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 lb [0.9 kg] ground beef
- 1 egg
- ½ cup day-old fine breadcrumbs
- 1 small onion, diced or grated
- ¼ teaspoon of pepper
- 1 teaspoon of salt
- 1 garlic clove, crushed
- 4 tablespoons of olive oil
- 1 small onion, diced
- 2 garlic cloves, chopped
- 1 bell pepper, diced
- 2 tablespoons of capers
- 6 big tomatoes, chopped
- 1½ cup of tomato sauce
- 1½ cup of water
- ½ teaspoon of dry oregano
- 1 teaspoon of salt, or to taste
- ¼ teaspoon of pepper, or to taste
- Mix all the ingredients for the meatballs and knead with your hands until it is well-mixed.
- Put two tablespoons of this mixture in the palm of your hand and roll into balls. Repeat until all the mixture is used.
- In a heavy saucepan heat the oil over low heat. Add the onions and cook and stir until the onions become translucent.
- Stir in garlic, pepper and capers. Stir until heated through. Pour in tomato sauce and stir in tomatoes. Add water.
- Simmer until it breaks the boil. Carefully place the meatballs into the sauce. Simmer covered until cooked throughout (about 10 mins), turning them regularly. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Serve with rice of your choice.