I have made boulettes de viande (meatballs) many times before, either with a Betty Crocker recipe or just by throwing in whatever ingredients I have on hand. This week, however, I tried a Swiss recipe for meatballs from a little cookbook I picked up at a second-hand shop. It’s full of easy, practical recipes collected from “paysannes et femmes rurales suisses” (farmers and rural Swiss women) to benefit the Association Alzheimer Suisse.
This Swiss recipe differs from my usual meatballs in two primary ways. First, you soak a piece of day-old bread in milk to soften it up, instead of using dry breadcrumbs. This way, the bread breaks down and mixes well with the other ingredients. Second, when the recipe calls for breadcrumbs, you use them to coat the outside of the meatball, which gives them a little more texture.
While my children were not thrilled with my dried green bean experiments this week (those who follow my Instagram feed will know what I’m referring to), they really like these meatballs from the Swiss canton of Uri. I actually had some leftover meatballs today for my second breakfast, after participating in this morning’s “Wake Up and Run” event!
How to make them:
Adapted from Les recettes des Grand-Mère, Tome 4 (2011).
Contains: milk, egg, gluten and wheat
- 1 slice of dry, day-old bread
- 150 ml milk
- 1/4-1/2 cup onion, finely chopped
- 300 grams ground beef
- 1 egg
- 1/4 cup oats
- nearly 1 tablespoon fresh tarragon, finely chopped
- salt and pepper, to taste
- 1/2 teaspoons paprika
- 1 cup breadcrumbs
- 1-2 tablespoons butter
- slices of fresh lemon
- Soak the dry, day-old bread in the milk to soften it. While it’s soaking, add the following ingredients to a large bowl: onion, ground beef, 1 egg, oats, tarragon, salt and pepper.
- When the bread has softened, use a fork to stir it together with the milk to break it up into small pieces. Then pour the mixture into the large bowl with the other ingredients.
- Combine the ingredients together with your hands until everything is fully incorporated. Then, form the mixture into meat patties or balls and set them aside.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the bread crumbs and paprika. Coat each of the individual meatballs in the breadcrumb mixture.
- In a frying pan over medium-high heat, melt some butter and cook the meatballs for about 8-10 minutes on both sides until browned and well done. Please note: I cook them in two or three batches and put them in a hot oven to keep them warm until serving.
- Serve the hot meatballs with fresh lemon slices and squeeze the juice over them.
Updated: May 9. 2022