This is my Soutzoukakia recipe - a traditional Greek spiced meatballs recipe. This dish is also known in Greece as Smyrna meatballs, Soutzoukakia Smyrneika or İzmir Köfte. That’s because the dish arrived in Greece via immigrants from Smyrna (now called Izmir), in Anatolia, Turkey, which was often referred to as ‘Asia Minor’.
This hearty Greek dish provides a fabulous combination of Mediterranean flavours. The cinnamon gives a gentle warmth, but it is the unique savoury note provided by the cumin that makes Soutzoukakia unlike anything else. These flavoursome meatballs cooked in a rich, thick tomato sauce are definitely considered ‘the main event’ for my family’s dinner (served with either rice or mashed potatoes), but they can also be considered a side dish as part of a larger feast. Please invite me!
Add the beef mince, onion, garlic, olive oil, breadcrumbs, salt, pepper and cumin in a bowl and mix until combined.
Shape the mixture in long “sausage-shaped” meatballs and refrigirate for 15-20 minutes so they can get firm.
Add vegetable oil in a nonstick pan (enough to cover the entire surface) and fry them in medium heat, (approx. 5 minutes).
Once they are cooked on all sides, add the red wine, let them simmer until it evaporates and set them aside.
Tomato Sauce: On the same pan add the olive oil, onion and garlic, and sauté them in medium heat (approx 3-4 minutes).
Add the tomato sauce, the fresh tomato, cinnamon, salt, cumin and water and simmer for 10 minutes in low heat.