Keftedes, Greek Meatballs
I'd say this is probably the top "mommy food" recipe there is in the Greek kitchen. My kids pop these keftedes like candy whenever I make them. To find some of the artisinal Greek products you'll need to make this, visit my online shop here, where you'll discover a host of lovingly curated Greek ingredients.
- 1 ½ lbs. ground beef or combination of ground beef lamb and/or pork
- 2 large red onions grated or minced (about 2 cups)
- 1 large tomato grated on a coarse grater*
- ¾ to 1 cup milk
- Salt and pepper
- 2 tablespoons ground DRIED Greek mint
- ¼-1/2 cup plain breadcrumbs as needed
- 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour for dredging
- Olive oil for frying
* To grate the tomato: Keep the tomato whole and unpeeled. Cut off a quarter-size piece from the root end and begin grating the tomato into a bowl along the teeth of a coarse cheese grater.
Combine the ground meat and onions in a mixing bowl. Add the tomato, mint, salt, and pepper and knead well for about three minutes to combine. Pour in the milk and continue kneading until the liquid is completely absorbed. If the mixture is so loose that the keftedes do mot retain their shape, add a few tablespoons of plain fine breadcrumbs. Cover the mixing bowl and refrigerate the mixture for at least one hour or up to six, so that the flavors meld.
To form: Season the flour with salt and pepper and spread out onto a large plate. Have a second, clean plate ready. Take a tablespoon at a time of the meat mixture and form into a ball, about the size of a golf ball. Roll in the flour and shake dry in the palm of your hand. Place the dredges meatball on the clean plate. Continue with remaining mixture until all the meatballs are shaped.
To fry: Heat about one inch of olive oil in a large, heavy skillet. Using a tablespoon or small spatula, gently place as many meatballs as will fit in the pan without crowding. Fry them over medium heat, turning once or twice so that all sides are browned. Remove, drain slightly on paper towels and serve, either hot or at room temperature. The meatballs may be made several hours ahead and stored, covered, at room temperature.