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Blood Moon Recipe from Full Moon Feast: Swedish Meatballs

The following recipe was adapted for the Web from Full Moon Feast: Food and the Hunger for Connection by Jessica Prentice.

In midautumn, when the air is growing colder and the nights longer, comes the Blood Moon. Also called the Hunter’s Moon by indigenous peoples in the eastern woodlands, it was a time when northern dwellers of many cultures would work to ensure that their store of meat would last the winter. They did this by hunting wild game or slaughtering farm animals. It was a time of year when blood was shed.


Swedish Meatballs Serves 3–4 Swedish meatballs are traditionally served with boiled potatoes and lingonberry jam. I often eat them with mashed potatoes, and a dollop of sauerkraut, and a fresh green vegetable. Lingonberry or another tart jam goes beautifully as well. I add liver for increased nutrition.
  • 1 pound ground grass-fed beef or other red meat
  • 3-ounce liver from grass-fed ruminant animal
  • 1/2 onion, peeled and coarsely chopped
  • 1 handful parsley leaves—or substitute celery leaves or a lesser quantity of lovage leaves
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 2–5 tablespoons sourdough bread crumbs, sprouted flour (or cereal), or stiff raw sourdough, as needed
  • 1 teaspoon Celtic sea salt, or other high-quality salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried herbs such as thyme, sage, marjoram, oregano, or rosemary (optional)
  • 1–3 tablespoons tallow, lard, or other fat
  • 1 cup beef (or other) broth, brought to a simmer (covered) in a small pan with a few parsley stems, slices of onion, and a bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon kuzu or arrowroot dissolved in 1/4 cup cold milk or broth
  • 1/4 cup créme fraîche
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  1. Put the ground beef into a bowl.
  2. In a food processor, place the liver, onion, and parsley leaves, and process by pulsing into a coarse texture.
  3. Add the egg yolk and 2 tablespoons of the bread crumbs, flour, or sourdough to the food processor. Also add the salt, pepper, and dried herbs, then pulse until well mixed.
  4. Add the contents of the food processor to the ground beef and mix thoroughly. If the mixture is too wet, add more bread crumbs or flour until you can form balls with your hands.
  5. Form the meat into balls about 1 1/2 inches in diameter.
  6. Heat the tallow or other fat in a skillet over medium-high heat. When the fat is hot, add the meatballs in a single layer without crowding. (You will probably need to cook them in two batches.)
  7. After the bottoms of the meatballs are cooked, gently turn them so that they can cook on another side. Continue until they are cooked on all sides and all the way through. Keep warm on a plate.
  8. Strain the beef broth into the skillet and scrape up all the browned bits into the broth as it cooks. Simmer for a few minutes to reduce.
  9. Add the kuzu or arrowroot mixture to the pan and whisk until thick. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Whisk in the créme fraîche.
  10. If the meatballs are too cool, you can return them to the gravy to warm up. Otherwise, pour the gravy over the meatballs.

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