Greek Meatballs in Tomato Sauce (Soutzoukakia Smyrneika)

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These cigar shaped meatballs originated in the Greek community of Smyrna (now the Turkish city of Izmir).  This is an adaptation of a recipe from  It took about an hour and made 4 servings.  I served it with sautéed mushrooms and a baguette.

½ cup panko breadcrumbs

1 large egg

½ cup water

1 lb. ground pork

2 tsp. ground cumin

4 cloves garlic, finely chopped – divided

¾ tsp. red pepper flakes – divided

2 Tbs. chopped fresh oregano – divided

1 tsp. kosher salt – divided

¾ tsp. black pepper – divided

2 Tbs. olive oil

28 oz. can crushed tomatoes

½ tsp. ground cinnamon

2 tsp. honey

In a medium bowl, beat together the egg and water and then add the panko.  Stir until the panko incorporates the liquids.  Allow to rest for 5 minutes.

In a large bowl, mix together the panko, pork, cumin, 2 chopped garlic cloves, ½ tsp. red pepper flakes, 1 Tbs. chopped fresh oregano, ¾ tsp. kosher salt, ½ tsp. black pepper.  Divide into 12 portions (a scant ¼ cup each) and form into cylinders.

In a large skillet heat the olive oil over medium high heat until shimmering.  Add the meatballs and allow to brown without disturbing them for 4 minutes.  Turn them over and brown the other side for another 4 minutes.  Remove the meatballs to a plate with a paper towel.

Cook the remaining 2 chopped garlic cloves in the hot oil until fragrant.  Add the remaining ¼ tsp. of red pepper flakes and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.  Add the crushed tomatoes, cinnamon, honey, remaining ¼ tsp. of kosher salt and ¼ tsp. of black pepper.  Stir well,  and return the meatballs to the pan.  Cover and simmer for about 15 minutes until the meatballs are cooked through.  Check the seasoning of the sauce and serve with your favorite starch.


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