A few weeks ago, I posted a recipe from the holy grail of Greek cooking, Tselementes. In that I post, (which you can find here) promised to slowly work my way through the book and share with you my efforts In respect of Mr Tselementes' recipes - tweaked every so often with the wise counsel of Ma, having resulted from her 50+ years experience cooking with Tselementes. So, without further delay, in the post I give you Mr Tselementes' recipe for soutzoukakia (σουτζουκάκια) - otherwise known as Smyrna sausages or meatballs.
These hard to pronounce delights are basically a spicy meatball shaped like a small sausage, cooked in a simple tomato sauce. They are a favourite at big Greek family gatherings, but also simple occasions such as a long and relaxed Sunday family lunch. The reference to 'Smyrna sausages' is a homage to the Greeks who left Smyrna and brought this dish with them to Greece.
For a homely meal, souztoukakia are perfect with a side dish of rice pilaf, simple steamed rice, mashed potatoes or - for a bit more of a party some homemade potato chips and a simple tomato/cucumber salad.
Tselementes' Soutzoukakia (σουτζουκάκια) (Smyrna Sausages)
1 & 1/2 lbs. chopped meat (about 700 grams)
1 cup moist bread crumbs
2 cloves of chopped garlic
1 chopped onion
1 teaspoon of cumin seeds
1 can of tomatoes
1 teaspoon of sugar
oil or butter for frying
Mix ingredients and make rolls about 5 inches long in the shape of a sausage.
(Ma's tip: once you have rolled out the meatballs, place them in the fridge on a tray line with baking paper for around half an hour, to firm into shape).
Fry in hot oil or butter.
Prepare the tomato sauce with tomatoes, sugar, salt and pepper. Simmer for about 15 minutes. Add sausages and simmer for 10 minutes longer.
Serve hot and garnish with fried potatoes or a salad.
(I also added some freshly blanched broad beans, simply because we have an abundance of them in the garden - and a little chopped parsley. I also used a can of cherry tomatoes - just for a little bit of extra texture. Give them a bit of a squish as you first simmer the tomato sauce, before adding the meatballs).