Soutzoukakia Smyrneika – Greek Meatballs with Red Sauce
Well, the following is a recipe that comes from Asia Minor and Ismir, or Smirni as they used to call the city. It’s the Greek way to make meatballs with red sauce and it’s called Soutzoukakia Smyrneika.
As I said, my father’s family was coming from Smyrni or the city that is called now Ismir and it’s in the middle of Asia minor, or else Turkey. Couple of years ago a lot of Greeks used to live over there but after the Greek Turkish war (one of the many we had) they had to leave and come to Greece. But enough with history and politics… this is a recipe that the Greeks did in Ismir and its there version of Meatballs with red sauce. That’s why the full name is “Soutzoukakia Smyrneika” as they were cooked in Smyrni.
There are some different kinds of versions on the net regarding the recipe for Soutzoukakia but since my Grandmother was from Smyrni, this is as traditional recipe as it gets. After all when I asked my mother specifically if that’s the way my grandmother was doing them, her answer was pretty clear…
“If I dared to change the recipe of your father’s mother, he would kill me…”
So let’s try to see
INGREDIENTS SOUTZOUKAKIA SMYRNEIKA (greek meatballs)
- 500gr of beef minced meat
- 1 onion chopped
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1 cup of rice
- Olive oil, salt and pepper
- 2 teaspoons of cumin
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 cup of rice
- 1 can of tomato juice
- crumb from 2 slices of bread
In a big pot you add the minced meat, onions, garlic, salt, pepper , a bit of olive oil and the cumin. Use your hands and mix them in a big bowl.
You should try and mould them in a big ball and place them in the fridge for 15 minutes. After that, remove it and start making your meatballs. They should be thin and long as much as possible.
Make sure that you put in to your fingers some vinegar and “wet” the outside of the soutzoukakia with your fingers
In a frying pan, we add some olive oil in medium heat and then place each one and fry them for 5 mins from each side. Just enough so they can get a bit brownish from each side.
Remove them from the pan and place them on the side. On the same pan, add some olive oil and garlic cloves in medium heat. Add the tomato juice, cinnamon stick, a bit of water and the meatballs in and let them boil for 30 minutes. Just enough so the sauce mixes properly with your meatballs.
Make the rice as you would normally do and serve them pipping hot!