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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!
Very tasty! Family loved it. Will definitely make again!
I made my meatballs using ground beef,parmesan and crushed tomatoes for the sause. Meatballs are very delicate and difficult to turn when frying ,they are easily fall apart. I made these meatballs in hope they would taste like the ones we had in Athens 2 weeks ago but they didn't. They were not bad but just did not taste autentically Greek.