Gedempte: /geh-dem-pt/ Yiddish for “well cooked”
Now you may be thinking, “meatballs, isn’t that an Italian dish?” Yes, technically you are correct but there are many variations of the meatball (condensed, balled meat) that span across history, countries, religions and more. For these Gedepmte Meatballs, I took a variation on the typical sweet and sour meatballs you may find at Rosh Hashana or on Shabbos and made them with a sweet and spicy (spicy from cinnamon and Allspice) version.
What you need:
1 lb ground beef
1/3 cup of breadcrumbs
1 small onion, chopped
1/2 red onion, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 large can or 2 small cans of roasted tomatoes (diced or whole works)
1/2 cups of chopped tomatoes (optional, great for if you have some sad looking tomatoes left)
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp Allspice
Salt & pepper to taste
1. Combine all the ingredients for the meatballs in a bowl and mix with your hands.
2. Roll into balls- they can be however big you want- and refrigerate until you are going to cook them.
3. Okay, now for the sauce! Chop everything that needs chopping, first off. Then in a pot or a large pan with sides, heat up the olive oil. Add the chopped red onion, wilted tomatoes and garlic and cook until the onions start to go a bit see through.
4. Add your canned tomatoes. If you are using whole roasted tomatoes like I did, just mush them up a bit with a bit wooden spoon.
5. Add your Allspice, cinnamon, salt and pepper. Taste it to make sure you like the flavors you have. Adjust to taste. Reduce heat to simmer and let simmer uncovered for 15 minutes stirring occasionally.
6. Take your meatballs out of the fridge and place well spaced out in your sauce.
7. Cover your pot or pan with a lid and cook for 30 minutes total or until your meat is fully cooked. I set my timer for 15 minutes and then turned my meatballs over so that all sides could cook in the sauce.
8. While your meatballs are cooking, prepare whatever you want to eat them with (pasta, egg noodles, rice). I chose rice and cook as instructed on the packaging.
9. After about 30 minutes, your sauce should have reduced and become more liquidy and the meatballs should be fully cooked.
10. Once the sauce and meatballs are cooked, serve over whatever you want (rice in my case) and top with a bit of chopped parsley to bring brightness to a heavier dish!