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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.
medium yellow onions, peeled
tablespoons panko breadcrumbs
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