danish meatballs with dill sauce

This makes a fabulously rich and tangy sauce. I’ve messed around with tons of meatball recipes over the years, and I have several favorites. This is sort of a mashup of all the Danish meatball recipes I’ve liked.

I always make my meatballs about twice as large as any recipe calls for. Two or three is a perfect main dish serving at a meal. If you’re making them for an appetizer, you’ll want to make them smaller, but I get around all the extra work rolling them into tiny balls by never making them as an appetizer : )

One more little quirk of mine is that I hate packaged/canned/jarred/frozen stuff. There are times that I can’t get around using something pre-packaged, and times I refuse to mess with a tried and true recipe (like Mama’s cornbread dressing) but, for the most part, I make my own cream of soups and stocks.

This recipe calls for 2 cups of chicken stock, but I seldom have anything but vegetable stock, so I typically use that. I make my protein based stocks whenever I can, but I always have the means to make vegetable stock since my diet is high in veggies. I just toss the odds and ends of chopped vegetables (the ends of bell peppers and onions, for example, or the tips of snap peas, or celery leaves, or leftover carrots) into a gallon freezer bag and park it on the freezer door until it’s full.

Unwanted veggie parts don't have to die!
Unwanted veggie parts don’t have to die!

When the bag is full, I pour everything into a stock pot, add water, toss in some salt and pepper to taste and let it boil until I have a nice, rich stock. You can also toss the unused parts of any fresh herbs and seasonings you use in a recipe. The stock comes out a little different every time, but it always stands up beautifully in any recipe. Feel free to use boxed or canned if that is your preference.

And now … the actual recipe:

Ingredients:

The Balls

  • 2 lbs ground meatloaf mix (ground beef, ground pork and ground veal)
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/3 cup finely minced onion
  • 1/2 cup heavy/whipping cream
  • plain bread crumbs for coating

The Sauce

  • 1 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 2 cups chicken or veggie stock
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh dill
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper

Preheat the oven to 375°.

Toss the meat, salt, pepper, eggs, onion and heavy cream in a large mixing bowl. Squish it all together with your hands (don’t be fastidious … there’s really no better way) until it is well combined. With moistened hands, shape into two inch balls. Roll the balls in breadcrumbs until they are well-coated, then place them in a single layer on a large shallow baking sheet. (Don’t use a flat one. Trust me.) Melt half the butter and drizzle over the meatballs, then pop them in the oven to bake for 35 minutes or so. You’re supposed to turn them occasionally, but I never do.

Melt the remaining half of the butter in a large saucepan over a low heat. Stir in the flour until smooth. Gradually add the stock and continue stirring until it thickened and bubbly. Fold in the sour cream, fresh dill, salt and pepper.

When the meatballs are done, remove them from the oven and place them in a large serving dish. Pour the dill sauce over them, and serve. I typically eat them by themselves with a fresh vegetable as a side, but some like them over noodles or rice.

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