Linda's Mother's Transylvanian Meatballs

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Invented by Linda’s mother, Judy, in 1956, these meatballs are a staple in the Lewis house. According to Linda, they taste even better reheated the next day.


  • 750 g lean or extra lean ground beef
  • 1/2 cup bread crumbs , (or, even better, matzo meal)
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup ketchup
  • 1/4 cup grated onion
  • 1 tsp mustard
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • black pepper
  • 1 680-mL can plain tomato sauce , (or tomato mushroom)
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 2 tbsp vinegar
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce


  • In a large bowl, mix together the ground beef, bread crumbs, egg, ketchup, onion, mustard, salt and pepper. The easiest (and most fun) way to do this is the bare-handed squish method. (If your kids are helping, make sure they wash their hands before and after handling the raw meat.) Roll the mixture into small, compact balls (about 1 in. / 2 cm diameter).
  • To cook, combine the tomato sauce, the sugars, vinegar and Worcestershire sauce and bring to a boil in a large saucepan over medium heat. (A quick word about the ingredients: The tomato sauce should be the smooth, old-fashioned kind. No fancy sun-dried tomatoes, roasted garlic, three-cheese concoctions here.) Drop the meatballs into the simmering sauce, one at a time. Don’t worry, there will be enough to cover them. Cook, stirring occasionally, very carefully so as not to break up the meatballs, for one hour.
  • Serve with mashed potatoes, rice, pasta or whatever.