Tag Archives: Meatballs

Keftedes, Greek Meatballs

Keftedes
Making Keftedes, Greek Meatballs
Keftedes, Greek Meatballs
Keftedes
Keftedes
Keftedes, Greek Meatballs

I married a Big Fat Greek Family, and we all love to eat Greek food.  Hubby’s Aunt Jennie is an excellent cook, and used to own a restaurant. She also loves to entertain family and friends. I learned a few things from her, about Greek Cuisine.  She makes the best Keftedes, leg of lamb, Pastichio, Moussaka, Spanakopita, and a very scrumptious Baklava. She always tells me her meatballs include 10 ingredients, but I never write them down. So I am going by memory here. I can easily call her, but this dish came out so delicious. As the saying goes, if it ain’t broken don’t fix it. I use a little breadcrumbs in this recipe, but I noticed some recipes call for some white bread.

Serves: 6-8  Level of difficulty: Medium
Yield: 24 meatballs more or less depending on how big you make them. You can use an ice cream scooper to make them evenly.

Ingredients:  

  • 2.5 ground sirloin
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 ounce of fresh mint leaves, chopped
  • 1 large handful of flat-leave parsley, chopped
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano, or 2-3 sprigs of fresh ones, chopped
  • 1/2 cup seasoned breadcrumbs
  • 2 eggs
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  • Olive oil for fryingPreparation:

    1) Prep the first 10 ingredients, and place in a large bowl. Mix well and form the meatballs.  I always taste test one first, by pan frying it, this way, I can add more seasoning, if necessary.

2) You will work in batches. In a large skillet, cover the bottom
with olive oil and heat it over medium-high heat.  Always make
sure, oil is hot before pan frying, otherwise, you will end up with
soggy meatballs.  Place meatballs in a single layer, and pan fry for about 6-7 minutes on one side, then flip them and fry an additional 6-7  minutes on the other side.  You may have to lower the flame to medium-heat at that point, otherwise, if it’s too high, they will get very dark. Do not overcook them as they will dry up. This may take some practice. You can also bake them for a healthier version.

3) Remove, and arrange them on a plate. Garnish with some mint leaves.   Serve it with some Tzatziki Sauce on the side. The meatballs  can be served as a Meze, an appetizer, or serve it with a Greek Salad for a full meal.

I can assure you, you and your family will enjoy this Greek deliciousness.

Get cooking, and let me know how they come out!

Kali Orexi

Disclosure: I do not get paid to mention the Fage brand, I happen to like their Greek Yogurt. Please make sure meat is fully cooked to avoid the risk of food-born illnesses.

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Veal Meatballs with Pecorino Cheese & Sweet Italian Sausage

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A few weeks ago, hubby asked me to cook for his golfing buddies, since they were playing near the house. I gracefully agreed, and decided to make some veal meatballs over spaghetti. When cooking for a hungry crowd, pasta is always a good idea. I could have easily made a meat sauce, but I decided to get a little fancy, and made meatballs with Pecorino cheese. These delicious meatballs were inspired by D’Angelo Pizza and Wine Bar, but I created my version.

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VealMeatballs

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Serves 8-10     Degree of difficulty: Medium – Difficult

This recipe can easily be divided in half. I am sharing it with you, because I was cooking for a crowd and needed a lot sauce. Normally, I recommend using a marinara sauce for these meatballs, as veal is a more delicate meat, and they can easily fall apart if don’t watch them carefully. In general, marinara is much quicker, where the standard sauce is a slow cooking process. Do not use the sausage in the marinara, as it will crowd the sauce too much. The veal by itself will make a nice appetizer to serve at a party, and will wow your guests. You can also serve them with a side of ricotta cheese. As you can see, there are many variations to this dish.

Ingredients:

  • 3 lbs. ground veal
  • 12 oz Pecorino Romano cheese, grated, divided in half
  • 1 small onion, grated
  • 1 large garlic clove, minced
  • 1/2 cup of whole milk
  •  3/4 cup seasoned breadcrumbs
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  • A large handful of chopped Italian parsley, flat-leave
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 lbs of Spaghetti or any pasta of your choice

Preparation:

1) First, prepare the meatballs. In a large bowl, place the ground veal, breadcrumbs,  6 oz of grated cheese, milk, garlic, onion, seasonings, parsley and eggs. Combine all the ingredients and mix well with your hands. If you are a beginner cook, I suggest you use an ice cream scoop with handles to form your meatballs. Place them on a greased pan, and  bake in a 350 degree oven for 10 – 12 minutes. Turn them halfway through, to get color on both sides. Remove and set aside. You can certainly pan-fry them also, but it would take a little more work. There is no need to fully cook them as they will continue to cook in the sauce. Yields about 25-26 meatballs using the ice cream scoop.

Ingredients for the sauce: 

  •  4 lbs. sweet Italian sausage with fennel
  • 3 – 4 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 container of Pomi chopped tomatoes, or other brand
  • 1 Cento, (size #10 can) fully prepared Spaghetti sauce *
  • 1 can tomato paste
  • Oregano, salt & pepper to taste
  • 1/4 – 1/2 cup of water
  • a pinch or two of sugar, optional

Preparation:

1) In a large pot, over med-high heat, add 2 tbsp. olive oil, and brown the sausages (whole)  on both sides.  You will do this in batches. Next, cut the sausage links in 3 pieces each. Set aside.

2) In the same pot, add more olive oil to brown the tomato paste. Cook and stir, until you get a nice caramelization, add the chopped tomatoes, the prepared sauce, the seasonings, sugar and the water. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat. Add the meatballs and the sausage in the sauce. Simmer covered for 2 – 2.5 hours, while stirring FREQUENTLY to avoid burning on the bottom of the pot.  Always taste for flavor and adjust seasoning as needed.

3) When sauce is nearly done, boil the water for the spaghetti and cook according to package directions.

Please note, I took a big chance by simmering the veal for so long, 10 more minutes I would have had a meat sauce. I strongly suggest you do a marinara sauce for them, which will take about 30 minute to 45 minutes. I have been in the kitchen for 25 years and love to experiment and take chances. (making a funny face)

*This is not my typical sauce, because I was cooking for a large crowd, it was convenient for me to use that large can of prepared sauce, which can be found at Italian specialty stores. I occasionally change the brand in the quest for a perfect sauce.

Recommended sauce for the Veal Meatballs (for about 12) 

Ingredients for Marinara sauce: 

  •  1 – 2  28 oz can crushed tomatoes, San Marzano is ideal as they are known for their sweetness, but they will cost you a bit more.
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Pepper flakes, optional
  • 2-3 basil leaves, chopped
  • 1/4 cup of Chardonnay, optional
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1/4 cup of water

Preparation:

Heat olive oil in med-sized pan, and saute’ the garlic. As soon, as they release their aromas, deglaze with wine, add tomatoes, water, seasonings and simmer covered for about 20-30 minutes. Stir occasionally. This marinara is enough for about 1 lb. of  pasta and 10 – 12 meatballs. (About half of the recipe above, more or less) PLEASE BEWARE, THE SAUCE WILL SPATTER, KEEP IT ON LOW AND USE A LID AS A SHIELD.

Now, that everything is cooked, it’s time to serve. I normally, place all the meal on the table, but in this case, I had everyone come up to me in the kitchen with their dishes, so I could have control  over the portions. They were very big eaters, and I wanted to make sure, I had enough for everyone.

With the holidays upon us, I hope,  you will try these meatballs with the marinara sauce. Not only, they will look festive, but I can assure you, they will be the talk of the town.

Happy Cooking and Happy Holidays From Gina’s Kitchen!

Wine pairing suggestion:  Chianti from the region of Tuscany. A luscious and widely popular wine made mostly from the red Sangiovese grapes.