Pippi’s Meatball Sandwich


On scrubbing vacation day (sounds fun), Pippi packs a lovely picnic for Tommy and Annika, including meatball sandwiches. I’m a huge meatball fan in all forms, and like playing around with different ingredients and techniques from different regions. Swedish meatballs are made with milk-soaked bread which keeps them nice and tender, and are mixed thoroughly so that they’re almost silky. They’re mostly made with a mixture of beef and pork, but as we don’t eat pork and had had beef earlier in the week, I decided to try them with ground chicken – and they turned out great!

Also, rather than cooking them in gravy, I made some Swedishy sandwich fixings – quick pickled cucumbers and a bright magenta beet spread.

Pippi’s Meatball Sandwich

Loooooosely based on Alton Brown’s Swedish Meatballs

For the meatballs:

  • 1 pound ground chicken
  • 1/2 an onion
  • 2 slices bread
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 teaspoon (plus a pinch) salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

In a food processor, combine onion, bread, milk, butter, egg yolks, salt and nutmeg. Mix well with the ground chicken, and form into meatballs (about one heaping tablespoon in size). The mixture will be fairly wet, to make it easier you can form balls, then put them in the freezer for a few minutes, then reform as you put them in the pan to fry.

On medium high, heat a couple tablespoons oil with a tablespoon of butter. In batches, brown the meatballs on all sides, turning with spoons, then remove to a plate. When the last batch is browned, put all the meatballs back into the pot and cook, covered, 10-15 minutes until cooked through.

For the cucumbers

  • 1 large cucumber, peeled and sliced
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • small palmful chopped dill

Toss cucumber slices, salt, sugar, and dill, let sit at least 15 minutes.

For the beet spread

  • 1 cup pickled beets, diced
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • good pinch salt

Combine beets, mayonnaise and salt.

Serve meatballs on a toasted sub roll with cucumbers and beet spread. Enjoy!

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