Soutzoukakia – Cumin Meatballs in Tomato Sauce

Ingredients for 4 people

For the cumin meatballs
4 slices of white bread (you can use wholemeal if you wish)
100ml water
100ml red wine
250g minced beef and 250g minced pork
1 ½ tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp Greek oregano
3 garlic cloves
100g of plain flour for rolling the meatballs in
Vegetable oil for frying
Salt and pepper

For the sauce:
1 tin chopped tomatoes
1 tbsp. tomato puree
1 medium onion
1 cinnamon stick
2 bay leaves
300ml water

Method

For the meatballs:
Firstly, remove the crusts of the sliced bread. Then place in a bowl and soak the slices in water.

Now add the two minces in a separate bowl along with the the cumin and oregano.
Mince the garlic and mix with 1/4 teaspoon of salt. Incorporate the garlic/salt mixture to the bowl with the mince.
Squeeze the water from the bread and add to the bowl.
Follow with the wine and a generous amount of freshly ground black pepper.

Using your hands mix everything together really well. This part is key, because you want everything to combine really well.

Let the mixture sit for half an hour (or overnight) in the fridge.

Once you are ready, take the mixture out of the fridge.
Shape the meatballs into long oval shapes, which is the traditional shape of this dish.
Add a generous amount of flour to a container. Add the meatballs and roll them in the flour.

Place a non stick pan over medium to high heat. Add 5 to 6 tablespoons of vegetable oil. Let it heat for 1 minute.
Shake off excess flour and add the meatballs to the pan one at a time. Brown them on both sides for about 5/6 minutes in total. This is because the meatballs will cook further in the sauce.
When ready, remove from pan and place them on a plate lined with kitchen towel so they can drain from any excess oil.
Set aside ready to add to the sauce later.

To make the sauce: – chop the onion.

Place a pan over medium heat and add 3 tablespoons of olive oil.
Cook the onion for 5 minutes, until translucent. Mix in the tomato puree. Cook for a couple minutes.
Then add the chopped tomatoes, bay leaves, cinnamon stick and water. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Cook over medium heat for half an hour.

When the sauce is ready, leave to cool down for 20 minutes. Remove the bay leaves and cinnamon. Now put the sauce in a blender. Blend until smooth.

Put the smooth sauce back in the pan and arrange the meatballs nicely. Cook for 30 minutes.

Serve with rice, mashed potatoes, cous cous.
Enjoy!