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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.
Course dinner, Lunch, meze
Cuisine Greek, Greek cuisine, Mediterranean diet
Keyword Diane Kochilas, Greek olive oil, Greek wine, meatballs, red wine, Smyrna, tomato sauce
PREP TIME 15 minutes
COOK TIME 50 minutes


  • 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.