chiftele
Chiftele
Prep Time
20 mins
Cook Time
1 hr 15 mins
Total Time
1 hr 35 mins
 
Chiftele are delicious traditional Romanian meatballs, prepared with meat that is ground with raw vegetables before being fried.
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Romanian
Servings: 6 people
Author: Vera Abitbol
Ingredients
For the meatballs
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 lb ground lamb
  • 1 large onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • ½ bunch dill
  • ½ bunch parsley
  • 2 eggs , lightly beaten
  • 1 small potato
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 stalk celery
  • 1 slice bread , soaked in water
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Nutmeg
  • 3 tablespoons water (cold)
  • Flour (for dusting)
  • Vegetable oil (for frying)
For the sauce
  • 2 scallions , grated
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 4 tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • ½ teaspoon sugar
  • ½ bunch parsley , finely chopped
  • ½ green bell pepper , cut into strips
  • 1 red bell pepper , cut into strips
  • 1 green hot pepper , sliced
  • ½ cup water
  • A few pearl onions (optional)
  • A few cherry tomatoes (optional)
Instructions
Meatballs
  1. In the food processor, chop meat, onion, garlic, dill, parsley, potatoes, celery and carrot.
  2. Sprinkle with nutmeg.
  3. Stir in bread, cold water and eggs by hand.
  4. Add salt and pepper.
  5. Thoroughly mix the preparation and set it aside for 30 minutes by working it several times by hand.
  6. Grease your hands and form smooth round balls, about the size of a large walnut (about 1 oz) and roll in flour.
  7. Fry the meatballs in a large frying pan over medium heat one minute on each side. They should be half submerged in oil.
  8. Drain and set aside.
Sauce
  1. Peel, core and cut the tomatoes into small cubes.
  2. Sauté onions over medium heat.
  3. Add all the other ingredients except the pearl onions and cherry tomatoes.
  4. Mix well.
  5. When it is boiling again, dip the meatballs in the sauce and cook for 45 minutes (15 minutes over medium heat and 30 minutes over low heat to simmer).
  6. 15 minutes before end of cooking, add the pearl onions and cherry tomatoes in the sauce.