Meatballs in Tomatoes and String Beans Sauce

Posted by hsimpsongrossman on May 16, 2014

I envy those lucky ones who can skim through books.  Or cold-turkey stop reading a book if, having read the first 50 pages, they still can’t get in to it.  They must be so happy,  healthy, carefree, fun to be with human beings.

Unfortunately, I’m not a member of that elite group.  I am not capable of successfully skimming through anything, and there were only two books as far as I can remember, which I haven’t finished.  One was about the relationship between Chopin and George Sand and the other was about the slave uprising in Haiti, which managed to depress me in an already difficult point in my life.  Trust me when I say it took a lot of resolve to cast those books aside unfinished.

The same goes for cookbooks.  I literally read them cover-to-cover (introduction through list of resources and acknowledgments), never skip recipes (no matter how impractical for me they might be) or jump from chapter to chapter and back again. (Hmm.  If I were only half as focused while reviewing spread sheets and financial statements.)

Oh, and I never look at newly acquired cookbooks, no matter how in vogue they are, prior to finishing the previous batch I bought.  That’s a pretty unfortunate rule of mine, considering it caused me to miss on a culinary trend or two (I must have been the last one to use quinoa).

Professional Reading
Professional Reading

One of the great things about rules though, is that they tend to have exceptions.  In my case, the exception to the cookbook reading rituals above was necessary to accommodate yet another mishegas of mine: no newspapers and magazines lying around in the apartment (that exception has exceptions as well, in case you were wondering).

Luckily, Mama lovingly and methodically collects food magazines for me.  Since I do practice what I preach, I have no choice but to eliminate the potential for clutter upon their delivery.  Seriously, what choice do I have but to go over them ASAP and weed out those I’ll never make from the ones I find intriguing? More often than not those select few end up on our table within days (hours) of me spotting them and some have become real winners, as was the case with this one.

I found this recipe in one of those magazines (La’isha).  It was given by Liora Hubara, clinical dietitian and as soon as it caught my eye it was added to that Friday night’s menu.  Thank God I had two meatballs that Friday night, as most of them were devoured upon serving and the meager leftovers were fought over by various family members for inclusion in their school/office lunch boxes.

Meatballs with String Beans and Tomato Sauce in the Pot
In the Pot

I tweaked the original recipe a bit – I altered amounts and some of the ingredients and spiced it up a notch.  They came out soft and flavorful and were so easy to make–you don’t even need to fry the meatballs prior to cooking them in the sauce.

Meatballs with String Beans and Tomato Sauce Solo

Meatballs in Tomatoes and String Beans Sauce on the Spot: Mix together ingredients for the meatballs.  Set aside. Sauté onions and beans, add the rest of the sauce ingredients and bring to a boil.  Add meatballs and cook .  Voilà!

Meatballs in Tomatoes and String Beans Sauce

Adapted from a recipe by Liora Habara, La’isha Magazin

Ingredients, for about 20 meatballs:

For the Meatballs:

1 Lb. (500 grams) mixed ground beef and ground turkey or chicken (or only beef, only turkey, or a mix of turkey and chicken)

2 tablespoons oat/wheat bran

1 large egg

2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed

3 stalks of scallions or chives, chopped

1 teaspoon Bharat spice mix or ½ a teaspoon cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon sweet paprika, ¼ teaspoon ground cumin and a pinch each of cardamom, allspice, ground cloves and nut meg (optional)

1 teaspoon sweet paprika

Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

For the Sauce:

2-3 tablespoons of olive oil

1 large onion, peeled and chopped

About 1 Lb. package ( 510 grams (family pack) ) frozen string green beans or regular green/yellow beans

1 6 oz. can (170g ) tomato paste

1 28 oz. can (793 grams) crushed tomatoes

1 cup water

1 teaspoon brown sugar

Juice from half a lemon

½ teaspoon cumin

½ teaspoon sweet paprika

Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste


For the Meatballs:

Mix together (preferably with your hands, so that not to crush the meat) the ingredients for the meatballs, just until combined.  Don’t over- mix, to prevent rubbery meatballs.  Refrigerate the raw meatball mix for at least half an hour or overnight.

For the Sauce:

In a large saucepan, heat the oil.  Add the onion and fry it until golden.

Add the beans and sauté for about five more minutes, till slightly softened.

Add the remaining sauce ingredients, stir well and bring to a boil (if you like your sauce runnier, add another half cup to a cup of water).

While waiting for the sauce to boil prepare the meatballs:  with wet hands, roll balls the size of a ping pong ball.  Add the meatballs gently, one at a time, to the boiling sauce.

Meatballs with String Beans and Tomato Sauce Peak a Boo

Reduce the flame, cover and cook for about 40 minutes, until the meatballs are done.  Shake the pan gently occasionally, to make sure the meatballs are all evenly covered with sauce.

For a balanced meal serve these meatballs with rice, couscous, pasta, Israeli couscous (as in the picture below) or mashed potatoes.

Meatballs with String Beans and Tomato Sauce Fit for a Queen
Fit for a Queen


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4 thoughts on “Meatballs in Tomatoes and String Beans Sauce

    • I’ll to find, try and post a recipe for chicken with cacao which I seen somewhere, for a really wholesome meal, especially for you.

  1. Just found this recipe! Great. The second time I made it, I dind’t hvae any beans, so I used some peas. Still good. Thanks.

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