Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Keftedes (Greek Meatballs)

Keftedes, Greek Meatballs
Keftedes with Spanish Olives, Greek Feta, and Manchego Cheese
Finger foods and's what the Super Bowl is all about, right?  The Super Bowl is over a little more than a week away.  Who are you rooting for? Seattle? Or, Peyton and the Broncos?  Personally, I love Seattle and their defense.  Yes, I'd love to see Peyton get that ring, but there is something about the Seattle team that I wish our Redskins could learn from.  They are the total package and can dominate on defense.  Either way, you know this is going to be a good game, and that's what football fans love to see.

Then there are those who are really all about the party and not about the game.  If you could care less about the game, you probably do care about the food being served and the commercials.  This is that time of year where I love to break out my favorite recipes to serve a crowd.  I love something a bit different, too.  Nothing crazy but also not one of your standard chips and dip with some meatballs in the crock pot. Do you know what I mean?

One of my favorite finger foods comes from my mom's Greek friend, Chum.  We used to visit Chum's family before the Auburn/Alabama football game every year when I was little.  The spread of food that greeted you at the door was breath-taking. It truly was an all-day eating event with all sorts of incredible Greek foods to snack on throughout the day. And, with all of that food, I was one of those who could care less about what was going on with the game.  I was content sitting at the table and seeing what delicious food I could try next.

Keftedes (Greek Meatballs)
Keftedes are a bite-sized meatball with mint, oregano, and onion.  Served with feta or a Spanish cheese like Manchego and olives, it really is a great appetizer that will disappear in no time from the table.  The best part is that you can make them ahead of time and freeze them.  Thaw them out the day of your party and warm them a bit in the microwave before your guests arrive. They will think you just made them in anticipation of the party. The added plus is that your house won't smell like a fried grease pit when your guests arrive!

For a print-friendly version of the recipe, click:

1 pound ground beef (for this recipe I use the leanest I can find, like 93%)
1 small onion, grated or very finely diced
2 pieces of bread, torn into small pieces
1 egg
1 teaspoon dried mint
1 teaspoon dried oregano flakes
1/4 cup red wine or white vinegar
All purpose flour, enough to roll the meatballs in
Oil for frying (I use peanut to fry everything, but canola or vegetable will also do)

Warm your oil to fry at medium high temperature. I use an electric fry pan and set it for about 400 to 425 degrees.  You're not deep frying, but you do need a little more than just covering the pan. I tend to fill the pan one-quarter of the way full.
My beloved fry pan. I honestly can't live without it.

In a large bowl, tear your bread into small pieces and then moisten slightly with water.
Moistened pieces of bread

Add your ground beef, grated or very finely diced onion, one egg, mint, oregano, and wine or vinegar.  If you are squeamish, use a spoon to mash and combine all of the ingredients.  I like to use my hands to mix all of the ingredients because I feel like I can make a nicer mushy pile with the ingredients truly mixed in when I can use my hands.
Meat mixture (don't be afraid to get your hands dirty)

Using your hands, take about one teaspoon of of the meat mixture and roll into a ball.
Meatballs before rolling in flour

In a separate container, roll your meatball in enough flour to coat it.

Sizzle, Sizzle
Place the meatball in your heated oil for frying.  Flip the meatball over after it has browned sufficiently on one side.  Place the cooked meatballs on a platter lined with paper towels to cool.
It's a meatball bath!

Keftedes cooling down