Keftethakia (Greek Meatballs)
Meatballs are popular in all of Greece: the small ones are used as appetizers and the bigger ones as main dish. They can be made of beef (preferably) or lamb, as long as the meat is lean and ground it will work. They also should be well seasoned with herbs and spices, such as fresh mint, oregano, dill and grated cheese.
Preparation: 30 minutes, plus an hour of refrigeration. Cooking time: 7-10 minutes.
This recipe serves six to eight people for appetizers (for four as a main dish):
- 50 grams or about two ounces of bread
- Three tablespoons of water or wine
- Two tablespoons of olive oil
- 50 grams or about two ounces of chopped onion
- 450 grams or about 1 lb of ground beef or lamb
- One beaten egg
- Two tablespoons of grated cheese
- One tablespoon of fresh mint or parsley
- One teaspoon of oregano
- Fresh pepper
- Oil for frying.
Soak the bread in water or wine; warm olive oil in a pan and fry the onion slowly, without browning it, for 6-7 minutes. Take away from burner.
Mix the soaked bread, the onion, the meat, the beaten egg, cheese, mint or parsley, oregano and salt and pepper. Beat the mixture slowly with a wooden spoon or with your hands, until well blended.
Take a spoonful of the mixture at a time and roll it between floured hands in small balls if you want to use the meatballs for appetizers or bigger ones for a main dish. Cover and refrigerate at least an hour.
Heat three or four spoonfuls of oil in a frying pan and fry the meatballs at moderate heat for about 6-9 minutes, shaking the pan often, until they are golden. Drain the cooked meatballs and keep warm until the time of serving them. Serve with tzatziki!