I will try to keep this short and sweet as you may notice that the instruction section is quite lengthy. Not this is a difficult recipe but I try to add as much details as I can, as if you are standing beside me watching me in action. Or perhaps I’m just long-winded. You decide.
This is a Hungarian Goulash inspired dish. Initially, I started to maintain its authenticity by not to add tomatoes or anything which may take away its authencity. But hey, who am I kidding? The fact I’ve switched from chunks of meats to these cutesy meatballs has obviously derailed my attempt. Anyway it is no less delicious and hearty. It’s meat all the way for this dish, so you better add some vegetables on the side!
And I didn’t mean potato chip or fries!
Paprika Meatballs Sub
Makes about 19 meatballs – can feed 3 to 4 people with salad as a side dish
What you’ll need:-
- 500g/17.6 ounces mince beef
- 2 medium sized onions, peeled
- 1 slice fresh bread/ 1/2 cup fresh breadcrumbs
- 3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
- 2 tbsps Hungarian sweet paprika
- Salt to taste (I put a teaspoon)
- 1 tbsp butter
- Cooking oil
- 1 cup of water
- Crusty bread
- Finely grated cheese
To make meatballs: (1) Use a small food processor, process a slice of bread until becomes fine crumbs. Pour the crumbs into a large mixing bowl and set aside. (2) Roughly cut 1 onion and use the same food processor, process until finely chopped. Add onion into the mixing bowl with mince beef, 1 tbsp paprika and salt. Mix the ingredients together using your hands until well combine. Then, roll the meatballs between your palms until resembles a ping pong ball. 500g/17.6 yielded 19 meatballs for me.
To make meatballs in sauce: (1) Use a non stick medium sized pot, with a little oil, brown the meatballs over medium-high heat (i.e no need to cook all the way through). Set the meatballs aside on a plate. (2) Try to remove and discard any burnt bits from browning the meatballs using a spoon. (3) Then add one finely diced onion with a tbsp of butter and saute until the onion becomes translucent over low-medium heat. (4) Turn the heat to low, add garlic and 1 tbsp of paprika and saute until aromatic. (5) Gradually add 1/2 cup water when the paprika mixture feels like it’s drying up and about to stick to the pan. Let the mixture simmer for 2 minutes. (6) Then add the meatballs and 1/2 cup water. Bring the mixture to boiling point over medium heat and turn down the heat to low and allow it to simmer for 0.5 hour over low heat, covered. - See Note 1. (7) 0.5 hour later, check the meatballs if they are cooked and taste if you need to add more salt. Serve the meatball and sauce in the bread and top with shreded cheese.
Note 1 – When you add the half cooked meatballs and water, I won’t try to stir them at this stage as they are still fragile and will fall apart if you try to meddle with them too much. After reaching the boiling point, I will them rotate the meatballs around to ensure they all cook evenly as at this time they are cooked more and become firmer. It may seem like there’s not much liquid to start with, by simmering them over low heat, the juices will gradually ooze out and become saucy.
Please note that the amount of sauce in this recipe is not enough to ladle over pasta. Should you require more sauce for pasta, I’d suggest you add a 400g/14.1 ounces canned tomatoes in Step 6 and simmer for an hour to ensure the tomato sauce is well infused with the meatballs and paprika.
Please also note that I did skim off some oil before serving.