Keftethes are a staple for any Greek menu, and every YiaYia has their own secretly guarded recipe. Traditionally made with either lamb or beef, this choice is completely up to you to play around with. Lamb can be easily sub’d for the beef, or even mixed, just make sure that the fat content stays at around 80%.
Every summer my parents would send my brother and I to Greece for 2 months. As soon as the schools doors closed for summer break it would be me, Nick and ten heavy suitcases. One full of our clothes and the other nine filled with the latest Nike gear for our cousins. They were so consumed and obsessed with everything American at that time but I was the complete opposite during those summers. I would spend my days cleaning the chicken coups, looking for fresh eggs and taking rides with my uncle on the family tractor as he went to tend the local farms. Those are some very special memories for me. As soon as I chop through the fresh mint I’m transported back to those dirt roads on the side of the tractor with my uncle where the mint grows wild. I never realized how much I loved that smell growing up, then years later my knife reminds me.
3 lb Ground Beef
1 medium Spanish Onion
3/4 cup Chopped Parsley
1/3 cup Chopped Mint
1/4 cup Chopped Garlic
1 cup Bread Crumb…I use Progresso Seasoned at home…at the Restaurant just a plain bread crumb.
If you make your own with dried old bread that would probably be best. (what my YiaYia used to do)
1 1/4 cups Milk
Salt and Pepper
1. Combine the Milk and the Bread crumb. The mixture will thicken up and thats what we want. This gives the meatball its airy texture
3. Chop the onion semi fine. I enjoy the crunch of the onion bits in my meatballs but a food processor will do the job fine if that doesn’t matter much to you.
4. Place the garlic cloves in the food processor pour a little EVOO in to help with the chopping. This creates a really useful garlic paste which can be stored for a good while in the fridge.
5. Add the parsley, mint, eggs, onions and garlic into the milk and breadcrumb mixture. Add salt and pepper and combine well.
6. Combine everything with the ground beef and mix thouroughly but don’t over work.
6 1/2. I cook off a test patty whenever working with ground beef mixtures just to make sure the seasoning is right.
7. Form the meatballs to any size that you prefer. Using A heavy bottomed skillet pour in enough frying oil to come almost halfway up the meatball. This will ensure even browning and cooking. Have a pair of tongs handy to flip and remove the meatballs from the oil.
8. Remove the meatballs when ready onto a plate lined with a couple of paper towels to catch the excess oil.
These meatballs are very light, airy and full of flavor. Pan Frying them adds the perfect crunchy exterior which is a must for such a tender meatball. Drop me a line, let me know what you think…ENJOY!