Greek Soutzoukakia - meatballs with cumin in red sauce

Greek Soutzoukakia – meatballs with cumin in red sauce

  • Author: Jenny Skrapaliori-Graves
  • Prep Time: 30 min
  • Cook Time: 20 min
  • Total Time: 50 minutes


Delicious meatballs with cumin and mint in a spicy sweet red sauce.



Makes 4-6 servings

For the meatballs

  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 cloves of garlic finelly minced
  • 0.5 lb ground beef
  • 0.5 lb ground pork
  • 1 cup white bread, torn into very small pieces
  • 1/2 cup milk 2% fat
  • 1 egg
  • pinch of chili flakes
  • 2 full teaspoons ground cumin
  • a handful finally chopped mint
  • 1 shot of ouzo
  • 1/2 cup flour 
  • 1/3 cup light olive oil, for frying
  • sea salt
  • fresh ground pepper

For the sauce

  • 1 tbs olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, roughly chopped
  • 1 tbs tomato paste
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 cup water
  • 12 pinches of red chili flakes
  • 1 organic chicken bouillon cube
  • 14.5 oz can chopped tomatoes
  • ½ tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 1 cinnamon stick or 1 tsp ground cinnamon


Make the sauce

  • In a large pot heat the extra virgin olive oil in medium heat. Add the onion and the sugar.
  • Sauté onion for 2-3 minutes.
  • Add the tomato paste and sauté for at least 1-2 minutes.
  • Add the tomatoes and the cinnamon, bay leaves, the bouillon cube and the cup of water.
  • Stir well and let it simmer while you make the meatballs. 

Make the meatballs

  • Beat the pieces of bread in a food processor. Transfer to a bowl.
  • In a bowl mixture  olive oil, garlic, cumin, chili flakes and the finely chopped mint. Add the milk, ouzo, the egg, and mix well. 
  • Add the ground beef and pork .
  • Mix all together really well.
  • Add a generous pinch of salt and sprinkle of fresh ground pepper.
  • Mix again until all of the ingredients are very well combined.
  • Take a full tablespoon of the mixture and shape in to long oval shapes, like the shape of a football. This is the traditional shape of these meatballs. 
  • Roll each meatball in the flour, shake off excess and set them aside on a plate. 
  • Place a frying pan over medium high heat.
  • Add the light olive oil and let it heat for 1 minute.
  • Add the meatballs to the pan one at a time. Brown them on both sides for about 2 minutes each side. 
  • Place meatballs on paper towels to absorb any excess oil. Set aside until needed.

Assemble and finish cooking

  • Add the meatballs carefully one by one in the sauce.
  • Cover the pot and simmer in low heat for 15 minutes or until he meatballs are cooked through.

Serve 2-3 meatballs with sauce over mashed potatoes or rice with a sprinkle of finely chopped fresh mint.

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