Parjoale - Moldavian Meatballs

>> Tuesday, January 6, 2015

This hearty meatball recipe is fragrant with vegetables, spices, and a tangy sauce. We first tried it at the Russian Tea Time restaurant in Chicago, though I understand it is actually a Romanian recipe called Parjoale. Though it contains a lot of ingredients, it is a great recipe to make up for a party or let simmer in a crockpot all day when you're at work. The meatballs make great party appetizers. They taste even better when made a day ahead.


For the Sauce

1 large red bell pepper
1 large onion
1 large carrot
1 stalk celery
4 garlic cloves
3 tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp flour
1 cup beef stock
1/4 cup dry red wine
1 cup plum tomato, finely chopped
2 tbsp tomato paste
1/2 tsp sugar
2 tbsp white wine vinegar
2 tsp Hungarian paprika
1 tsp salt and pepper
2 tablespoons low fat sour cream

For the Meatballs

1 lb. pork, finely ground
1/2 lb. beef, finely ground
1 large onion
2 garlic cloves
¼ cup fat-free milk
1 large egg or 1/4 cup egg substitute
3 tablespoons bread crumbs
3 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
2 tablespoons chopped dill


Chop onion, carrot, celery, and bell pepper. Saute in oil in a large saucepan until slightly tender. Add minced garlic. Add tomato paste and flour and stir until mixed. Stir in stock, wine, tomatoes, tomato paste, sugar, vinegar, paprika, salt and pepper. Cover and simmer 15 minutes. Stir in the sour cream and reduce heat to low.

Mix together all meatball ingredients. With your hands, form into 1 or 2-inch balls (the size of a golfball, or if you don't play golf, the size of a pingpong ball). Saute in a separate skillet until well-browned on all sides, and then add to the sauce mixture. Simmer 45-60 minutes until tender if serving immediately, or place meatballs in a crock pot, and simmer on low until ready to serve.

We think it tastes best over a bed of pearled barley.

Serves 6-8 as a main dish, or 10-12 as an appetizer.


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