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Instant Pot Greek Meatballs with Tomato Sauce (Soutzoukakia)

A plate of Greek meatballs in tomato sauce, with green beans, lemons, oregano, and rice in the background
Instant Pot Greek Meatballs with Tomato Sauce (Soutzoukakia)

Instant Pot Greek Meatballs with Tomato Sauce (Soutzoukakia). Greek meatballs in rich tomato sauce, with all-day simmered flavor in about an hour thanks to pressure cooking.

I miss food festivals. Here in Northeast Ohio, we have a wide range of Orthodox churches and fraternal orders, all of which have fantastic food fests to show off their national cuisines. My favorite is the Akron Greek Fest at Annunciation Church. I load up on stuffed grape leaves, lamb shanks, gyros, moussaka, baklava. And, especially, this week’s recipe: Soutzoukakia, also known as Greek meatballs.

If you’ve made my Instant Pot Italian Meatballs, this recipe will look very familiar. It’s the same basic technique, pressure cooker meatballs in a tomato sauce, but with a different flavor profile. (It’s amazing how we can cross the Ionian Sea by changing a few spices.)

There isn’t much of a trick to this recipe; most of the work is mixing and shaping the meatballs. After that, the sauce is simple: a sauté of onions and garlic with spices, a deglazing of the pan with red wine (optional, but adds a nice touch of flavor). Then the meatballs and the tomatoes go in the pot, and pressure cooking gives the sauce the flavor of an all-afternoon simmer in less than an hour.

It’s traditional to serve these meatballs with rice; I sometimes substitute orzo pasta for the rice, though any pasta shape would work. I usually include pita bread with the meal, to help mop up the delicious tomato sauce. And, of course, a Greek salad or green beans are great sides to go with this rich main course.

Recipe: Instant Pot Greek Meatballs with Tomato Sauce (Soutzoukakia)

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A plate of Greek meatballs in tomato sauce, with green beans, lemons, oregano, and rice in the background

Instant Pot Greek Meatballs with Tomato Sauce (Soutzoukakia)


  • Author: Mike Vrobel
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 45 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x

Description

Instant Pot Greek Meatballs with Tomato Sauce (Soutzoukakia). Greek meatballs in rich tomato sauce, with all-day simmered flavor in about an hour thanks to pressure cooking.


Ingredients

Scale

Greek Meatball Mix

  • pounds meatloaf mix (1 pound ground beef, ½ pound ground pork)
  • ¾ cup plain bread crumbs
  • 1 small onion, grated or finely minced
  • 2 large garlic cloves, grated or finely minced
  • ¼ cup minced fresh parsley (or 2 tablespoons dried parsley)
  • 1½ teaspoons fine sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 egg, beaten

Greek Tomato Sauce

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ cup red wine (or more chicken broth, or water)
  • 1 cup chicken broth, (homemade or low sodium store-bought), or water
  • 1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • Minced parsley for garnish

Instructions

  1. Shape the meatballs: In a large bowl, break up the ground beef and pork. Sprinkle the bread crumbs, onion, garlic, parsley, salt, cumin, oregano, and cinnamon over the meat, then work the dry ingredients into the meat. Once everything is evenly mixed, add the beaten egg, and work it into the meat. Roll the meat mix into 16 golf-ball sized meatballs, each about 2 inches in diameter.
  2. Sauté the aromatics for the tomato sauce: Heat the olive oil an Instant Pot set to sauté mode (or other pressure cooker set to medium heat) until the oil starts shimmering. Add the onion and garlic to the pot. Sprinkle with the cumin, cinnamon, and ½ teaspoon sea salt, then saute, stirring occasionally, until the onions soften, about 5 minutes.
  3. Simmer the wine: Pour the wine into the pot and stir, scraping any stuck bits of onion loose from the bottom. Bring the wine to a simmer, and simmer for 1 minute to boil off some of the alcohol.
  4. Everything in the pot: Stir in the chicken broth, scraping the bottom of the pot one last time to make sure nothing is sticking. Add the meatballs to the pot, trying for a single layer of meatballs. (I usually wind up with one that has to sit on top of the others). Pour the crushed tomatoes over the meatballs.
  5. Pressure Cook for 15 minutes with a Natural Release: Lock the lid and pressure cook at high pressure for 15 minutes (Use “Manual” or “Pressure Cook” mode in an Instant Pot), or for 13 minutes if using a stovetop pressure cooker. Let the pressure to come down naturally, about 20 minutes. (If you’re in a hurry, let the pressure come down for 15 minutes then quick release any remaining pressure.)
  6. Serve: Scoop the meatballs out of the pot with a slotted spoon. Stir the fresh ground black pepper into the tomato sauce in the pot. Pour a few ladles of sauce over the meatballs, and use the rest to sauce your rice or pasta. Enjoy!

Notes

Greek olive oil and greek red wine are traditional, but I don’t get too hung up on that – I’ll use what I have on hand.

Tools

6 quart or larger pressure cooker (I love my Instant Pot 6-Quart Pressure Cooker)

Flat edged wooden spoon

  • Category: Sunday Dinner
  • Method: Pressure Cooker
  • Cuisine: Greek

Keywords: Instant Pot Greek Meatballs with Tomato Sauce (Soutzoukakia), Pressure Cooker Greek Meatballs with Tomato Sauce

What do you think?

Questions? Other ideas? Leave them in the comments section below.

Instant Pot Lamb Youvetsi (Greek Lamb Stew with Orzo)
Instant Pot Greek Baby Potatoes with Garlic, Lemon, and Herbs
Instant Pot Greek Chicken Thighs With Tomatoes and Herbs
My other Instant Pot and Pressure Cooker Recipes

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Filed under: Pressure cooker, Sunday dinner, Top-Posts

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Hi! I’m Mike Vrobel. I’m a dad and an enthusiastic home cook; an indie cookbook author and food blogger with a day job, a patient spouse, and three kids who would rather have hamburgers for dinner.

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