This is a recipe for soft, juicy and aromatic meatballs (Keftedes). Serve them with homemade fries and it will be one of the best meals in your life. Guaranteed!
Meatballs is a classic in many cuisines. From “Swedish meatballs” to Turkish Kofte and the British spaghetti Bolognese (yes, they make it with meatballs). The concept is simple: fried ground meat. But the taste and sensations vary.
The kind of meat you are using is important. The Turks and people from the Middle East tend to use lamb, which I find overwhelming. I love lamb but…fried ground lamb is too much for me.
Swedish meatballs are mostly based on pork and I find they lack a bit of a kick. They are a bit…boring. However, the sauce they are served with is usually interesting.
Many of us, in the western parts of the world, tend to use ground beef when making meatballs. I have tried many times with beef but I find the meatballs very…meaty! Beef dominates everything else and that’s not good. There should be a balance. I find it hard to make them soft so they melt in your mouth.
The search for the best meatballs bring me again back to my roots, when my mother used to make “keftedes”. When she was frying them, the whole neighbourhood was filled with the lovely aroma, making the people excited. “Keftedes” were soft, tasty and full of flavours.
The secret? First, she used (and still uses) ground veal, which is tasty but not as “meaty” as beef. Second, the herbs. Fresh spearmint and parsley. Spearmint is slightly different from mint and is abundant in Greece. If you cannot find it, fresh mint will do just fine.
As a personal touch, I added one (maybe two) shots of Ouzo. The anise give an extra kick to the “keftedes”. You may use any similar spirit, like the Turkish Raki or French Pastis.
- 500 gr (18 oz) ground veal.
- 1 onion.
- A small bunch of flat-leaf parsley.
- 20-30 leafs of fresh spearmint.
- 1 egg.
- 2 garlic cloves
- 3-4 pieces of fresh bread for toast, shredded into small pieces.
- 1 shot of Ouzo or any other anise seed-based spirit.
- 1 tablespoon dried oregano.
- 1 tablespoon salt.
- ½ tablespoon ground pepper.
- ½ cup of all-purpose flour.
- 1 cup of extra virgin olive oil.
- Add the onion (cut in large pieces), parsley, spearmint and garlic in a blender and create a coarse mixture.
- In a large bowl, add the veal, mixture from the blender, bread, egg, Ouzo and oregano. Season with salt and pepper and knead the mix well. Cover with cling film and leave in in the fridge for an hour at least.
- Heat up the olive oil in a large frying pan on medium-high heat.
- Use the mixture and make the meatballs. They should be a bit smaller than a golf ball. Cover them slightly with flour and start frying them when the oil is hot. Keep frying until they get golden brown on both sides.
- Enjoy the meatballs with fresh salad and homemade fries.
- Bon appetit!