Spicy Meatballs With Fragrant Tomato Sauce

READY IN: 50mins
Recipe by Tarbean

Recipe taken from Fine Cooking. This can be served over herbed couscous, steamed rice or whatever else tickles your fancy. For people out there who hate tomato chunks in their food, my husband for example, puree the tomatoes first. This said it makes about 30 meatballs. I ended up with 20.

Top Review by AreThree

I've had this dish several times, and it really is quite flavorful and unique. It's a great break from the tired ways of using ground beef. I make it once every two to three months when I get the desire for it, and the urge for something a bit different.

Ingredients Nutrition


  1. Combine breadcrumbs and milk in mixing bowl and let sit 5 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, heat oil in a heavy 10" skillet over medium heat. Add onion and sauté till translucent, about 5 minute.
  3. Add 1 tsp cumin, cinnamon and 1/8 tsp cayenne. Cook 30 seconds.
  4. Add tomatoes and juices, 1 cup water, and 1/2 tsp salt. Increase heat to high and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to a steady simmer and cook for 15 minutes.
  5. While the sauce simmers, prepare the meatballs. Mash the breadcrumbs and milk with a fork to a smooth paste. Add the beef, remaining 1 tsp cumin and 1/8 tsp cayenne, 1/2 the cilantro, 1 1/2 tsp salt, and several grinds of pepper. Mix with your hands until thoroughly combined.
  6. Wet your hands to keep the mixture from sticking to them. Roll a couple of tablespoons into 1 1/2" balls; you should have about 30.
  7. Nestle the meatballs into the sauce, cover, and cook for 10 minutes.
  8. Remove lid and continue to simmer for another 5 minutes to thicken the sauce.
  9. Stir in the remaining cilantro and season with salt and pepper to taste.

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