tefteliRussian meatballs incorporate rice and are served without a side dish.



1 lb non-lean ground beef

1/2 lb ground pork

1/2 cup parboiled rice

2 tbsp minced dill

1 tbsp minced parsley

1 large yellow onion, finely chopped

3 cups beef stock

1 28-oz can peeled tomatoes, drained and chopped

1 egg, lightly beaten

salt and pepper to taste

vegetable oil, preferably the kind suitable for high-temperature cooking, such as sunflower

all-purpose flour

sour cream



2 pans (1 for sautéing the onion, 1 for frying the meatballs)

1 heavy braising pot with a tight fitting lid, such as a Dutch oven.




  1. Add 1 tbsp oil to the pan and sauté 1/2 of the finely chopped onion, stirring frequently, until golden-brown, but not crispy, about 30 minutes.*  Take off heat, strain off the excess oil, and let cool for a few minutes.
  2. Cook the rice according to package directions, EXCEPT: reduce the amount of water you add to it by about 1/4 and the cooking time by a few minutes.  When done, the rice should taste slightly undercooked.  Let cool until you can touch it comfortably (in fact, you can prepare the rice a day ahead).
  3. Combine great beef and pork, sautéed onion, rice and egg.  Mix well.  Season with salt and pepper.  (To taste, break off a teaspoonful of the meat and cook it in a microwave.)  Cover and chill in the refrigerator for about 1 hour.**
  4. While the meat and rice mixture is chilling, heat about 3 tablespoons of oil in a Dutch oven.  Add the remaining onion and sauté, stirring frequently, until golden-brown about 30 minutes.  Add the chopped tomatoes, stir, cover, reduce the heat, and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, for about 20 minutes.
  5. Heat a generous amount of oil in a frying pan.  Dip your fingers into lukewarm water and shake off excess.  (Dipping your hands in warmish water will always help you shape ground meat without it sticking to your fingers.) Break off meat in portions about the size slightly larger than golfballs, dredge them lightly in flour, than fry at high heat in batches, until crispy (they need not to cook all the way through).  Drain on paper towels.
  6. Add the beef stock to the Dutch oven and stir to combine.  Bring the liquid to a boil and adjust the seasonings.  Reduce the heat, slip the meatballs into the sauce, cover, and let simmer for about 45 minutes.
  7. Take off heat, add the minced parsley and 1 half the minced dill, mix carefully so as to not break apart the meatballs, cover and let stand 5 minutes before serving.
  8. Serve the meatballs in a small amount of broth, with a dollop of sour cream on top and sprinkle with additional dill.


*Pan-cooking onion takes much, much longer than most cook books and “experts”‘ recipes tell you.  Some day, perhaps I’ll publish a post cataloguing all the blatant lies commercial recipes tell people.  This is one of them.  Cooking onion takes a long time.  Sorry.

**I don’t have an editor, so it’s possible I sometimes forget mentioning this step in my recipes.  BUT:  whenever you use ground meat to make any sort of patties, dumplings, meatballs, scotch eggs, etc, you should always chill the meat mix in the refrigerator before cooking it.  ALWAYS.