Soutzoukakia / Izmir Köfte
Soutzoukakia or İzmir köfte is a Greek and Turkish dish of spicy oblong kofte with cumin and garlic served in a delicious and simple tomato sauce.


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  Serves:  3       Print   


For the meatballs
  • 500 g (16 oz) minced meat, beef or lamb
  • 2 slices of white stale bread, crusts removed
  • ½ cup (alcohol-free) wine, red or white
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • ½ tsp cumin powder
  • Flour for dredging
  • 4-6 tbsp olive oil
  • Salt
  • Pepper
For the sauce
  • 6 tomatoes, peeled and finely chopped
  • Big pinch of sugar
  • Salt
  • Pepper
Prepare the meatballs
  1. Soak the bread in the wine for a couple of minutes then squeeze out the excess. Keep the excess for later.
  2. Put the bread together with the remaining meatball ingredients in a large bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Mix really well using you hands to make a uniform dough.
  3. Take golf-ball sized pieces of dough, press together well then shape into a fat oblongs. You should be able to make about 10 meatballs.
  4. Heat the olive oil in a pan until hot. Dredge the meatballs in flour then fry the meatballs for 7-8 minutes until they are nicely browned all over.
  5. Removed the meatballs from the pan and put to one side.
Prepare the sauce
  1. Add the chopped tomatoes to the pan together with the leftover wine. Season with salt and pepper, cover then simmer gently for around 30 minutes.
  2. By now the tomatoes should be breaking down. Remove the lid and continue to simmer to thicken the sauce.
  3. Once the sauce has thickened up add the sugar and arrange the meatballs in the pan. Cover and simmer gently for about 10 minutes to heat the meatballs through, then serve.
Titli's Tips
Many recipes add egg to the meatballs as a binder but if you knead the meatball mixture thoroughly there is no need to add an egg.

The meatballs can be baked or grilled but they are best when they are shallow fried in olive oil. The oil takes on a lot of flavour from the meatballs with the result that the simple tomato sauce becomes rich in flavour.

You can add herbs into the sauce or the meatballs. Parsley is commonly added to either element and the addition of bay leaves to the tomato sauce is not uncommon. My personal opinion is that this dish is best when it is at its simplest.

Serve with mashed potato or rice to soak up all that lovely sauce!

Nutrition Facts
Amount Per Serving       % Daily Value
Calories 795 39%
Calories from Fat 573
Total Fat 63.7g 98%
Saturated Fat 19.3g 96%
Unsaturated Fat 40.4g
Amount Per Serving       % Daily Value
Total Carbohydrate 21.2g 7%
Dietary Fibre 3.2g 12%
Sugars 1.2g
Protein 28.9g 57%
Cholesterol 110.4mgs 36%
Percent Daily Values based on a 2,000 calorie diet.