Growing up I thought that nearly everybody made meatballs the same way we did, and although it’s not like I’ve become an expert on meatballs (or anything for that matter), I have found out that our meatballs are uniquely ours.
Thanks to the Viking superstore, masses of Dominicans have tried the world-famous Swedish ones, and yet I suspect that nobody is going to adopt them at home. This simple dish, like everything we cook, reflects our preferences for certain flavors.
In our home, a balance coexists between two cultures. OK, it’s not exactly balanced: when it comes to cooking the Dominican side of our family weighs more, not that I hear anyone complaining. While my daughter and husband are big fans of the Danish frikadeller, the pan-fried pork-based, flattened meatball (is it a meatball if it is not round?), they also seem to like the Dominican ones just as well.
So here is the Dominican version. If you’ve never tried it, do so and see how it compares to your own version.
Cook some Dominican meatballs (ours are round!).
- 2 lbs ground beef
- 1 egg
- ½ cup day-old fine breadcrumbs
- 1 small onion, cut into strips
- 2 crushed garlic cloves
- ¼ cups of pitted olives, sliced
- 1 small onion, diced or grated
- 6 tomatoes, cut into quarters
- ½ cup of tomato sauce
- 1 pepper, cut into strips
- 4 tablespoons of oil
- Oregano powder
- Mix meat, breadcrumbs, garlic and the grated onion. Add the egg, a teaspoon of salt and a pinch of pepper and a pinch of oregano. Mix well with your hands.
- Put two tablespoons of this mixture in the palm of your hand and roll into balls.
- In a heavy saucepan heat the oil over high heat and brown the meatballs all around.
- Add the onions, tomatoes, tomato sauce, olives and the pepper cut into strips and cook and stir for 30 seconds. Add 1.5 cups of water.
- Lower the heat to medium and simmer until the meatballs are cooked throughout (about 10 mins), turning them regularly.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste and adjust water if necessary (you should obtain a cup of sauce with the meatballs).
- Serve with rice of your choice.