Meatballs with Carrot-Tomato Sauce

September 4th, 2010 in Beef, Main Dish Recipes by
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Total cooking time: 2h  
Meatballs with Carrot-Tomato Sauce

Meatballs with Carrot-Tomato Sauce

Russian meatballs (or “tefteli” how they are called in Russia) are prepared from ground beef and rice mix and cooked under some kind of sauce. They usually have big size (1 or 2 meatballs is enough for a serving).

This is a recipe for “tefteli” my mom uses: big meatballs, dipped into flour, then fried over in some oil and cooked with vegetable sauce (carrots, tomatoes, onions and dill) until ready.

I’ve modified recipe a bit to use freshly pureed tomatoes instead of tomato paste. However, if you don’t have fresh tomatoes under your hands, you can use canned tomatoes or tomato paste diluted with water.

Boiled potatoes or mashed potatoes are usually the first choice of side dish for tefteli for me, boiled buckwheat or pasta work good too.

Ingredients


  • Meatballs

    2lbs of lean ground beef
  • 1/2 cup of rice
  • 5-6 bay leaves
  • Several black peppercorns
  • Ground black pepper to taste
  • Salt to taste
  • 1/2 cup of all purpose flour

  • Carrot and Tomato Sauce

    2 big carrots
  • 3 big tomatoes (about 1lb)
  • 2 onions
  • Fresh dill
  • Sunflower oil
  • Salt to taste

How to prepare, step-by-step:

  1. Prepare ingredients:
    Meatballs with Carrot-Tomato Sauce Recipe: Step 1

    Meatballs with Carrot-Tomato Sauce Recipe: Step 1

  2. Bring a cooking pot of salted water to boil, add rice and boil it until half-ready over slow simmering, then drain it in colander and set aside to cool down a bit (find here more tips if needed):
    Meatballs with Carrot-Tomato Sauce Recipe: Step 2

    Meatballs with Carrot-Tomato Sauce Recipe: Step 2

  3. Take another cooking pot with water and bring to boil. Cut each tomato skin crosswise and put them to the boiling water for 5 mins. Then drain water and set tomatoes aside to cool down:
    Meatballs with Carrot-Tomato Sauce Recipe: Step 3

    Meatballs with Carrot-Tomato Sauce Recipe: Step 3

  4. Then start cooking carrot and tomato vegetable sause. For that warm up big skillet with 2-3 table spoons of oil over moderate heat. Peel onions, slice them in half circles, move them to skillet and fry until light brown in color and soft; stir from time to time:
    Meatballs with Carrot-Tomato Sauce Recipe: Step 4

    Meatballs with Carrot-Tomato Sauce Recipe: Step 4

  5. Skin carrots and grate them on big slots of grater; add crated carrots to onions on the skillet, mix and braise vegetables together for 8-10 mins:
    Meatballs with Carrot-Tomato Sauce Recipe: Step 5

    Meatballs with Carrot-Tomato Sauce Recipe: Step 5

  6. Meanwhile, remove skin from boiled tomatoes, cut them in quarters, remove hard stem parts and put to the blander bowl:
    Meatballs with Carrot-Tomato Sauce Recipe: Step 6

    Meatballs with Carrot-Tomato Sauce Recipe: Step 6

  7. And puree them:
    Meatballs with Carrot-Tomato Sauce Recipe: Step 7

    Meatballs with Carrot-Tomato Sauce Recipe: Step 7

  8. Pour tomato puree to the skillet:
    Meatballs with Carrot-Tomato Sauce Recipe: Step 8

    Meatballs with Carrot-Tomato Sauce Recipe: Step 8

  9. Rinse and chop fresh dill, add it to the skillet:
    Meatballs with Carrot-Tomato Sauce Recipe: Step 9

    Meatballs with Carrot-Tomato Sauce Recipe: Step 9

  10. Salt sauce to taste, mix and bring to boil; reduce heat and let sauce simmer for 10 mins; then turn the heat off:
    Meatballs with Carrot-Tomato Sauce Recipe: Step 10

    Meatballs with Carrot-Tomato Sauce Recipe: Step 10

  11. Now it is time for meatballs. Put ground beef to the bowl, season with salt and ground pepper:
    Meatballs with Carrot-Tomato Sauce Recipe: Step 11

    Meatballs with Carrot-Tomato Sauce Recipe: Step 11

  12. Add half-boiled rice:
    Meatballs with Carrot-Tomato Sauce Recipe: Step 12

    Meatballs with Carrot-Tomato Sauce Recipe: Step 12

  13. Mix everything good with your hands:
    Meatballs with Carrot-Tomato Sauce Recipe: Step 13

    Meatballs with Carrot-Tomato Sauce Recipe: Step 13

  14. Scoop a bit of meat and rice mixture with a tablespoon and form meatball using your hands (if meat keeps sticking to your hands wet them with cold water). Repeat for the rest of the meat:
    Meatballs with Carrot-Tomato Sauce Recipe: Step 14

    Meatballs with Carrot-Tomato Sauce Recipe: Step 14

  15. Warm up a skillet with 2-3 tablespoons of oil. Pour flour to small bowl and deep meatball into it:
    Meatballs with Carrot-Tomato Sauce Recipe: Step 15

    Meatballs with Carrot-Tomato Sauce Recipe: Step 15

  16. Repeat for several meatballs and put the to the warmed up skillet:
    Meatballs with Carrot-Tomato Sauce Recipe: Step 16

    Meatballs with Carrot-Tomato Sauce Recipe: Step 16

  17. Fry each meatball from each side just until they gain nice looking skin:
    Meatballs with Carrot-Tomato Sauce Recipe: Step 17

    Meatballs with Carrot-Tomato Sauce Recipe: Step 17

  18. Take a cast iron pot (or any other pot which is big enough to fit all meatballs in one layer); drop several pepper corns and bay leaves on the bottom of it:
    Meatballs with Carrot-Tomato Sauce Recipe: Step 18

    Meatballs with Carrot-Tomato Sauce Recipe: Step 18

  19. Move fried meatballs to the pot:
    Meatballs with Carrot-Tomato Sauce Recipe: Step 19

    Meatballs with Carrot-Tomato Sauce Recipe: Step 19

  20. Then pour sauce over meatballs, cover cooking pot with a lid, turn moderate low heat on and cook for about 45 mins:
    Meatballs with Carrot-Tomato Sauce Recipe: Step 20

    Meatballs with Carrot-Tomato Sauce Recipe: Step 20

  21. Serve meatballs warm with your choice of side dish and sauce poured over it – I did cook boiled potatoes for these meatballs:
    Meatballs with Carrot-Tomato Sauce Recipe: Step 21

    Meatballs with Carrot-Tomato Sauce Recipe: Step 21

Enjoy!

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4 Responses to “Meatballs with Carrot-Tomato Sauce”

  1. Ilona says:

    i thought i am the only one that makes meatballs with cooked rice… I love the pictures… I make the sauce too except we add bell pepper as well, but i like your version better.. Will definitely give this a try. Thanks for the recipe.. Just started following your blog and there are so many things i want to try :)

  2. Sabina says:

    Mom makes meatballs like this, without the sauce, but she adds fried choped onion and dill into the minced meat. By the way I realised that we probably named them after the russian name “tefteli” , we call them in romanian, “chiftele” :) Also, I grew up with many of your recipes like the “borsh” (in romanian “borş”) blini (clatite), meatballs(chiftele), cabbage rolls(sarmale)etc., without knowing what country they were from; I even remember a drink from my grandmother called “braga” which resembles a lot with te “kvas” I tasted during a holyday in Russia…when I was only a child I thought they were romanian dishes, but later I found them everywhere in Ukraina, Russia, Bulgaria, Moldova…

    • Ukraine, Romania, Poland, Germany, Hungary, Austria and other countries are soo close neighbors, at some points of time some lands were belong to different countries, which made the cultural exchange (and culinary one too) pretty easy. And I think it is pretty hard to say what country recipe belongs to, so I guess mine definitions I have listed in recipes I more like a “what I think it is” not that it really is :)

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