This fantastic dish hails from Smyrna, a city on the western coast of Turkey, andConstantinople. There was a very large number of Greeks living in those two cities. After the destruction of Smyrna in 1922, the Greeks that survived came to Greece as refugees and brought with them many recipes from the East that were incorporated in the Greek cuisine. The famous baklava and all those wonderful sweets steeped in syrup have their roots inAsia Minor, and we will talk about them very soon.
The soutzoukakia are made with minced meat, and finish cooking in a rich tomato sauce. Despite their exotic name, they are very easy on the budget and the whole family will love them.Ingredients 500 gr minced meat (beef or pork if you wish or a mixture of the two) 3 – 4 slices stale bread soaked in water or red wine 1 egg 2 – 3 cloves of garlic minced (if you like garlic you can add more) 2 tablespoonfuls vinegar ½ – 1 teaspoon powdered cumin ½ teaspoon powdered cinnamon Salt, pepper flour For the sauce: 4 large ripe, red tomatoes chopped or grated ½ teaspoon sugar 1/3 cup red wine 3 – 4 cloves of garlic minced 1/3 cup olive oil Salt, pepper
Place the minced meat, the stale bread that you have squeezed well, egg, garlic, vinegar cumin, cinnamon, salt and pepper in a bowl. With your hands, mix the ingredients very well. Put the bowl in the fridge while you are preparing the sauce.
Put all the ingredients for the sauce in a pan and simmer for 15 – 20 minutes. The sauce mustn’t be too thick, because it will thicken further after adding the soutzoukakia. You can add about ½ cup of water to obtain the right consistency.
In the meantime, take pieces of the minced meat mixture and form ‘sausage’ rolls about 10 cm long and about 2 fingers thick. The soutzoukakia must be quite long because they shrink when fried. Roll them in the flour, shake off the excess flour and fry them in hot oil. After you have fried all the soutzoukakia, add them to the tomato sauce. Simmer them for 5 minutes. Turn the heat off, cover the pan and leave them for 10 minutes, to absorb the sauce. If the sauce is too thick, add a little water.
Traditionally, the soutzoukakia are served over plain boiled rice, but they also go nicely with mashed potatoes.