Tag Archives: ground beef

Soutzoukakia: Greek Baked Meatballs In Tomato Sauce

Over the course of nearly 9 years writing this blog, I have posted numerous meatball recipes from many different cultures. Until The Hubs recently came across this one from The Mediterranean Dish, we had never heard of Soutzoukakia, football-shaped Greek meatballs.

Soutzoukakia is not an easy word to enunciate, so try this “soot-zoo-KAH-kee-ah”. Flavor-packed meatballs with loads of aromatics, fresh parsley, and a special blend of spices, including ground cumin and a touch of cinnamon baked in a rich tomato sauce.

Soutzoukakia are delicious meatballs made with ground beef, onions, garlic, fresh herbs, and a unique spice combination, the star of which is cumin. The cumin’s warm and distinctive flavor with bitter, lemony undertones provides a great earthy base here. Adding to the flavor is the epic tomato sauce scented with bay, garlic and a touch of cinnamon.

The meatballs are baked in the sauce to create a dish that is comfort food at it’s finest. The secret to making great meatballs that are extra tender and juicy? Add pieces of milk-soaked bread and use a light hand when mixing and forming the meatballs. (With no whole wheat bread slices on hand, we incorporated a toasted hamburger roll.)

When you first eyeball all of the ingredients, you may say “No way!” But if you look a little closer, you’ll notice that 4 of those ingredients repeat in both the meatballs and in the sauce. Plus, there is no need to brown the meatballs, which is a time-saver in itself.

To make ahead, you can prep both the sauce and meatball mixture the day before. Mix the meatball mixture and keep it in the fridge for up to one day in advance. When you’re ready, form the meat into oblong shapes, place them in an oiled baking dish, and pour the sauce over. Bake and serve. Quickly cook up some rice or orzo and heap meatballs and sauce atop them. Dinner done.

Soutzoukakia: Greek Baked Meatballs In Tomato Sauce

  • Servings: Yields 16 meatballs
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

For Meatballs

  • 2 slices whole wheat bread, toast-size, toasted to a medium-brown (or use gluten free bread if you need)
  • ⅓ cup whole milk
  • 1½ lbs. lean ground beef
  • 1 small yellow onion, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 medium eggs
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • ½ tsp. ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp. dried oregano
  • ½ cup chopped fresh parsley
  • Kosher salt and black pepper
  • Extra virgin olive oil, to grease the baking dish

For Red Sauce

  • 2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • ½ cup dry red wine
  • 30 oz. canned tomato sauce, that’s 2, 15-oz. cans of sauce
  • 1 bay leaf
  • ¾ tsp. ground cumin
  • ½ tsp. cinnamon
  • ½ tsp. sugar
  • Kosher salt and black pepper

Directions

  1. In a small bowl, place the toasted bread and cover with milk (or water) to soak. When bread is soft and well-soaked, squeeze the liquid out completely and discard remaining milk if any.
  2. Transfer the bread to a large mixing bowl. Add round beef and remaining meatball ingredients. Knead well until well-combined. Cover the meat mixture and rest in the fridge for now.
  3. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  4. While oven is heating, prepare the sauce. In a sauce pan or large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil over medium heat until shimmering but not smoking. Add onions and cook for 3 minutes or so. Add garlic and cook for another minute, stirring regularly.
  5. Now add red wine and cook to reduce by about ½, then add tomato sauce, bay leaf and remaining sauce ingredients. Bring to a boil, then lower heat and simmer for 15 minutes.
  6. Prepare a large baking dish and lightly oil the bottom with extra virgin olive oil.
  7. Take the meat mixture out of the fridge. Wet your hands and scoop portions of about 2 ½ tablespoons of the meat mixture and form into large elongated meatballs (football-shaped). You should have 12 to 16 meatballs or so. Arrange meatballs in the papered baking dish and top with the sauce. Be sure to have removed the bay leaf from the sauce.
  8. Place the baking dish on the middle rack of your heated oven. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes or until the meatballs are well cooked through. Check part-way through to make sure sauce is not dry, and if needed, add a little bit of water to the bottom of the baking dish.
  9. Remove from oven and add another drizzle of EVOO. Garnish with parsley and serve over rice or orzo.

http://www.lynnandruss.com

Adapted recipe from Suzy Karadsheh

Beef and Lamb Bolognese

This version of bolognese is half lamb and half ground beef, a mixture you’ll see a lot in northern Italy, and because the lamb is lean, this is a somewhat lighter sauce than all-beef or pork-based ragu.

The sauce needs a good long simmer, but it makes enough that you’ll likely get two meals. Giada claims the pasta shouldn’t be swimming in sauce; you only want it to stain the pasta, but we are “saucy” people and like to pile on a fair amount.

One of the ingredients is Calabrian chili paste, but a good substitute is Sriracha, and that’s what we used.

Beef and Lamb Bolognese

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 2 Tbsp. butter
  • 1/4 cup olive oil, divided
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 carrot, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 celery, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt divided
  • 3/4 lb. ground lamb
  • 3/4 lb. ground beef chuck
  • 1 clove garlic chopped
  • 1 tsp. Calabrian chili paste; or Sriracha
  • 1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 1 cup dry red wine such as chianti
  • 1 can whole San Marzano tomatoes, (28 ounce) crushed by hand
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 piece parmesan rind, (3 inch)
  • 1 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 lb. fusilli, cooked to package instructions; or polenta

Directions

  1. Heat a medium dutch oven over medium heat. Add the butter and 2 tablespoons olive oil and warm until the butter is melted.
  2. Add the onions, carrots, celery and a 1/2 teaspoon salt. Cook stirring often for 6 minutes or until the vegetable are soft but have no color.
  3. Add the lamb and beef and cook breaking apart the meat with a wooden spoon for 5 minutes or until the meat is cooked through and no longer pink.
  4. Stir the garlic, chili paste, red pepper flakes, and tomato paste into the meat mixture. Cook the tomato paste stirring often for 2 minutes.
  5. Add the milk. Bring to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally until the milk is almost entirely evaporated.
  6. Add the wine, tomatoes, bay leaf, parmesan rind and remaining salt. Bring to a simmer and reduce the heat to low to just maintain a gentle simmer. Simmer the sauce for 1 ½ to 2 hours, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking. Use several folded paper towels to skim some of the oil from the surface.
  7. Discard the bay leaf and parm rind.
  8. Spoon the bolognese over fusilli or creamy polenta reserving any extra to serve on the side. Serve with additional parmesan and a drizzle of olive oil, if desired.

http://www.lynnandruss.com

Adapted from a recipe by Giada De Laurentiis

Cast-Iron Green Chile Tamale Pie

We found this version of Tamale Pie in a recent issue of Fine Cooking Magazine. Its name is due to the awesome layer of cornbread that sits on top of the ground beef (or ground turkey) filling, mimicking masa-wrapped, meat-filled tamales. In lieu of more traditionally used canned tomatoes, this Southwest riff favors green chiles and tangy, tomatillo-spiked salsa verde.

As is often the case, we put our own spin on the recipe. In this instance, we doubled the amounts of beans and onion. Originally I planned on using ground turkey in place of ground beef, but the supermarket was out of it. (Still dealing with COVID supply and delivery issues two years later!)

After it was fully cooked, and I went to spoon out a portion, there seemed to be a fair amount of liquid in the bottom of the skillet. Once in my dinner bowl however, the fluid soaked up into the cornbread topping. Perhaps replacing the zucchini with red pepper—which has less moisture content—would be a good alternative and add a nice pop of color.

Based on some of the ingredients, you may think it is spicy. And yes, it does have a slight kick, but I wouldn’t scale back on any of the suggested amounts. An alternative, if spice is just not your thing, incorporate milder salsa verde and chopped green chiles. We both thought that the leftovers, when reheated, were even better than the first go-around—plus any liquid had been reabsorbed.

Cast-Iron Green Chile Tamale Pie

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

For the filling

  • 1 lb. 85% lean ground beef
  • 1 medium zucchini, chopped
  • 1/2 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp. chili powder
  • 1 cup mild or spicy salsa verde; more for serving
  • 1/2 cup cooked black or pinto beans
  • 1/2 cup fresh or thawed frozen yellow corn kernels
  • 1 4-oz. can mild or spicy chopped green chiles (undrained)
  • Kosher salt

For the cornbread topping

  • 1 cup stone-ground yellow cornmeal
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 Tbs. sugar
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 3 Tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 Tbsp. chopped fresh cilantro leaves; more for garnish
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 cup shredded Monterey Jack or pepper Jack cheese
  • Sour cream and avocado slices, for serving

Directions

Make the filling

  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F.
  2. In a deep 10-inch wide cast-iron skillet, cook the beef over medium-high heat until browned, breaking it into pieces with a wooden spoon, 6 to 8 minutes.
  3. Add the zucchini, onion, and chili powder, reduce heat to medium, and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes.
  4. Stir in the salsa, beans, corn, green chiles, and salt. Remove from the heat.

Make the cornbread topping

  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together the cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and baking soda, and set aside.
  2. In another medium bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, butter, cilantro, and egg. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients, and stir just until combined.
  3. Scatter half of the cheese over the beef mixture in the skillet, then pour the cornbread batter over and spread to the edges. Sprinkle with the remaining cheese.
  4. Bake until cornbread is cooked through and golden brown, about 25 minutes.
  5. Serve with additional salsa, sour cream, and avocado slices. Garnish with cilantro.

http://www.lynnandruss.com

Adapted from a recipe by Liz Pearson for Fine Cooking