Remember the Neil Diamond recording titled "Love at the Greek"? Well, for the longest time I thought it was love the Greek and if anything can do it for you, this'll be it! Leave it to the Greeks to come up with something so simply delicious, so much so I can't wait for a repeat performance. Moist, incredibly tender and the opposite to labor intensive, these little oval torpedoes are absolutely bursting with flavor. No wonder!
Loaded with olive oil, dried mint, oregano, cinnamon, nutmeg and cayenne pepper along with a finely minced red onion, the lean ground beef is almost an after thought - necessary but secondary to all the other ingredients. Shaped into flat ovals, coated in flour and fried quickly they take absolutely no time to make and would be wonderful as a filling for pita or part of selection of appetizers (meze) along with a glass of red wine.
As for the tomato sauce, it is a simple reduction of whole canned tomatoes, sans their juices along with lots of garlic, and beef consomme - oh and a few more herbs of course. Reduced to a thick sauce, garnished with lemon juice and parsley just before serving, it's absolutely wonderful on top of some grilled eggplant.
I can't wait to make it again with ground lamb and maybe even ground turkey. We all know ground turkey can be incredibly dry and flavorless unless it has a bunch of modifications and I can't think of a better way to modify a sawdust like turkey ball than with the fixin's from these meatballs. Just imagine it inside flatbread along with some cucumber and sweet onion or maybe a tzatziki dip. Wow!
Greek Meatballs in Tomato Sauce (Keftedes me Saltsa Domata) (adapted from Food & Wine Magazine)
1 tablespoon dried mint
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon dried oregano
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 medium red onion, finely minced
1 egg, beaten
Salt and coarse ground black pepper
1/2 cup fresh breadcrumbs
1 tablespoon milk
1 pound ground beef
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
Oil for frying
In bowl combine mint, olive oil, oregano, cinnamon, nutmeg, cayenne and onion. Add egg, season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle in breadcrumbs and stir well to incorporate. Add ground beef and mix together (mixture will be very soft and moist). Form into 20 oval shaped balls and refrigerate for minimum, one half hour. To cook – heat a large skillet over medium high heat. Add oil to depth of a quarter inch and heat until shimmering. Coat meatballs in flour and fry until brown on each side – approximately 5 to 6 minutes, total. Cook meatballs in batches so they brown easily and do not crowd the pan. Remove to a paper towel lined tray to drain. Set aside.
3 tablespoons olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
1-1/2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 bay leaves
1 tablespoon oregano
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1 – 28 ounce can whole peeled tomatoes, drained and pureed
1 – 10 ounce can beef consommé
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons chopped parsley for garnish
Heat oil in skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and cook briefly, stirring constantly for about 30 seconds. Stir in tomato paste and cook stirring for 2 minutes. Add bay leaves, oregano, cinnamon, nutmeg, pureed tomatoes and consommé. Simmer stirring occasionally for 15 to 20 minutes or until sauce is thickened. Taste for seasoning and add salt and pepper as required. Stir in lemon juice. Return meatballs to pan and heat. Garnish with parsley. Serves 4 to 6 Download Greek Meatballs in Tomato Sauce
A year ago - Kung Pao Chicken