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Roussillon Meatballs

These meatballs, adapted from The French Slow Cooker by Michele Scicolone (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt 2012), hail from a town in southern France near the Spanish border. The touch of cinnamon makes them seem almost Moorish. Delicious. Serve atop buttered egg noodles for a rich, fancy dish. The recipe is intended for a 5-quart or larger slow cooker.

Roussillon Meatballs
Michele Kayal for NPR
Roussillon Meatballs
Michele Kayal for NPR

Makes 6 to 8 servings

1 28-ounce can tomato puree

1/2 cup water

2 scallions, white and green parts, minced

2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided

1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 pound ground beef chuck

1 pound ground pork

3/4 cup crumbled French or Italian bread, soaked in water and lightly squeezed

2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, plus more for garnish

2 large eggs

Freshly ground pepper

1 cup chopped pitted green olives

In a large bowl, stir together the tomato puree, water, scallions, 1/2 teaspoon salt and the cinnamon. Pour half the sauce into the slow cooker.

In a large bowl, mix the meats, bread, garlic, parsley, eggs, the remaining 1 1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper to taste. Moisten your hands and roll the meat mixture into 2-inch balls. Place gently into the slow cooker.

Cover meatballs with the remaining sauce. Cover and cook on low for 4 to 5 hours, until the meatballs are cooked through. Just before serving, stir the meatballs in the sauce and add the olives. Serve hot, garnished with parsley.

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