Romanian Meatball Stew

Romanian Meatball Stew

I've wanted for so long to cook meatball stew. You can choose to make either a smoother sauce, or with some chuncks of tomatoes and onions in it, it's up to you. If you use tomato puree, the sauce will be smooth. I used canned chopped tomatoes and the sauce was denser.


Grinded meat
1 kg
Bread crumbs
4 tbsp
1 cup
1 piece
2 tsp
for the meat and sauce, to taste
Fresh parsley
2 tbsp
+ other spices and herbs you like
Tomato puree
500 g
or chopped tomatoes, canned
Tomato paste
1 tbsp
I used sweet red pepper paste
Laurel leaves
2 pieces
Whole black pepper
5 pieces
I prefer it ground, you can also add 2-3 allspice berries
White onion
1 piece
Garlic cloves
4 pieces
2 for the meatballs and 2 for the sauce
1 tsp
Sunflower oil
50 ml

Step by step

Step 1

We make the meatballs first:

In a small bowl, mix the breadcrumbs with milk and let swell for about ten minutes.

Romanian Meatball Stew - Step 1
Step 2

Place the minced meat in a large deep bowl. I recommend grinding the meat at home.

To the meat, add the egg, the breadcrumbs, chopped parsley, salt, pepper to taste and two cloves of garlic, crushed.

Romanian Meatball Stew - Step 2
Step 3

Mix thoroughly with your hands until the mixture is smooth.

Romanian Meatball Stew - Step 3
Step 4

Wet your hands with water and shape into meatballs, about the size of a walnut.

Arrange them on a cutting board.

Romanian Meatball Stew - Step 4
Step 5

Heat oil in a pan and cook the meatballs on all sides until brown.

I fried them in two batches. This depends on the size of the pan, the size of the meatballs and the amount of meat.

Romanian Meatball Stew - Step 5
Step 6

When they are done, transfer to a plate.

Romanian Meatball Stew - Step 6
Step 7

Now we prepare the sauce:

In the remaining oil in the pan, cook the finely chopped onions and garlic. Don't brown them too much, just let soften a little to release their flavour.

Romanian Meatball Stew - Step 7
Step 8

Pour in the mashed tomatoes and the tomato paste.

Mix well and leave over heat until it starts to boil.

Romanian Meatball Stew - Step 8
Step 9

If the tomato sauce is thicker, add some water to make it thinner. The water will evaporate anyway during the boiling, so it won't change the taste.

Optionally, after boiling it (for about 10 minutes over low heat) you can pass it through a sieve, for a most fine and smooth sauce. I didn't.

Romanian Meatball Stew - Step 9
Step 10

When it's done, season with salt, add sugar, bay leaves, pepper and the other herbs / spices you want.

Romanian Meatball Stew - Step 10
Step 11

Add the meatballs to the sauce, stir.

Note. Even if the sauce might initially seem a bit too sour and fragrant, once you add the meatballs and cook them together, it will completely change its taste, for the better.

Romanian Meatball Stew - Step 11
Step 12

Now you have 2 options:

- let the pan simmer on low heat for about 10-15 minutes.

- or transfer the mixture to a deep oven dish or Dutch oven and bake for 30-40 minutes.

I chose the pan version, faster and more convenient for me at the time.

Romanian Meatball Stew - Step 12
Step 13

Serve hot, with lots of appetite and fresh bread :)


Romanian Meatball Stew - Step 13
Quantity: 1 kg (3-4 servings)
Prep time: 20 min
Difficulty: easy
Ready in: 60 min
Publish date:

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