?

        2 Replies
        1. re: kevin47
          JanPrimus RE: kevin47 Dec 22, 2009 06:07 AM

          I was charged by my mother to make a crock pot of Grape Jelly Meatballs. I had never heard of such a thing, Although I am seeing signs of such a thing on Google. I am not looking forward to this...I wonder what I did to upset her.

          Maybe I should of told her I have a grape allergy as we share a glass of wine.

          1. re: JanPrimus
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            miki RE: JanPrimus Dec 22, 2009 12:13 PM

            Grape jelly meatballs were a constant at my mom's house. I don't remember them being terrible. Of course, I was used to my mother's cooking at the time. : )

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          Gr8Marlys RE: Gr8Marlys Dec 22, 2009 06:51 AM

          Thanks for the tips. I'll call Ingebretsen's today and report back. I'll call Von Hanson's too. Kevin74, of course there's such a thing as a "really fine" Swedish Meatball. Top-quality meat, good spices, cream, careful preparation...

          JanPrimus, don't fear the grape jelly meatballs, I've had them and they can be pretty good.

          2 Replies
          1. re: Gr8Marlys
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            karykat RE: Gr8Marlys Dec 22, 2009 08:55 AM

            I've had the IKEA ones at a party. How will the non-IKEA meatballs differ. (To expand my knowledge on meatballs.)

            1. re: karykat
              WildSwede RE: karykat Jan 14, 2010 03:38 PM

              I don't know, either. My mom always made them from scratch and now she only buys the Ikea ones (with the gravy packet & lingon) and does not make them herself anymore. They are really, really good.
              PS - I made the Grape/Chili meatballs (got frozen beef/chicken mix meatballs at Smart N Final) for my holiday snacks for my work group and all 128 of them were gone in a matter of minutes (several people asked for the recipe as well).

          2. m
            miki RE: Gr8Marlys Dec 22, 2009 12:14 PM

            Haven't tried these, but here's a possibility. (My husband has made her Hasselback potatoes, and the family loves them.)

            http://annesfood.blogspot.com/2006/12...

            1. s
              S. Andrew Miller RE: Gr8Marlys Dec 25, 2009 07:23 AM

              Hagberg's Country Market in Lake Elmo. They're a small butcher shop, and they make their own Swedish Meatball mix, all you have to do is roll it into balls. Excellent stuff.

              http://www.hagbergsmarket.com/

              1. g
                Gr8Marlys RE: Gr8Marlys Dec 31, 2009 11:15 AM

                Thanks to everyone for your ideas. I ended up going to Ingebretsen's on Lake St. in Minneapolis. They sell their own (raw) Swedish meatball mix by the pound. It's a mixture of beef, pork and veal, plus seasonings. They also sell their own cream gravy by the pint. I bought 4 pounds of meatball mix and 2 pints of cream gravy. I rolled the meatballs myself, baked them until slightly browned in the oven, transferred them to a crock pot, poured on the cream gravy and let it all heat up together for a couple of hours before serving. I didn't tinker with the seasonings at all...I didn't even add a pinch of salt, and the results were fantastic. The meatballs were totally delicious, and likely to become an easy-to-prepare holiday tradition for us. There were 5 meatballs left when the evening was over.

                Note: beware of the Scandinavians crawling all over Ingebretsen's just before Christmas! We waited in the deli line for about 45 minutes to purchase the meatball mix, and parking was a bit of a pain: my husband got into a little verbal spat with an old dude who was leaving Ingebretsen's with his wife, and who seemed to think he needed 15 feet in front of AND behind his car in order to exit his parallel parking spot safely. Naturally, we were parked too close for his comfort. Good grief! Folks who don't spend much time in the city apparently come to stock up for the holidays.

                One last thing, karykat: IKEA meatballs have their place. They're just not very high-quality. They're kind of rubbery and salty and lack nuance. (Though the price is right.) Try an Ingebretsen's meatball and an IKEA meatball in a blind taste test, I guarantee you'll be able to tell the difference. One is really good. The other is cafeteria fare.

                2 Replies
                1. re: Gr8Marlys
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                  soupkitten RE: Gr8Marlys Dec 31, 2009 12:05 PM

                  thanks for the great report. ingebretsen's sounds like a good sub for when i can't convince dh's grandma to produce handmade swedish meatballs on command-- what's up with that?!? :)

                  not trying to pry--this is strictly for my own holiday planning-- but when you say you had 5 meatballs left at the end of the night, out of 4 lbs meatball mix, 2 pints cream sauce--- that amount fed *how many* hungry holiday devotees of this scandinavian delicacy? is this with heavy, medium, or light side dishes? with or without lingonberry sauce? i know i can put those little suckers away when they are really really good. . .

                  1. re: Gr8Marlys
                    k
                    karykat RE: Gr8Marlys Dec 31, 2009 12:23 PM

                    Thanks for the tip Gr8. I will give it a try.

                  2. g
                    Gr8Marlys RE: Gr8Marlys Jan 5, 2010 10:31 AM

                    Soupkitten, don't worry about prying! We had 8 adults and 5 meatball-loving kids, ages 10, 7, 5, 3 and 18 months. I think we only had 5 meatballs by night's end because nobody wanted to be responsible for finishing the dish. Minnesotans!

                    We had a bunch of lighter dishes (in other words, we DIDN'T pull out a huge flank of roast beast with mashed potatoes, gravy, beans, yams, etc.) instead we had lefse with snofrisk cheese, crackers and more cheese, various nuts, chips, cookies and cakes and lots of mulled wine and beer to wash it down. If I'd made more of an actual sit-down meal, we probably would've eaten fewer meatballs, but they were the caloric focus of this gathering, so yeah, we really put 'em away.

                    One more detail, I just learned (from WikiAnswers) that ground beef loses 20-25% of its weight (depending on the percentage of fat) during cooking, so that 4 lbs of meatball mix was more like 3 lbs after cooking...

                    Something to keep in mind when planning.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Gr8Marlys
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                      soupkitten RE: Gr8Marlys Jan 6, 2010 08:50 AM

                      sounds just lovely. thanks again!

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