• Helga’s Meatball Sliders


Inspired by My Grandma’s Classic Swedish Meatballs

by Marcus Samuelsson

Helga’s Meatball Sliders


For the Meatballs:

  • 1/2 cup dry breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium red onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 pound ground chuck or sirloin
  • 1/2 pound ground veal
  • 1/2 pound ground pork
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 large egg
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter

For the Sauce:

  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup lingonberry preserves (see below)
  • 2 tablespoons pickle juice (see below)
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the Buttermilk Biscuits:

  • 2  1/4 cups all-purpose flour, scooped and leveled (11.1 ounces, 315 grams)
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 5  1/2 ounces butter, cold, cut into cubes (156 grams)
  • 1 cup buttermilk, (8 ounces)
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten with a fork for egg wash
  • Sea salt, for sprinkling
  • Melted butter, for brushing

For the Lingonberry Preserves:

  •  1 cup lingonberries
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 quart water

For the Quick Pickled Cucumbers:

  • 1 English (hothouse) cucumber
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1  1/2 cups water
  • 1/2 cup white wine vinegar
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 allspice berries



Combine the breadcrumbs and heavy cream in a small bowl, stir in with a fork until all the crumbs are moistened.  Set aside.

Heat the oil in a small skillet over medium heat.  Add the onion and sauté for about 5 minutes, until softened.  Remove from the heat.

In a large bowl, combine the ground beef, veal, pork, onion, honey and egg, and mix well with your hands.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Add the bread crumb-cream mixture and mix well.  With wet hands (to keep the mixture from sticking) shape the mixture into meatballs the size of a golf ball, placing them on a plate lightly moistened with water.  You should have about 24 meatballs.

Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium high heat.  Add the meatballs, in batches if necessary, and cook, turning frequently, for about 7 minutes, until browned on all sides and cook through.  Transfer the meatballs to a plate, and discard all but 1 tablespoon of fat from the skillet.


Return the skillet to the heat, whisk in the stock, cream, lingonberry preserves (see recipe below) and pickle juice, and bring to a simmer.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.  Add the meatballs to the sauce, reduce the heat to medium, and simmer for about 5 minutes, until the sauce thickens slightly and the meatballs are heated through.  Top with lingonberries and Quick Pickled Cucumbers (see recipe below).

Buttermilk Biscuits

Combine the dry ingredients in a large bowl.  Stir with a whisk and mix until completely blended and without bumps.

Cut in the butter and mix until mealy and butter is the size of small peas.

Using a fork, stir in buttermilk until barely integrated, with some pieces of butter still visible. Do not over-mix.

Lightly dust a clean workspace and a rolling pin with flour.  Roll dough to 1-inch thick and cut biscuits using 40mm biscuit cutter. Combine any scraps, re-roll, and cut biscuits until dough is completely used.

Place dough on a sheet tray lined with parchment paper or a Silpat, spacing 1-inch apart. Brush with the egg wash and sprinkle with sea salt. Refrigerate overnight, covered.

Preheat the oven to 425 F.  Bake in oven for 15 minutes, or until golden brown and fluffy. Brush with melted butter when the biscuits come out of the oven.

To Serve

Divide biscuits in half. Top bottom half with meatball then top meatball with a sliver of pickled cucumber and teaspoon of lingonberry sauce. Place top half of biscuit on top.

Lingonberry Preserves

Makes about 2 cups

Put all ingredients in a pot. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a low flame. Simmer until syrup consistency. Cool and serve.

Quick Pickled Cucumbers

Makes about 1 1/2 cups

Slice the cucumber as thin as possible (use a mandoline or other vegetable slicer if have one). Put the slices in a colander, toss them with the salt, and let stand for about 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, combine the water, vinegar, sugar, bay leaf, and allspice in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Remove from the heat and let cool.

Rinse the salt off the cucumbers, and squeeze out as much moisture as possible. Put the cucumbers in a medium bowl and add the pickling solution: they should be completely covered by the brine. Cover and refrigerate for 3 to 6 hours before serving.

Photo by Paul Brissman.

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