Soutzoukakia is a delicious dish that was introduced to the Greek cuisine by immigrants in the beginning of the 20th century (from the city of Smyrni or “Izmir”). A dish packed with Mediterranean flavours, covered in a rich tomato sauce! Its secret ingredient is the cumin, a very fragrant spice that infuses the meat with its unique aroma – use it in moderation as it can be a little overpowering! Serve this extra hearty Greek dish with rice, fried potatoes or pasta!

Serves: 6 Preparation: 25′ Cooks in: 35′ Ready in: 60′

Ingredients
750gr ground beef
3 thick slices white bread, stale, crusts removed
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 egg, slightly beaten
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil + a little extra
2 tsp cumin, ground
¼ cup red wine
salt, fleshly ground black pepper

For the red sauce:
400ml tomato juice
3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 bay leaf
1 cinnamon stick
1 tsp cumin, ground
salt, fleshly ground black pepper

Method

Step 1
Soak bread in water for 15 minutes, squeeze water out really well, then mash with a fork.

Step 2
In a bowl mix all ingredients with the bread, salt and pepper, until well combined. Leave in the refrigerator for 15 minutes.

Step 3
Turn your oven on to 200C. Wet your hands in the wine and shape oblong meatballs or round (the size doesn’t matter, it’s just a tradition). Arrange in an oiled baking dish, drizzle with some olive oil and bake for 15 minutes or so, until colored.

Step 4 
For the sauce: Mix all ingredients in a bowl and pour over the meatballs. Bake for another 15-20 minutes until sauce thickens. Serve hot alongside rice, potatoes or pasta.

Photo George Drakopoulos – Food styling Εlena Jeffrey

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