Looking into the abyss of my freezer can be a little underwhelming these days. I peer into it and paw through all sorts of things I just cannot bring myself to eat. There’s the freezer-burned chili, the crystallized chicken wings, the butternut squash spirals I promised myself I would eat when I found a situation that required their presence (but that hasn’t happened yet). And, omnipresent, a small army of IKEA meatballs, mysteriously never tinged with ice. They patiently wait until I’ve exhausted all other possibilities and then they say, “Now, are you ready for dinner?”
They’re hard to argue with. Beefy and tender, they are easy and satisfying to serve with mashed potatoes and a cloak of thick gravy—also readily available, thanks to the IKEA gravy packets. The meatballs have also hung out with couscous and greens, made a decent meatball sub, and cheerfully tangled themselves with spaghetti and marinara. But one recent night, they rolled their way onto a pizza.
Despite being an ad hoc dinner solution, I wanted it be good, to besmirch neither the good name of Swedish meatballs and gravy nor pizza. Instead of smearing mashed potatoes on the dough, I blanched and thinly sliced small potatoes. Blanching ensured the potatoes would be creamy with crisp edges in the short time it took the pizza to cook.
Caramelized onions helped tie together the beefy meatballs, earthy potatoes, and mild crust. I happened to have some in the freezer, but jarred ones from the store are perfectly fine. Glazing the dough with gravy proved the perfect way to drive the Swedish meatball flavors home. The final pizza was so rich and savory there was no need for cheese.
If you’re skeptical about adding lingonberry jam, trust me, it cuts through the richness in a way that nothing else will. This pizza makes a great appetizer if cut into small squares, served with an autumn beer or fruity red wine. Or just call it dinner and eat the whole thing yourself.
Prep time: 1 hour, including pizza stone heating time
Bake time: About 10 minutes
Makes one 12-inch pizza. Serves 2 to 3.
- 8 oz. pizza dough, homemade or store-bought
- 8 IKEA meatballs, defrosted and halved
- 4 small potatoes, thinly sliced
- 1/3 cup caramelized onions, jarred or homemade
- 1/3 cup IKEA gravy, prepared according to package instructions
- Lingonberry jam or other tart jam for garnishing
- Minced chives, optional
Preheat oven to 500 degrees Fahrenheit with a pizza stone positioned on the middle rack. Let stone heat for 45 minutes to an hour in advance to ensure a crisp crust. If you do not have a pizza stone, use a heavy duty baking sheet flipped over to the smooth side.
Bring a pot of water to boil, add salt, and blanch the potato slices until just tender. Drain and pat dry.
When the stone is nearly done heating, roll out pizza dough to a 12-inch circle. Transfer dough round to a sheet of parchment paper.
Brush the dough with a thin layer of olive oil all the way to the edges. Spread gravy over the dough, leaving a one-inch border. Scatter over the onions, followed by the meatballs and potato slices.
Use the edge of the parchment paper to drag the pizza onto the stone or baking sheet—with the paper still underneath it. (Note: if you have a pizza peel, you can use it to transfer the pizza to the stone. I recommend using the parchment paper, though, as the pizza is rather heavy once all the ingredients are piled on.)
Bake pizza on the hot stone for 10 minutes, checking it and rotating it halfway through, if possible. The crust should be golden and crisp.
Allow pizza to cool for a few minutes then dot with lingonberry jam, sprinkle with chives if using, and slice.