gluten-free swedish meatballs

Amys Gluten Free Pantry

Finding my nightshade intolerance forced me to give up meatballs…at least meatballs that way I’ve always prepared them. In an attempt to find a meatball I like, I suddenly thought…’Swedish.’ There is pork in here, which I rarely eat, but I will make this once in a blue moon. I also think variety is key for a successful gluten-free diet.

This is Alton Brown‘s recipe, with changes to make it gluten-free. I also changed a procedure to lighten the meatballs. A note on ingredients: I’ve developed a friendship with my butcher. He is always providing me some particular cut (like deboned chicken breasts with the skin – more on that later) and he always freshly grinds my meat. If you want to know what you’re eating, find a meat market you trust and have them grind the cut of meat you want. It takes a bit more time, but your butcher will be happy to do this. My ground pork for this recipe came from two boneless pork loins.

This recipe calls for beef stock, but I was fresh out, so I used homemade chicken stock. To my surprise, it worked perfectly. I served this with steamed broccoli and Brussels sprouts and a simple green salad. My family loved it.

Prep time: 30 minutes
Total time: 55 minutes
Yield: 42 meatballs
Servings: Serves 6

2 slices gluten-free bread, crusts removed (I use the rice bread from Trader Joe’s which is free of nightshades)
1/4 c. milk (or a non-dairy substitute, like almond or rice milk)
3-4 T butter (or a non-dairy substitute, like Spectrum)
1/2 c. finely chopped onion
1 tsp. plus a pinch of kosher salt
3/4 lb. ground chuck
3/4 lb. ground pork
2 large egg yolks
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1/4 tsp. ground allspice
1/4 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 c. rice flour or 1 tsp. arrowroot
3 c. beef or chicken stock or any combination of both
1/4 c. heavy whipping cream (omit for non-dairy)
minced flat-leaf (Italian) parsley

  1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees or to your warm setting.
  2. Cut the crust off the bread. Tear into pieces and place in a mixing bowl. Cover with milk and set aside.
  3. In a medium saute pan, melt 1 T butter over medium heat. Add the onion and a pinch of salt and sweat until the onion is soft, about 4 minutes. Remove from the heat and add to mixing bowl with the bread and milk.
  4. To the mixture, add ground chuck, ground pork, egg yolks, 1 tsp. kosher salt, black pepper, allspice and nutmeg. With two forks, mix gently so that the mixture won’t get too compacted, which makes for heavy meatballs.
  5.  Shape meatballs into rounds with your hands. If you have  a scale, you can measure them to about 1 ounce, although I like mine a bit smaller. Shape all meatballs and set aside.
  6. Heat the 2 T butter in the sauté pan over medium-low heat. Add meatballs, 14 at a time and sauté for 8-10 minutes, turning midway, making sure to get sides browned as well. After fully cooked, transfer each batch into a heatproof baking dish and place in the warming oven.
  7. Once all the meatballs are cooked, decrease the heat to low and add the rice flour (or arrowroot) to the pan with the drippings. Incorporate with a spatula or whisk. (I needed to add another T of butter here). Stir for 1 minute, then stir in the stock, bringing it to a simmer for several minutes until it thickens. Adjust for seasoning and add a pinch of salt if needed. Stir in the cream to further thicken or omit to keep dairy-free.
  8. Remove meatballs from oven, cover with sauce and serve with minced parsley sprinkled on top.

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