Calliope's Real Greek Food

cooking & stories in my Brooklyn kitchen

Soutzoukakia Smyrneika

 {Smyrna Meatballs & Sauce}

The Greeks from Smyrna came to Greece as refuges in the early 1920s after the Asia Minor catastrophe, bringing a whole new culture to the poor Greek society. Their sophisticated cuisine was of great influence to the simple, peasant style Greek cooking. We owe the Greeks of Asia Minor many signature dishes, like the famous ‘moussaka’. This is another example of their aromatic cuisine.

Preparation Method for meatballs

1.     In a bowl, soak the bread in Mavrodaphne wine for a few minutes

2.     Squeeze out the liquid from the bread and crumble it; keep the wine on the side

3.     Put the ground beef in a medium sized bowl and add the crumbled bread

4.     Add the garlic, the olive oil, the cumin, salt & pepper

5.     Mix well using your hands

6.     To roll, soak your hands in the remaining wine and take portions of meat about the size of a large walnut and form sausage like rolls

7.     Place the meatballs on a baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes at 400F

8.     Prepare the sauce, putting all the ingredients in a large saucepan and allowing to boil for 15 minutes

9.     When the meatballs are ready, place them in the sauce and simmer for 10 minutes until sauce thickens

Ingredients for meatballs

-       1 pound of ground beef, preferably grass fed

-       2 cloves of garlic, crashed

-       1 teaspoon cumin

-       2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

-       2 slices of stale bread

-       1/2 cup Mavrodaphne (sweet) wine or Madeira

-       salt & pepper


Ingredients for sauce

-       ½ cup extra virgin olive oil

-       2 pounds ground or strained tomatoes

-       1 tbsp. tomato paste

-       dash of cinnamon

-       allspice

-       salt & black pepper




Preparation Time: 15 minutes

Cooking Time: 20 minutes

Serves: 4 (app.14 pieces)