Now you can enjoy Ikea’s Swedish meatballs at home – some assembly required

Ann Maloney

THE WASHINGTON POST – When I told my colleague – via Zoom, of course – that I was going to tackle making Ikea’s Swedish Meatballs, her eyes lit up.

“I LOVE them,” she exclaimed.

She’s not alone.

The eight-ingredient meatballs paired with a savoury cream sauce, which have long been a hit with shoppers at the popular Swedish furniture store, became an internet sensation this week when the business released the recipe via Twitter.

As another colleague joked: “That’s the main reason people go to Ikea.”

Ikea’s Swedish Meatballs With Cream Sauce. PHOTO: THE WASHINGTON POST

Since the novel coronavirus arrived, many of us have had to do without favourite restaurant dishes, including this one. Ikea has temporarily shuttered its in-store shopping because of the pandemic.

Before sharing the recipe, we decided to test it to see if it tasted just right. The results: It’s pretty darn close. And, even if it isn’t exactly the same, eaten as is or spooned over mashed potatoes, the meatballs are an ideal comfort food during an uncomfortable time.

The company tweeted the recipe with a line drawing reminiscent of the instructions enclosed in the assemble-it-yourself furniture it sells. The good news is that the meatballs are much easier to put together than that Ikea chest of drawers you bought.

Country Food Manager of Ikea United Kingdom (UK) Lorena Lourido said in a statement: “We know that some people might be missing our meatballs, which is why we’ve released an at-home alternative which, using easily accessible ingredients, will help those looking for some inspiration in the kitchen.”

Based on the reception the recipe has received, Ikea was right.

And Ikea is not alone in handing out “secret” recipes. Since the pandemic has forced businesses and travel destinations to temporarily shut their doors or limit access, a steady stream of companies has started releasing popular recipes so that people can make them at home, including Doubletree’s Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe and Disney’s churro recipe.

We haven’t tested these recipes . . . yet.

IKEA SWEDISH MEATBALLS WITH CREAM SAUCE

Active: 40 minutes | Total: One hour 40 mins

Six servings; makes 36 meatballs

Notes: If you want to serve the meatballs without the sauce, fry them another five to eight minutes, until cooked through.

The meatballs are excellent with creamy mashed and/or boiled potatoes, according to Ikea.

The recipe calls for chilling the uncooked meatballs before frying to help them keep their shape when frying. The original recipe said to chill the meatballs for two hours, but we found that chilling them for just 30 to 45 minutes was enough.

The original recipe calls for double cream, which is a thick English cream, but we used whipping cream instead.

Make Ahead: Meatballs can be formed, covered and stored in the refrigerator overnight.

Storage Notes: Refrigerate in an airtight container for up to three days.

INGREDIENTS

For the meatballs

Nine pounds ground beef

One medium yellow onion, finely chopped

One clove garlic, crushed or minced

Half cup plain bread crumbs

One large egg, lightly whisked

One third cup whole milk

One teaspoon fine sea salt, or more to taste

Half teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

One tablespoon vegetable oil

For the cream sauce

Five tablespoons unsalted butter

One third cup all-purpose flour

One and a quarter cups beef broth

Three quarters cup heavy cream

Two teaspoons soy sauce

One teaspoon Dijon mustard

STEPS

Shape the meatballs: In a large bowl, mixing the beef with your fingers to break up any lumps. Add the onion, garlic, breadcrumbs and egg, and gently mix to combine. Add the milk, salt and pepper and mix to combine.

Shape the mixture into two-inch balls. Place on a clean platter, cover and refrigerate until completely chilled, about 45 minutes.

Make the sauce

Just before you begin frying the meatballs, in a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the flour and stir it into the butter until a roux forms, continue to cook for about 2 minutes, stirring constantly.

Slowly add the broth, stirring until just combined.

Add the cream, soy sauce and mustard and stir to combine. Bring the mixture to a simmer, then turn the heat to low and let the sauce thicken, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking, one to two minutes. Remove from the heat, cover and set aside.

Cook the meatballs

When ready to cook the meatballs, place a rack in the centre of the oven and preheat to 400 degrees.

In an ovenproof large skillet over medium-high heat, heat the oil until shimmering. Working in batches to avoid crowding, add the meatballs and cook until browned on the outside, about eight minutes. Transfer the browned meatballs to a plate and repeat with the remaining meatballs.

Return the meatballs to the skillet and pour the sauce over. Cover the skillet with a lid or foil, and transfer the skillet to the oven. Bake for 30 minutes, until the meatballs are cooked through.

Serve the meatballs as they are or with boiled or mashed potatoes.

Nutrition

Calories: 451; Total Fat: 51g; Saturated Fat: 24g; Cholesterol: 182mg; Sodium: 879mg; Carbohydrates: 15g; Dietary Fibre: 1g; Sugars: 2g; Protein: 23g.