Prep 30 mins
Cook 45 mins
Lovely, delicately seasoned meatballs in a tomato sauce done in the style of the Greeks from Smyrna. This is a warming, hearty dish, great year round, but especially in winter.
- 2 slices thick dense bread (crusts removed)
- 1⁄2 cup dry red wine
- 1 lb ground lean meat (beef or veal)
- 1⁄2 cup finely chopped onion
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- 1 egg
- 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
- 2 tablespoons grated kefalograviera cheese (parmesan makes an excellent substitute) or 2 tablespoons mizithra cheese (parmesan makes an excellent substitute)
- 1⁄2 teaspoon oregano
- 1⁄2 teaspoon ground cumin
- salt and pepper
- flour (for dredging)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 lbs fresh tomatoes
- 1 tablespoon vinegar
- 1 garlic clove, chopped
- 1 bay leaf
- 3⁄4 teaspoon sugar
- 1⁄2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1⁄4 teaspoon ground cloves
- Soak the bread in the wine for about 5 minutes, or until thoroughly softened.
- Then, squeeze out and reserve the excess wine.
- In a large bowl, combine the ground meat with the wine soaked bread, onion, garlic, egg, parsley, grated cheese, cumin, and salt and pepper to taste.
- Mix the ingredients until thoroughly blended.
- Cover and chill for 1 to 2 hours.
- Dampen your hands, pinch off small portions of meat mixture, about the quantity of a teaspoon or just over, and shape into approximately 20 oval rolls (looks sort of like an elongated, slightly flattened, meatball).
- Dredge them in flour.
- Heat olive oil in a large frying pan.
- Add the meatballs and fry until browned all over, turning occasionally and allowing time for the meat to cook thoroughly. (alternatively, if you want a 'lighter' recipe, you could just brown in a non-stick pan or bake them in the oven - not as flavourful, but still good).
- Remove from the pan using a slotted spoon and set aside.
- Strain the oil you fried the meatballs in through a fine sieve into a cooking pan.
- Add all the sauce ingredients, and the reserved wine.
- Bring to a boil and simmer until the sauce is thick.
- Drop in the meatballs, stir to cover all over with the sauce, and simmer covered for 15 minutes.
- Serve hot with rice, french fries, or mashed potatoes.
I really liked the flavor the wine gave to the meat. It was delicious even though I forgot the cheese. For the sauce however, I used a few cans of diced tomatoes and a can of tomato sauce. I also added a little more cinnamon and simmered it uncovered for a longer time in order for the sauce to thicken. I served it over noodles with additional parmesano regianno cheese. YUM!
This was good, but not great. I tried it after another sites (MyGreekDish) and theirs was better. Part of it was that the cinnamon was in the meatball, and the onion was in the sauce (which is the opposite of this). I have been realizing that I do not like fresh onion in meatballs, so that may be part of it.
Very tasty! Family loved it. Will definitely make again!