Tuesday, 19 May 2009

Balls to the lot of you (lamb soutzoukakia)

I would like to begin this post by expressing my sincere apologies for the absence of music from my blog. I can appreciate the deep sense of loss you must feel at not being able to listen to Slayer whilst reading my recipes. However, the gadget I used no longer seems to be working! To make it up to you, here's a nice Greek recipe for the summer.

This was actually the first Greek thing I attempted to cook, back in the day. They're basically elongated lamb meatballs. It's quite an easy recipe which won't take longer than about 40 minutes, prep included. As you can see, I made quite a big portion for myself, so the ingredients to follow are designed to feed 4 people with relatively normal appetites.

  • 600g minced shoulder of lamb
  • 3 good sized garlic cloves
  • 1.5 - 2 onions, depending on the size
  • Large glass of red wine
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 400g tins of chopped italian tomatoes
  • 3 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 tbsp dried oregano
  • 2 egg yolks, beaten
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Plain flour, to sprinkle
  • 2 tbsps olive oil


  1. Heat the oil in a large pan at a medium-hot heat (about 4 on an electric hob).
    Thinly dice the onions, peel and finely chop the garlic and chop the parsley roughly (try to only do it once as you don't want to lose too much of the juices). Mix it all together in a bowl with the lamb, oregano, egg yolks and seasoning, using your hands. Make 12 roughly egg-sized soutzoukakia. It's important that you really get stuck in with your hands here as the warmth will help them to stick together.
  2. Put your soutzoukakia on a plate and sprinkle them with flour. Make sure they're covered on all sides and gently put them into the pan. They should sizzle on contact - if they don't, remove them and wait for the pan to heat up a bit. Brown them well on all sides for a couple of minutes. NOTE: this is not exactly a complicated recipe, but there are a couple of things you want to be a bit careful of at this stage. Don't turn the soutzoukakia too often because (A) they won't brown as nicely, (B) they will take longer to brown and (C) you increase the risk of allowing them to break up and turn into Sloppy Joe's. When you do turn them, do so VERY carefully using a spatula and your other hand, or (better still) a pair of tongs.
  3. Once this is done, remove them to a plate. Drain off the excess fat from the pan (there may be a fair bit from the mince) then return it to the heat and add the bay leaves. When it's fragrant, add the wine, bring it to the boil and let it reduce by half, then add the tinned tomatoes. Mash them up in the pan, add the soutzoukakia (again, carefully!) and bring it all to the boil. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes, turning the soutzoukakia once halfway through.
  4. Serve with pureed or sauteed potatoes, boiled rice or pitta bread. Kali oreksi!

This recipe is dedicated to my old mate Hermes from Essex Uni and his mum who made some awesome soutzoukakia when I came to visit them in Greece!

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