I was Inspired to make this dish this week in honor of Mother’s Day and my amazing mother Artemis who used to prepare this for my Dad. It is a classic in Greek cooking and while I don’t have her exact recipe, this one uses the traditional elements to recreate this classic Greek dish. I like to prepare this with rice pilaf using about 1/4 cup of the red sauce for the dish to infuse the rice with extra flavor. Happy Mother’s Day!

Serves 2-4


for beef:

  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped white onion
  • 3 large garlic cloves minced
  • 1/4 cup approximately finely chopped parsley
  • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • Pinch of cinnamon
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 2 tablespoons whole milk Greek yogurt
  • ¼ to 1/2 cup breadcrumbs ( I love to use my own)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Oil for frying

for tomato sauce:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup onion finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove minced
  • 1/4 cup dry red wine
  • 32 ounces can crushed tomatoes
  • Salt and pepper


for tomato sauce:

Heat the olive oil and butter in a medium saucepan and sauté the onion over medium heat until soft. Add the garlic, stir and then add wine and the tomatoes. Bring to a simmer over medium heat and season with salt and pepper. Lower heat and continue to simmer covered adding a bit of water as needed allowing to cook as you prepare meat (can make sauce ahead).

for soutsoukakia:

In a large mixing bowl, combine the ground beef, onion, garlic, spices, salt, and pepper. Blend the egg, olive oil, breadcrumbs and yogurt together and add to the meat mixture until well combined. Take about 2 tablespoons or so of meat mixture and form a meat into a 21/2 by 1 inch long shape and set on parchment lined baking sheet. Cover and refrigerate the mixture for about 30 minutes.

Heat a heavy skillet bottom skillet with enough oil to reach about 1/2 inch up the side. Place chilled soutsoukakia in the oil and brown on either side (about 2-3 minutes aside. Remove from pan and place on paper towel (fry in batches as needed to avoid over crowding). Place the soutsoukakia in simmering sauce, and cook an additional 15-20 minutes, turning once in sauce.

Serve with rice pilaf and enjoy!