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Paprika beef meatballs with sour cream and crisp onion

Recipe for paprika beef meatballs with sour cream and crisp onion.

By Emma Knowles
  • 45 mins preparation
  • 1 hr 30 mins cooking plus resting
  • Serves 4
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Paprika beef meatballs with sour cream and crisp onion
Serve these Hungarian-style meatballs with buttered egg noodles or even spätzle. The crisp onion on top is optional, but highly recommended.


  • 20 gm butter, diced
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 1 red banana chilli, finely chopped
  • 150 gm Swiss brown mushrooms, quartered
  • 1 heaped tbsp Hungarian-style sweet paprika
  • 1 tsp each hot paprika and smoked paprika
  • 150 ml dry white wine
  • 400 ml beef stock or chicken stock
  • 400 gm canned chopped tomatoes
  • 5 gm dried porcini mushrooms, soaked in 60ml warm water for 20 minutes
  • ¼ cup coarsely copped flat-leaf parsley, plus extra to serve
  • 2 tsp each finely chopped thyme and rosemary, plus extra leaves to serve
  • 200 gm sour cream, plus extra to serve
Paprika meatballs
  • 400 gm minced beef
  • 50 gm speck, diced
  • 35 gm (½ cup) fine fresh rye breadcrumbs
  • 90 ml milk
  • 1 egg
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp Hungarian-style sweet paprika
  • ½ tsp each dried chilli flakes and caraway seeds
  • ½ cup finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • ¼ tsp smoked paprika
Crisp onion
  • 1 small onion, thinly sliced into rings
  • For dusting: plain flour
  • 70 ml olive oil
  • 20 gm butter, coarsely chopped


  • 1
    For paprika meatballs, combine ingredients in a bowl, mixing lightly with your hands, and season to taste (don’t overwork the mixture). Roll into walnut-sized balls, place on a tray, cover and refrigerate to rest (30 minutes).
  • 2
    Meanwhile, preheat oven to 160C. Heat butter and half the oil in an ovenproof casserole, add onion, garlic and chilli, and sauté until tender (5-6 minutes), then add Swiss brown mushrooms and sauté until just tender (1-2 minutes). Add spices, sauté until fragrant, then deglaze pan with wine and simmer until almost evaporated (1-2 minutes). Add stock, tomatoes, porcini and soaking liquid, and herbs. Season to taste.
  • 3
    Heat remaining oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat, add meatballs and brown all over (3-4 minutes). Add meatballs to sauce, bring to the boil, then transfer to oven and bake, stirring occasionally, until very tender and flavoursome (1-1¼ hours).
  • 4
    Meanwhile, for crisp onion, separate onion into rings and dust lightly in flour. Heat oil and butter in a small saucepan over medium-high heat, add onion and fry until crisp (3-4 minutes). Drain on paper towels and set aside.
  • 5
    Remove meatballs from oven and transfer 250ml sauce to a bowl. Add sour cream, whisk to combine, then return to meatballs and mix well. Serve meatballs and sauce hot topped with extra sour cream, crisp onion and herbs.


Drink Suggestion: Eastern European pilsner. Drink suggestion by Max Allen