Meatballs with tomato sauce

These meatballs are made from the same meat mixture that is used to stuff cabbage leaves and wax peppers. They are cooked in salty water and eaten with tomato sauce (sometimes boiled potatoes are served as well). Meat needs to be a little saltier than usual because a large percentage of its salt content will dissolve in the cooking liquid. Besides salt, pepper and paprika I also add a dash of nutmeg and a pinch of summer savory to the mixture, but you can omit those spices if you stick to the traditional taste.


For the meatballs:

  • 500 g (~1 lb) ground pork
  • 150 g (~2/3 cup) rice
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 egg
  • 1-2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tbsp paprika
  • pinch of summer savory (optional)
  • dash of nutmeg (optional)

For the tomato sauce:

  • 1 liter (~4 cups) tomato juice
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 3 tbsp flour
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • pinch of salt

In a non-stick pan heat 1 tablespoon of oil, add finely chopped onions and sautée until soft. Rinse the rice. Place the ground pork in a mixing bowl, add sautéed onions, finely chopped garlic, rice, egg and spices, and mix them up thoroughly. Shape the meat mixture into small balls.

Bring a pot of salty water to a boil, carefully slide in the meatballs and cook them for about 18-20 minutes (take out a ball and cut into half to check if the rice is cooked). Remove the meatballs from the water with a slotted spoon and transfer them onto a plate.

For the tomato sauce heat the oil, add flour and make a blonde roux. Pour in tomato juice, then add salt and sugar. While stirring constantly, bring it to a boil and cook for 3-4 minutes. Serve hot with the meatballs.

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