RITA’S ROMANIAN MEATBALLS w/TOMATO SOUP SAUCE
Hi all you Galley Peeps. There has been so much going on in our lives at the moment, namely the sale of our sailboat R.E.D. (story here). It’s thrown a curve ball at us that impacts so much of who we are and what we have been doing up to now. Sea Salt Galley Kat was born out of our love for sailing and for me creating recipes that could be reproduced in my teeny tiny boat galley.
We are no longer those crazy folks who live six months each year on a little cramped 26 foot sailboat. We are boat-less. Not adventure-less, just boat-less. I will continue to focus on the minimal, the limited space and the (relatively) easy food prep, using simple ingredients. No way am I abandoning what I’ve spent the last seven years working towards. Living minimally has become our normal. Conserving resources and using tools that are often multi-functional, our day-to-day.
So while I’m figuring out our next step, here’s a recipe submitted by a Galley follower and I’m loving that it’s very basic, easy to make and very tasty. Each part, the meat balls and the sauce, can be made ahead then heated and put together for a quick supper. They can be doubled and frozen for future meals. Economy of efforts. If you’re not into commercial tomato soup, I have an easy to make one of my own, recipe here.
The base uses ground meat (you can choose pork, beef or a mixture). Rita’s recipe used half beef, half pork. I used ground chicken for this combined with the grated carrot and potato, and since we have been cutting back on animal protein consumption I made a tiny addition to Rita’s recipe by adding minced mushrooms to the mix. Some call it ‘blenditarian’, some ‘flexitarian’. I call it smart. It gives me more balls for my buck so to speak and I’m using less meat. Better nutrition. Better economy. Better for the environment. Win/win on all fronts.
It helps to have some kind of food processor unless your knife skills are good. I have a couple of options I can suggest, both with a small footprint and keeping within the tiny space criteria. One that uses electricity. One that uses human power. Both work equally well. I get no financial benefit from suggesting them to you. Just thought it may be useful for those of you living the large life in a compact environment. And, as I said, there’s always a good sharp knife or a grater.
For the ovenless, the Omnia stove top is the perfect tool although your meatballs can be cooked in the oven or even in a fry pan if no Omnia exists in your world. I can use both options here in my land galley but chose the Omnia because of our current heat wave, trying my best to cut down on conventional oven use and I liked forming the meat into 1/4 cup portioned balls that fit perfectly into the Omnia muffin insert. Two or three were more than enough for our supper with leftovers for another meal. If you don’t have the muffin insert, simply place the meatballs side by side when baking. The recipe makes 16 meatballs of this size so I cooked them and stashed half of them away in my freezer for a future meal.
Tonight, I served it with some steamed beans from my garden and that sauce was especially tasty drizzled over mashed potatoes.
Thanks a bunch Rita for sharing this recipe. It’s given me an idea for a slightly altered vegetarian version that I’m working on. Nothing with a face or mother was sacrificed (although a chicken contributed a couple of eggs and a cow, some milk for the cheese but that’s a story for next time).
Rita’s Romanian Meatballs with Tomato Soup Sauce
- Small saucepan
- Omnia stove top oven (for the oven-less)
- Baking dish if cooking the meatballs in a conventional oven
- Fry pan if cooking meatballs stove top
- Food processor (optional but very helpful), or sharp knife, or grater
- Cheese cloth or clean tea towel
For the tomato sauce
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1 Can tomato soup
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 1 tsp dried basil
- 1 tbsp soya sauce I use Bragg aminos - so much less sodium
- 1/2 tbsp ground ginger
- 1 pinch dried chillis more or lees to taste
- 1 lb ground chicken beef or pork or a combination works well too
- 1 small package mushrooms About 1 cup minced
- 1 carrot About 1/2 cup grated
- 1 potato About 1/2 cup grated
- 1/4 cup onion grated
- 2 Cloves garlic minced
- 1/2 Cup bread crumbs
- 1 egg
- 1/2 cup fresh herbs Finely chopped. I used a combination of basil, parsley and dill
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp pepper
For tomato sauce
- Add all sauce ingredients to a small saucepan and bring to a gentle simmer, stirring for about 5 minutes. remove from heat and set aside. You can do this ahead and keep in the refrigerator until ready to use.
- Once grated, shredded or minced, add vegetable to a large piece of cheese cloth or a clean tea towel and gently wring out as much liquid as possible.
- Add veggies and the rest of the ingredients to a mixing bowl and combine well.
- Form into evenly sized balls depending on preference. Because I cooked these in my Omnia I divided the meat into 1/4 cup sized balls. Six for the silicone muffin insert or eight will fit side by side without the insert. *see Galley Kat note below
For conventional oven users
- If oven baking, place in baking dish and cook in a pre-heated 350 degree oven for about 15-20 minutes depending on ball size
- Remove from oven and let sit for about 10 minutes to re-absorb juices. You could at this point cool and set aside in refrigerator until ready to cook, or freeze half for another meal
- When ready to use, pour sauce evenly over all and bake in a pre-heated 350 degree oven until heated through, about 15-20 minutes
For Omnia stove top users
- Place prepared meatballs in Omnia baking pan. You will likely have to cook them in two batches depending on ball size
- Cover and place on pre-heated base plate on high for five minutes then reduce heat to medium low and continue until balls have browned and cooked through, about 15 minutes, depending on ball size.
- At this point you can cool and refrigerate or freeze until ready to use but at the very least, I would suggest cooling slightly to allow the juices to reabsorb.
- When ready to use, pour tomato soup sauce evenly over the balls, cover, place on pre-heated base plate on high for five minutes then reduce to low and cook until the sauce bubbles and balls are heated through, about 20 minutes.
Galley Kat Notes:
Keep those recipes coming Galley Peeps. Just because I’m no longer cooking in a tiny boat galley doesn’t mean I don’t welcome a new challenge. Till next time….