Swedish Meatballs in Gravy

You don’t need to go to IKEA to enjoy meatballs, although it might be quicker

I’ve never been to Sweden, or to Ikea for that matter, so I can’t vouch for the authenticity of Justine Pattison’s Swedish Meatballs in Gravy. But meatballs can be quite fatty and Justine’s dish comes in at a much more diet friendly 324 calories per serving. So with a small portion of mash you’re looking at about 500 calories all in. Impressive, although I wish healthy eating cookbooks would factor in the extra calorie counts to include accompaniments – you’re hardly going to scoff these meatballs on their own!

This isn’t a quick meal to prepare, so I recommend making this on a weekend. Despite the level of effort involved, the end result was enjoyable, with the ‘gravy’ particularly flavoursome. My only gripe was that it tasted too much of dill, which is a strong tasting herb even if you’re only using 15g of it. I also should have reduced the gravy down a little as the sauce was a bit runny.

If you’re buying bigger packs of beef and pork mince, you will have some produce leftover. I’ll give you some ideas as to what other meals you can make on this blog in the coming weeks. Stay tuned.

Recipe: Swedish Meatballs in Gravy

Calories: 324 per serving (without mash)

Serves: 4

Book: Justine Pattison: Without the Calories – Comfort Food

Prep time: Approx 35 mins

Cooking time: Approx 40 mins


  • 250g lean minced beef
  • 250g minced pork
  • ½ medium onion (roughly chopped)
  • 2 garlic cloves (roughly chopped)
  • 15g fresh dill (finely chopped, plus extra to garnish)
  • 15g fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves (finely chopped)
  • 50g fresh white breadcrumbs
  • 1 tsp flaked sea salt
  • Oil for brushing or spraying
  • Ground black pepper
  • 4 tbsp lingonberry or cranberry sauce (to serve)

For the gravy:

  • Oil for spraying or brushing
  • ½ medium onion (very finely chopped)
  • 2 tbsp plain flour
  • 750ml beef stock (made with 1 beef stock cube)
  • 2 tsp tomato puree
  • 1 tbsp single cream
  • Flaked sea salt
  • Ground black pepper

Cost per portion: Approx £1.57 (without mash)


To make the meatballs, place the beef and pork mince into the bowl of a food processor with the onion, garlic, herbs, breadcrumbs and salt. Blend until a thick paste is formed, similar to sausage meat. Divide the mixture into 20 portions and roll into small, neat balls.

Spray or brush a large, deep non-stick frying pan with the oil and fry the meatballs for 6-8 minutes, or until nicely browned. Roll and turn the meatballs around in the pan as they brown to prevent them becoming flattened on the side. Transfer them to a medium saucepan or saute pan using a slotted spoon.

To make the gravy, spray or brush a little oil in the same pan used to fry the meatballs. Fry the onion over a low heat for 3 minutes, or until softened and lightly browned, stirring regularly. Sprinkle the flour into the pan and stir well.

Slowly stir in the stock, then add the tomato puree and bring to a simmer, stirring continuously. The gravy may have become a little lumpy, but keep stirring (using a silicone whisk preferably), continuously. Season and strain the gravy through a sieve into the pan with the meatballs.

Bring the sauce to a gentle simmer. Cover loosely and cook for 20 minutes, or until the meatballs are tender, stirring occasionally. Add a little extra stock or water if the sauce has reduced too much. Remove the lid, stir in the cream and increase the heat under the pan.

Simmer the gravy for a further 2-3 minutes or until thickened enough to lightly coat the meatballs. Adjust the seasoning to taste and serve.


4 thoughts on “Swedish Meatballs in Gravy

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s