Chiftele are meatballs that are a variant of the famous keftas served throughout the Balkan countries and North Africa.
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time1 hr 15 mins
Total Time1 hr 35 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Romania
Keyword: Beef, Lamb
Servings: 6


For the meatballs

  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 lb ground lamb
  • 1 large onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • ½ bunch dill
  • ½ bunch parsley
  • 2 eggs , lightly beaten
  • 1 small potato
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 stalk celery
  • 1 slice bread , soaked in water
  • Salt
  • Black Pepper
  • Nutmeg
  • 3 tbsp water
  • Flour
  • Vegetable oil

For the sauce

  • 2 scallions , grated
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 4 tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • ½ tsp sugar
  • ½ bunch parsley, finely chopped
  • ½ green bell pepper, cut into strips
  • 1 red bell pepper, cut into strips
  • 1 green hot pepper, sliced
  • ½ cup water
  • A few pearl onions
  • A few cherry tomatoes


For the Meatballs

  • In the food processor, chop meat, onion, garlic, dill, parsley, potatoes, celery and carrot.
  • Sprinkle with nutmeg. Stir in bread, cold water and eggs by hand.
  • Add salt and pepper. Thoroughly mix the preparation and set it aside for 30 minutes by working it several times by hand.
  • Grease your hands and form smooth round balls, about the size of a large walnut (about 1 oz) and roll in flour.
  • Fry the meatballs in a large frying pan over medium heat one minute on each side. They should be half submerged in oil. Drain and set aside.

For the Sauce

  • Peel, core and cut the tomatoes into small cubes.
  • Sauté onions over medium heat. Add all the other ingredients except the pearl onions and cherry tomatoes. Mix well.
  • When it is boiling again, dip the meatballs in the sauce and cook for 45 minutes (15 minutes over medium heat and 30 minutes over low heat to simmer).
  • 15 minutes before end of cooking, add the pearl onions and cherry tomatoes in the sauce.

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