Friday, May 2, 2014

Soutzoukakia (Cumin Meatballs in Tomato)


I love the food section of the local paper, do you?  I love it so much, that I stalk in on the app, just waiting for what they are going to share during the upcoming week.  This week the St. Louis Post-Dispatch featured one of my favorite spices, cumin.  One recipe that looked most interesting was the one for Greek Meatballs, Soutzoukakia.  Now I know I should be working on a Derby Day Brunch, or a Cinco de Mayo feast, but I just had to give these a try.  As it turned out they were very easy and perfect for a weeknight meal, and

I loved them!  Unique, and yummy, I served them with mashed potatoes, as suggested, and a Greek Salad.  According to the Post, this recipe is from the book Food from Many Greek Kitchens by Tessa Kiros.  The search begins!

Give these a try the next time you have ground beef on hand.  I had a pound of ground chuck so sort of halved the recipe (with the exception of the wine, I tend to err on the side of largess when it comes to wine), using 2 pieces of crustless sourdough that I had on hand, one large egg, one14.5 ounce can of diced tomatoes that I crushed with an immersion blender, and halved the other ingredients.  I topped them with freshly chopped parsley and a sprinkling of Feta.

Soutzoukakia (Cumin Meatballs in Tomato)

3½ ounces crustless bread (about 3 slices), torn up
¾ cup milk
1 pound, 9 ounces ground beef
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 tablespoons chopped Italian parsley
3 garlic cloves, 2 finely chopped, 1 whole
Salt and black pepper
7 tablespoons olive oil, divided
2 (14-ounce) cans crushed tomatoes
½ cup red wine

Place bread in a bowl, cover with the milk and leave it for about 10 minutes to soak and soften.

In another bowl, put the beef, egg, cumin, parsley and chopped garlic, and season with salt and pepper. Squeeze excess milk out from the bread and add the bread to the beef. Mix in very well with a wooden spoon and then with your hands. Form into 15 to 20 elongated meatballs of about 1¾ ounces each. Line them up on a tray.

Heat 3 tablespoons of the oil in a nonstick pot, add the whole clove of garlic and, after the garlic becomes fragrant (about 1 minute) add the tomatoes. Season with salt and a little pepper, cover and simmer 10 minutes.

Heat the remaining oil in a large nonstick skillet that has a lid. Add the meatballs (they should all just fit if you have a big skillet). Cook until golden all over, gently turning them with tongs. When they are gently browned, add the wine and cook on high heat for 5 to 6 minutes until it reduces. Pour the tomato sauce over the meatballs and bring it to a gentle boil. Cover, lower the heat and simmer 20 minutes, shaking the skillet once or twice to keep the meat from sticking.

Allow to rest, covered but off the heat, a few minutes before serving. Serve with rice, mashed potatoes or french fries.

Yield: 4 to 6 servings

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Marigene said...

Another cumin lover here...those sound delicious, Pattie.

~~louise~~ said...

Cumin in meatballs? Unique indeed Pattie!

I use to save the food sections from the newspapers. I had them for years and years and then one day, I tossed them all. Oh how I wish I hadn't!

Thank you so much for sharing, Pattie and thank you so much for joining us for Meatball Day!