Meatball Sausages Smyrna Style / Soutzoukakia Smyrneika

These soul-warming, aromatic meatball sausages are one of the most comforting and popular recipes in all of Greek cuisine. Try thickening the sauce with a little Santorini tomato paste, and use real Greek olive oil for the best results. To find both, go to my online store here.
15 min
50 min


  • 2 wedges 2 inches/5 cm thick Italian bread, white part only
  • 1/3 cup/80 ml dry red wine
  • 1 ½ pounds/675 g. ground beef
  • ½ cup plus 2 Tbsp. finely chopped onion
  • 1-3 garlic cloves finely chopped
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 scant tsp. ground cumin
  • 1 Tbsp. plus 1 tsp. quality red wine vinegar
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • Olive oil for frying
  • For the Sauce
  • ¼ cup/60 ml extra-virgin Greek olive oil
  • 2-3 Tbsp. butter
  • 2 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
  • 2 ¼ cups finely chopped peeled tomatoes with juice
  • ½ cup/120 ml dry red wine
  • ½ tsp. sugar
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste


  1. 1. In a medium-size bowl, soak bread in red wine and set aside until ready to use.
  2. 2. In a medium-size bowl, combine ground beef, onion, garlic, parsley, cumin, and vinegar. Add wine-soaked bread, season with salt and pepper, and knead well until all ingredients are thoroughly mixed. Take 1 heaping tablespoon at a time and shape into oval nuggets about 2 inches/5 cm long. Carefully place in a dish or bowl, cover, and let stand in the refrigerator for 1 hour before cooking.
  3. 3. When ready to cook soutzoukakia, heat olive oil in a large heavy skillet and brown soutzoukakia lightly, turning on all sides to cook evenly. Remove from skillet with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels.
  4. 4. To prepare sauce: In a separate large heavy pot, heat olive oil and butter and add flour. Stir vigorously with a wooden spoon until flour browns very lightly. Add tomatoes, wine, sugar, salt, and pepper and bring to a boil. Add soutzoukakia to sauce. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer until meat is tender and sauce thick, about 50 minutes. Add a bit of water during cooking to keep the sauce from reducing too much.

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