SOUZOUKAKIA: GREEK STYLE MEATBALLS IN TOMATO SAUCE
For the meatballs:
- 1 pound ground beef (85%lean)
- 1 medium onion, very finely chopped
- 3/4 cup Panko bread crumbs
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1/4 cup shredded parmesan
- 1/4 cup chopped parsley
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1 egg, beaten
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
For the tomato sauce:
- 1 (28 ounce) can tomatoes and all of their juices, pureed
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1 small onion, very finely chopped
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 3/4 teaspoon sugar or honey
- 1 bay leaf
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon oregano
- salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- fresh basil leaves for garnish
- This is the Greek version of Spaghetti and meatballs. I don't always serve my souzoukakia with spaghetti. I prefer crusty Italian bread and a nice salad. My mom made them with potatoes. I love eating them that way!
- You can add potatoes as well. To do that, just peel and cut about 4 Russet potatoes and place them in the baking dish with the broiled souzoukakia and the sauce. I would just add a half cup of water and a teaspoon of salt and also extend the baking time to 50 minutes.
- Traditionally, the souzoukakia are fried and then cooked in the tomato sauce either on the stove top or in the oven. As you know, I'm not a huge fan of frying. I don't fancy cleaning up all of that oil splatter and mess that's frying creates. So I broil them and VOILA! Not only is the cleanup reduces, but the dish is much healthier too! A win win 🙂
- Give it a try. Children especially love this dish!
- Chop the garlic in the food processor until minced. Add the onion and pulse until very finely chopped.
- Put the garlic and onion in a bowl lined with paper towel to catch the juices and to dry the onion before adding to the meat.
- Whisk the milk and egg together.
- Combine the ground beef, onion, garlic, bread crumbs, parmesan and all of the ingredients.
- Mix well with your clean hands.
- Cover the mixture with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least one hour up to overnight if you can. This allows all of the flavors to really come together. I have made these in a hurry without refrigerating the mixture and it comes out very good.
- Turn your broiler on high.
- Form the souzoukakia into oblong shaped meatballs. Place them on a baking sheet.
- Broil them for 5 minutes on each side and then remove from oven.
- Prepare the tomato sauce by cooking the chopped onion in the olive oil over medium heat until golden and soft. About 10 minutes.
- Add garlic and cook about 2-3 minutes on low heat.
- Add the pureed canned tomatoes, sugar, cinnamon, bay leaf, salt & pepper. Bring to a boil and then lower the heat to low. Cover the pot and simmer for 15 minutes. In the meantime, preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Make sure to cover the pot, otherwise you'll have lots and lots of sauce splatter to clean up...
- Check the seasoning and add salt if necessary. Add oregano.
- Place the broiled souzoukakia in a 9 by 13 inch baking dish. Pour the tomato sauce over them.
- Bake in the preheated oven for 30-35 minutes.
- Remove from oven and garnish with basil leaves.
- Serve with rice, spaghetti, crusty Italian bread or potatoes and a nice salad. Enjoy!
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