Helga's Meatballs

Marcus Samuelsson

Ginny's Supper Club and Red Rooster Harlem, NYC



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


To serve:


Make the meatballs: in a small bowl, soak breadcrumbs in heavy cream and set aside.

In a skillet over medium heat, add the oil. Sauté the onions for about 5 minutes until softened. Remove from the heat. In a large bowl, gently combine the ground beef, pork, veal, cooked onions, egg, and honey and mix well with your hands. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add the soaked breadcrumb–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 and cook, turning frequently, for about 7 minutes. Be sure that all sides are browned and the meatballs are cooked through. Transfer the cooked meatballs to a plate. Reserve 1 tablespoon of fat from the skillet for the sauce.

Make the sauce: in the used meatball skillet, whisk together the reserved meatball fat, stock, cream, preserves, and pickle juice and bring to a simmer. Let the sauce simmer and reduce until desired the sauce has thickened. Season with pepper and salt. Add the meatballs to the sauce, reduce the heat to low, and simmer.  

To serve, place the braised cabbage on a plate and top with the meatballs. Spoon the sauce over each individual meatball. Serve with the lingonberry preserves and pickled cucumbers


4 to 6 servings