Meatballs With Walnut Sauce
Walnuts inform much of the Sephardic cooking of Thessaloniki. This meatball with walnut sauce recipe called Keftes de Nogada is surprisingly simple yet a very delicious and satisfying way to serve one of the world’s great comfort foods. It is a classic of Thessaloniki’s Sephardic community.
- 1 ½ pounds 750 g lean ground beef
- 3 bread slices
- 1 small onion finely grated
- 1 egg
- Extra virgin Greek olive oil as needed
- 2 cups of flour, or as needed for dredging the meatballs
- 3 cups of water
- 3 cups fresh flat-leaf parsley finely chopped
- 3 cups breadcrumbs or grated rusks
- 1 and ¾ cup 200 g shelled walnuts, coarsely ground
- Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
Cut away the crusts and soak the bread in water for a few seconds. Squeeze dry and crumble. In a large mixing bowl combine the ground meat, dampened, squeezed breadcrumbs, grated onion, egg and 4 tablespoons of olive oil. Season with sea salt and pepper and knead well.
Shape the meat mixture into balls, about 1 ½ inches in diameter. Spread flour onto a large flat plate, season it lightly with salt and pepper, and lightly dredge the meatballs in the seasoned flour.
Heat 3 inches of olive oil or other oil such as canola or corn oil in a large deep skillet over medium heat and slide the meatballs into the hot oil. Fry them gently, turning once or twice with a spatula or kitchen tongs to brown on all sides.
In a separate pan combine water, parsley, breadcrumbs, walnuts and 1 cup of olive oil and bring to a simmer. Add the meatballs to the walnut-parsley broth and gently stir. Season with salt and pepper.
Let them simmer for a few minutes until the sauce thickens further and is the consistency of loose oatmeal. Serve warm.