Diane Rossen Worthington

Greek Meatballs with Tzatziki Recipe
Keftedes - Greek Meatballs with Tzatziki

Rick Rodgers, author of "I Love Meatballs!," has put together a lovely recipe collection that is helpful for the home cook in the current climate of meatball madness. You can find restaurants across the country paying homage to the peasant meatball. This book includes the classic Italian-American meatball but also salutes many other cultures. Think Chicken-Matzo Balls, Persian Meatballs in Pomegranate and Walnut Sauce and Chinese Shrimp Ball Soup, to name just a few from this creative worldly selection.

This keftedes recipe is what a Greek meatball should be about -- half ground lamb and half ground beef is the author's preference for the meat mixture, while a lively combination of fresh mint, dried oregano and ground cinnamon round out the flavoring.

These Keftedes (meatballs in Greek) are best served with tzatziki, a cool and refreshing yogurt and cucumber sauce.

You can serve these Greek Meatballs with Tzatziki all by themselves with some vegetable rice pilaf and a cucumber and tomato salad. Or serve as a delicious appetizer while serving cocktails. I also like to serve them as a lunch main course with a bowl of shredded lettuce and warm wheat pita bread halves -- perfect for making your own Greek-style sandwiches.

Any choice you make will be the right one.

Greek Meatballs with Tzatziki

    Prep Time: 30 minutes

    Cook time: 10 minutes

    Yield: Makes 4 to 6 servings

Greek Meatballs with Tzatziki Ingredients


      2 standard cucumbers

      1 teaspoon kosher salt

      1 cup Greek-style yogurt (see note)

      1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

      1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh mint

      2 cloves garlic, crushed though a press

      1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

    Greek meatballs:

      1 cup fresh breadcrumbs

      1/2 cup milk

      1 - 1/2 pounds ground round (85 percent lean), or use half ground round and half ground lamb

      1 medium yellow onion, shredded on the large holes of a box grater

      4 cloves garlic, crushed through a press

      2 large eggs, beaten

      2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint

      2 teaspoons dried oregano

      1 - 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt

      1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

      1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

      3 tablespoons olive oil

      Wooden toothpicks, for serving

Greek Meatballs with Tzatziki Recipe Instructions

    1. To make the tzatziki, peel the cucumbers. Cut each in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds with a spoon. Shred on the large holes of a box grater. Transfer to a wire sieve and toss with the salt. Let drain in the sink for 30 minutes to 1 hour. A handful at a time, squeeze the shredded cucumbers to extract more liquid, then transfer to a medium bowl. Add the yogurt, lemon juice, mint, garlic and pepper, and mix well. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or up to 2 days.

    2. To make the meatballs, combine the breadcrumbs and milk in a large bowl. Let stand until the bread crumbs are thoroughly moistened, about 3 minutes. Add the ground meat, onion, garlic, eggs, mint, oregano, salt, pepper and cinnamon. Use your hands to mix the meat mixture well. Cover and refrigerate for at least 15 minutes or up to 4 hours.

    3. Preheat the oven to 200 F. Using your wet hands rinsed under cold water, shape the meat mixture into 18 equal meatballs. Transfer the meatballs to a plate. Heat the oil in a large skillet (preferably nonstick) over medium heat. In batches, add the meatballs and cook, turning occasionally, until lightly browned and cooked through, 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer to a baking sheet and keep warm in the oven while cooking the remaining meatballs.

    4. Spoon the tzatziki into individual ramekins or small serving bowls. Drain the meatballs briefly on paper towels. Serve the meatballs hot, with toothpicks for spearing and the tzatziki as a dip.

Meatballs Keftedes, Greek

Available at Amazon.com: I Love Meatballs!


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Greek Meatballs with Tzatziki - Keftedes Recipe

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