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Helga's Meatballs

YIELD 24 meatballs



Pickled Cucumbers

  • 2 English cucumbers
  • 1 cup distilled white vinegar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon yellow mustard seeds
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 4 allspice berries


  • 1/2 cup fine dried bread crumbs
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 red onion, finely chopped
  • 8 ounces ground beef chuck or sirloin
  • 8 ounces ground veal
  • 8 ounces ground pork
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 large egg
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter


  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup lingonberry preserves
  • 2 tablespoons pickle juice from Pickled Cucumbers (above)
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Lingonberry preserves for serving



For the pickled cucumbers:

Trim offthe ends of the cucumbers, then, usinga mandoline or a sharp knife, thinly slice them. Place the slices in a large,heatproof bowl.

In a saucepan , combine the vinegar,water, sugar, salt, mustard seeds, pepperflakes, and allspice over high heatand bring to a boil, stirring to dissolvethe sugar. Boil for 1 minute to ensurethe sugar is fully dissolved. Removefrom the heat and pour over thecucumbers. The cucumbers shouldbe fully immersed. Let cool to roomtemperature, then cover and refrigeratefor up to 3 days before serving (if youcan wait that long).

For the meatballs:

In a small bowl ,combine the bread crumbs and creamand stir with a fork until the crumbs areevenly moistened. Set aside.

In a small skillet , heat the olive oilover medium heat. Add the onion andsaute until softened, about 5 minutes.Remove from the heat and let cool toroom temperature.

In a large bowl , combine the beef,veal, pork, cooled onion, honey, andegg and mix well with your hands.Season with salt and pepper, then addthe bread crumb-cream mixture andmix well. Lightly moisten a large platewith water. With wet hands (to keep themixture from sticking), shape the mixtureinto balls the size of a golf ball andplace them on the moistened plate.You should have about 24 meatballs.

In a large skillet , melt the butterover medium-high heat. Working inbatches, add the meatballs and cook,turning frequently, until nicely brownedon all sides and cooked through, 7 to 8 minutes. Transfer the meatballs toa plate and set aside. Pour off all but1 tablespoon of the fat from the skilletand reserve the skillet for making thesauce.

For the sauce:

Return the skillet tomedium-high heat, whisk in the broth,cream, lingonberry preserves, and picklejuice, and bring to a simmer. Seasonwith salt and pepper.

Add the meatballs to the sauce,reduce the heat to medium, and simmeruntil the sauce thickens slightly and the meatballs are heated through, about5 minutes. Transfer the meatballs andtheir sauce to a deep serving platter.Serve the pickled cucumbers and extralingonberry preserves on the side.

Recipe compliments of Marcus Samuelsson.



Marcus Samuelsson