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Greek Meatballs (Soutzoukakia)
Greek Meatballs (Soutzoukakia)

 For the meatballs

  • Beat the olive oil and garlic in a food processor.
  • Transfer to a bowl and add the milk, ouzo and the egg.
  • Whisk for 30 seconds to combine well.
  • Add the pieces of bread, cumin, chili flakes and finely chopped mint.
  • It is better to wear disposable gloves when handling the mixture and the raw meat.
  • Mash the mixture together with your hands, until the bread breaks up completely.
  • Add a generous amount of salt and pepper.
  • Add the ground beef and the ground pork. Mix again with your hands  until all of the ingredients are completely combined.
  •   Shape the mixture in to long oval shapes, which is the traditional shape of these meatballs. They should weigh about 30-50 g each.
  • Add a generous amount of flour to a container. Add the meatballs and dredge them in the flour.
  • Place a nonstick pan over medium to high heat.
  • Add the vegetable oil and 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 minutes total. They will cook further on the stove.
  • When ready, remove from pan and place them on a plate lined with paper towels so they can drain from any excess oil.
  • Set aside until needed.

For the sauce

  • Place a pot over medium heat.
  • Coarsely chop the onion.
  • Add the tablespoon of olive oil to the pot.
  • Add the onion and sugar.
  • Stir and sauté until the onion caramelizes nicely.
  • Then add the tomato paste and sauté for at least 1-2 minutes.
  • Sautéing the tomato paste helps give it a nicer flavor and helps the sauce thicken better.
  • Add the cinnamon, bay leaves, bouillon cube, tomato and water.
  • Stir and add the meatballs.
  • Lower heat, cover pot and simmer for 10 minutes, until the sauce thickens and the meatballs are ready.
  • Serve with basmati rice and finely chopped fresh mint! 
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