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Irene Portouws Swedish Meatballs

As longtime friends of Bob and Irene Portouw, we’ve adopted this as one of our favorites. It’s great during the holidays, but it’s also good any other time. My wife Pat and I can attest to that.

Meatball Ingredients

1 tablespoon butter or lard
1/3 cup chopped onion
1 pound ground beef
1 pound ground pork
1 1/2 cups bread crumbs
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 tablespoon salt
1/3 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 tablespoon sugar
3/4 cup of milk or water

Gravy Ingredients

1/4 cup melted butter or lard
3 beef bouillon cubes
3 cups of water
5 tablespoons flour
1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
3 bay leaves


  • Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. 
  • Sauté the onion in the butter/lard until tender. 
  • Combine the meat with the rest of the ingredients and shape into 1 1/2 inch diameter balls. 
  • Chill well. 
  • When they’re ready, brown the meatballs, slowly, in 1/4 cup of melted butter/lard.
  • For the gravy: dissolve bouillon cubes in water.
  • Remove meat balls from the butter/lard and set aside.
  • Blend in flour with the mixture.
  • Add bouillon and lemon juice to the flour mixture and cook, until thick, stirring constantly.
  • Add bay leaves and salt to taste. 
  • Transfer meat balls to a baking dish, cover in gravy, and bake, covered, for one hour.
  • Eat plain or serve over noodles.