Meatballs Braised with Leeks & Celery
In the mood for a meatball dish with a twist? This lovely northern Greek meatball and leek-celery medley works wonderfully over rice, wild rice or pasta and pairs beautifully with many of Greece's red wines or full-bodies whites. To find the olive oil and trahana used in this recipe as well as other carefully curated artisinal Greek products, visit my online shop here.
- For the meatballs
- 1 pound / 500g ground beef
- 1 pound / 500g ground lamb
- 1 large onion finely chopped
- 3 tablespoons trahana
- 2 tablespoons fresh mint finely chopped
- ½ cup fresh parsley finely chopped
- 2 teaspoons sweet paprika
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2 large eggs
- For the vegetables
- 6 tablespoons extra virgin Greek olive oil
- 3 large leeks white and tender green parts only, thoroughly washed and cut into 5-cm / 2-in pieces
- 2-3 celery stalks cut into 2-in / 5-cm pieces
- 1-2 teaspoons sweet or hot paprika
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
Prepare the meatballs: Mix the ground meats, onions, trahana, mint, parsley, paprika, salt, pepper and eggs in a large bowl and knead well. Shape into small meatballs, about 1 1/2-in / 4 -cm in diameter. Place on a paper-lined baking tray, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for an hour for the meatballs to firm up.
Heat four tablespoons of olive oil in a large frying pan, on a low heat, and sauté the leek and the celery, stirring until they wilt, for about 7-10 minutes. Sprinkle with paprika, salt and pepper and mix well. Add the meatballs, mix it all together, and add enough water to cover 2/3 of the meatballs. Cover the pan and let them boil on a low heat until the meatballs are cooked and the vegetables are very soft, for about one hour. While the food cooks, check the pan and add more water if necessary.
A few minutes before removing the pan from the fire, add the remaining two tablespoons of butter and move the pan back and forth so that the butter melts and spreads around. Let it cool slightly and serve.