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Milk Street Bowtie Greek Meatballs with Tomato Sauce (Soutzoukakia)

Greek Meatballs with Tomato Sauce (Soutzoukakia)

4 to 6 Servings

1 hour 20 minutes

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Known as soutzoukakia, these cigar-shaped meatballs are seasoned with cumin and garlic, then simmered in tomato sauce. The dish has origins in Smyrna, a former Greek settlement and now the Turkish city of Izmir on the Aegean coast. Our recipe is based on the soutzoukakia we learned from Alexandra Manousakis and Afshin Molavi of Manousakis Winery on the Greek island of Crete. Made with a combination of ground lamb and beef, the meatballs have a deep, rich flavor perfectly matched by the tangy-sweet tomato sauce. If you prefer, you can use 1 pound of either type of meat. An instant thermometer is the best way to check the meatballs for doneness; alternatively, cut one open—when done, the center should not be pink. The meatballs are browned on the stovetop, then finish cooking in the same pan in the oven, so you will need a 12-inch oven-safe skillet for this recipe. Soutzoukakia typically are offered as part of a meze spread, but served with rice, they’re a terrific main.

4 to 6

Servings

Tip

Don’t use tongs to turn the meatballs in the skillet. Until they’re browned on all sides, the soutzoukakia are quite delicate and easily marred by tongs. A thin metal spatula is better for rotating them.

1 hour 20 minutes

2 medium yellow onions, peeled
3 tablespoons panko breadcrumbs
Kosher salt and ground black pepper
1 1/2 pounds ripe tomatoes, halved
8 ounces 80 percent lean ground beef (see headnote)
8 ounces ground lamb
4 medium garlic cloves, finely grated
4 tablespoons finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, divided
4 tablespoons finely chopped fresh mint, divided
3 teaspoons dried oregano, divided
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon sweet paprika
1 large egg, beaten
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
2 tablespoons tomato paste
Ingredients
  • 2

    medium yellow onions, peeled

  • 3

    tablespoons panko breadcrumbs

  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper

  • pounds ripe tomatoes, halved

  • 8

    ounces 80 percent lean ground beef (see headnote)

  • 8

    ounces ground lamb

  • 4

    medium garlic cloves, finely grated

  • 4

    tablespoons finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, divided

  • 4

    tablespoons finely chopped fresh mint, divided

  • 3

    teaspoons dried oregano, divided

  • 1

    teaspoon ground cumin

  • 1

    teaspoon sweet paprika

  • 1

    large egg, beaten

  • 4

    tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided

  • 2

    tablespoons tomato paste

Directions

Greek Meatballs with Tomato Sauce (Soutzoukakia)

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Reviews
Chrissie S.
October 3, 2022
Nice recipe
The shape of the meatballs is not easy to work with. I will make this again but will try round meatball shapes instead. Also may increase the sauce a bit.
Robert F.
June 20, 2022
Really delicious
My wife and I love this dish. Easy to make and great with wine.
Kelly B.

Good, but didn’t wow. Will try again with crushed tomatoes, thinking the fresh tomatoes were lacking flavor this time of year. Summer tomatoes from the garden should be wonderful in this recipe. Will also use fresh oregano instead of dried in the meatball herb blend and sauce for added flavor.