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Romanian Meatballs, known as “Chiftele” are one of the most popular Romanian dishes. Learn to make the mother of all meatballs, nothing beats these meatballs.
I’m so happy to share this recipe with you today because this literally is one of the most common made dishes by my mother as we were growing up, and still is in her household and mine. So needless to say, I learned to make these meatballs a very long time ago. We call these “Chiftele” which is the Romanian word for meatballs. Sometimes I feel like I don’t share enough Romanian dishes with you, and here I am to redeem myself.
I still remember that every single time my mom would make these, besides the fact that I was always in the kitchen with her, being the sous chef of course, I was always in charge of rolling them. My mom actually preferred to make these more like patties, so we’d flatten them a bit, but now that I’m married to a Romanian, he prefers them round and small like his mom used to make them. I, personally, don’t care one way or the other. For me, the taste is more important.
Forget all other meatball recipes, this recipe is to die for! We actually shred some potatoes and add it to the meat mixture. I’m not exactly sure why, but from what I heard from my mom is that back in the day, meat was more expensive, so to make more you’d use the potato. Now of course, I do it because I find that the potato makes the meatballs juicier and I just love the texture of it. The other ingredient that I think makes these meatballs stand out is simply the dill. I love dill, so I’ll put a lot in these meatballs, and you can actually taste the distinct flavor of the dill as you bite into the meatballs and it’s just yummy.
You can use these meatballs for your spaghetti, with mashed potatoes, you can make a tomato sauce with them, or you can just plainly eat them by themselves with bread and mustard. You can fry these, or if you’re watching your weight, you can even bake them. I simply just love these. I chose to fry them this time, but many times I have baked them and they are just as wonderful.
So here is my family’s recipe for delicious Romanian meatballs. I really hope you try them and enjoy them. If you do, I’d love to hear from you.
Love meatballs? Try these:
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Romanian meatballs (Chiftele)
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil
- 2 lb ground pork
- 2 small onions or 1 large one, finely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic finely minced
- 2 potatoes grated
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 cup breadcrumbs I used Panko
- 1/2 tsp salt or to taste
- 1/2 tsp pepper or to taste
- 1/4 cup parsley finely chopped
- 1/4 cup dill fresh, finely chopped
- oil for frying
- Heat the tbsp of vegetable oil in a skillet over medium-high heat.Add the onions, garlic and saute until tender. Add the grated potato and cook for a few minutes until it becomes tender. Let this cool.
- In a large bowl, add the onion/potato mixture, ground pork, eggs and breadcrumbs, salt and pepper, add the chopped parsley and chopped dill and mix well.
- You can form these into balls, or traditionally they are formed into small patties.
- Add oil to a large skillet and fry the meatballs on all sides.
- Serve over spaghetti, or mashed potatoes.
- These meatballs can also be baked. Bake at 400 F degrees for about 30 to 45 minutes or until cooked through.
- Please keep in mind that nutritional information is a rough estimate and can vary greatly based on products used.