Greek Meatballs – Greece’s Well-Known Flavors in One Dish

American Meatloaf, British Meat Pies & Swedish, Dutch and Greek Meatballs.  There are probably a ton of other dishes in which ground beef (or any other kind of meat for that matter) is the star, but right here and now, I would like to bring your focus to these rich, flavorful Greek Meatballs.  I have to admit, I found the recipe in an edition of “Cuisine Tonight – Fresh & Fabulous”, but it is too good not to write about.

These Greek Meatballs incorporate all the “obvious” ingredients you think of when you hear “Greek Cuisine”: lemon, feta cheese, olives and tomatoes, though their uses might differ a bit from traditional Greek ways.  The Dutch cuisine is very much “meat, potatoes & vegetables”, so I had my share of Dutch Meatballs.  The Greek version is different in the way that its flavors are bolder.  These Greek Meatballs go great with Lemon Couscous, which has a fairly subtle flavor, making for a fresh and flavorful dinner.

Now, if you want to go a bit fancier, you can “upgrade” the meatballs a bit by substituting ground lamb or even ground turkey for the ground chuck.

Greek Meatballs

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup fresh bread crumbs
  • 1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh parsley
  • 2 tbsp. minced scallions
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • 2 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 lb. ground chuck
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 tbsp. minced garlic
  • 1 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • 6 cups quartered tomatoes (or if you don’t have fresh: 2 cans whole tomatoes – 28 oz. each)
  • 3/4 cup pitted and halved kalamata olives
  • Chopped cucumber
  • Lemon Zest

For the dressing:

  • 1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 1/4 cup plain yogurt
  • 2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp. black pepper

 

Directions:

  • For the dressing combine 1/4 cup feta, 1/4 cup yogurt, 2 tbsp. lemon juice, 1/2 tsp. salt, and 1/4 tsp. black pepper in a bowl and stir well.  Cover the dressing and chill until ready to use.
  • For the meatballs, combine the bread crumbs, 1/4 cup feta, parsley, scallions, 1 tsp. salt, oregano, and egg in a bowl.
  • Stir in the ground chuck and mix lightly.
  • Shape the mixture into 2-inch balls.  (TIP: Use an ice cream scoop to make similar-sized portions.  Finish shaping them by hand.)
  • Heat the olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat.
  • Add the meatballs and brown on all sides, 5 minutes.
  • Remove from the pan and keep warm.
  • Add the garlic and pepper flakes to the pan and sauté for 1 minutes.
  • Stir in the tomatoes and cook 5 minutes.
  • Season the tomato mixture with salt and pepper, then purée in a food processor and return to the pan.
  • Add the olives, return the meatballs to the pan, and simmer until cooked through, 8-10 minutes.  (TIP: simmering the meatballs in the sauce keeps them moist and allows them to absorb the sauce’s flavors.)
  • Serve the meatballs and sauce over Lemon Couscous, topped with feta dressing, and garnished with cucumber and lemon zest.

Makes: approx. 12 meatballs
Time: 30 minutes

Enjoy!

(Recipe by: Cuisine Tonight – Fresh & Fabulous)

 

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Published on: June 4, 2012 | Tags: , , , , , ,

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