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Meatballs? Oh, sure, an Italian recipe. Right?

Wrong. This is French, from the Roussilon region in Southwest France. Too often we hear “French Food” and have images of Paris and roast chicken. France’s food is as diverse as Italy’s and French regional food has enormous diversity and equisite flavosr. This recipe is from The French Slow Cooker by Michele Scicolone. She’s been our friend for decades and her many cookbooks are constant kitchen companions for us. The recipes are flawless. Pick one, anyone, and you’ll have smile on your face.

At first, you might be reluctant to go down the “slow cooker” path. We live in a Twitter, no X, age and the emphasis is for us is on quickness. Of course, we all know the story of moms and grandmoms decades ago whose only job was to spend the day in the kitchen. Suzi and I don’t have grandmothers now. But we have slow cookers. Three of them. We wake up on winter mornings to this view from our bedroom window.

What greater motivation can there be to pick a slow cooker recipe and enjoy aromas drifting thorughout the house for hours. In this recipe the aromas include garlic and cinnamon and parsely and tomato. It’s enough to make you frequently sample the sauce during the five hours of cookinig time. You can serve these meatballs over rice or noodles. Or just fill up a bowl with meatballs and sauce.

This is a recipe that will capture your attention and offer a gratifying meal. No matter how cold it is outside.

Roussillon Meatballs

Yield: Serves 6 to 8


  • 1 28-ounce can tomato puree
  • 2 scallions, minced
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 pinches of ground cinnamon
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 pound ground beef chuck
  • 1 pound ground pork
  • ¾ 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


Stir together the tomato puree, scallions, ½ teaspoon of the salt and the cinnamon.

Pour half the sauce into a large slow cooker.

Spread the flour on a piece of wax paper.

In a large bowl, mix the meats, bread, garlic, parsley, eggs, the remaining 1

teaspoons salt, and pepper to taste. Moisten your hands and roll the meat mixture

into 2-inch balls. Lightly roll the meatballs in the flour.

Add the meatballs to the slow cooker. Pour on 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.

Source: The French Slow Cooker by Michele Scicolone