I realize that this recipe’s title starts with the word “spaghetti”, but make no mistake about it – the meatballs are the star of this week. Since first developing this meatball recipe for Paleo Takeout, we’ve made it often, at least monthly. There are a few little touches that make the meatballs just perfect: a mix of beef and pork so that the meat flavor is prominent but not overwhelming, egg yolks for creaminess, gelatin powder for a smooth and succulent texture, and bacon for little bursts of umami.

One of my favorite ways to describe these meatballs is to say that they’ll make your Italian grandmother swoon. Matter of fact, just as I’m writing this intro, I’ve decided to add them to our dinner menu this week.

Here is the writeup from Paleo Takeout:

It seems like every country has a meatball recipe, from the very popular Swedish meatballs to the relatively unknown Finnish meatballs (Lihapullat), often made with reindeer meat. Italian meatballs are larger than most other meatballs and are prized for their tenderness. Gelatin may seem like a strange addition, but it gives the meatballs a velvety texture, not unlike what you’d expect from eating veal.

Read Full Article

I know what you’re thinking. It’s something like this – “Seriously, Russ? You already have an awesome Swedish Meatball recipe in your cookbook. Way to put a new coat of paint on your old favorites.”

First of all, thanks for the compliment. Second, these meatballs are a little different. For example, Danish Frikadeller are often smashed and look more like little patties than those little round balls you might be expecting. Think of them as Denmark’s LEGOs (probably their coolest invention) vs. Sweden’s crescent wrench (also a cool invention); both are useful, but serve slightly different purposes.

The recipe itself differs from Swedish meatballs in that I found that adding a bit of tapioca starch makes the balls stick together really well, and they’re pretty delightfully spongy, too. I also played around with the spices until I found something that delivered a distinctive Old-World taste while using common pantry items.

Read Full Article

Like most of the Paleo world, I caught wind of Joshua at Slim Palate a few months back when he revealed that not only is he a teenager, but he lost over 100 lbs during his journey to find health and fitness. Incredible story aside, I immediately respected his photography and sense of style (I can’t imagine what my sense of “style” was at age 17!); he’s got an elegant eye that shows up in his pictures.

After a bit of chatting, I offered to do a recipe swap, where we recreate one of each other’s recipes, with allowance for tweaks. I chose to do one of his earlier recipes, Chipotle Dijon Turkey Meatballs, while he made a stunning rendition of my Rogan Josh recipe. My take on his original recipe is pretty faithful, but I added a creamy sauce on the side, modeled after the cream sauce typically found in traditional-style fish tacos.

Read Full Article

NOTE: An updated version of this recipe appears in my cookbook, The Ancestral Table.

While meatballs have been around forever, the first written documentation of meatballs in Sweden appeared in the 18th century. Meatballs were likely an uncommon food in Sweden until the widespread use of meat-grinders; they later became standard Smörgåsbord (the original buffet!) fare. Scandinavian immigrants brought their meatballs to the United States, particularly the Midwest, during the 1920s. Swedish meatballs are unique in that they are pretty small and often served with a cream-based gravy.

Most Swedish meatballs are made using breadcrumbs (even IKEA’s!) so I set off to make a gluten-free version of the classic dish. It was surprisingly easy, with almond meal, cream, and egg yolk making a pretty hefty binder. I also found that in making the gravy, regular white rice flour (not sweet rice flour) created the best consistency.

Read Full Article

Meatballs are a deceptively tricky dish. It looks like you’d just ball up some ground beef and be done with it, but in fact it takes a good bit of work to get meatballs that aren’t super-dense cannonballs. I experimented a little to find a good mix-in to keep the meatballs moist and light, and when it comes down to it, nothing beats bread. Luckily, Udi’s Gluten-Free White Sandwich Bread is both consistent with our diet and perfect for this dish.

Read Full Article