Greek Classics/ Main Course

KEFTEDES SAGANAKI: GREEK STYLE MEATBALLS IN A TOMATO & FETA SAUCE

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Ingredients

  • Serves 6:
  • For the meatballs:
  • 1-pound lean ground beef or lamb
  • 1 medium onion, quartered
  • 1 whole garlic clove
  • ¾ cup bread crumbs, unseasoned
  • ½ cup whole milk
  • 1 large egg
  • ¼ cup grated parmesan cheese
  • ¼ cup chopped parsley, or more
  • 1 teaspoon dried crushed oregano
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper, or to taste
  • Pinch crushed red pepper flakes
  • Oil for frying
  • For the sauce:
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 14.5 ounces canned tomatoes, pureed (double this if more sauce is desired)
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon dried crushed oregano
  • ½ teaspoon sugar
  • Pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 cup feta cheese, cubed or crumbled
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • Optional garnish: finely sliced scallions, finely chopped parsley, or rosemary

Instructions

1

Serve with my Rosemary Bread

2

Begin by making the meatballs.

3

Place the garlic in the food processor and pulse until minced. Add the onion and pulse until very finely chopped.

4

Add the parsley and pulse until finely chopped and combined with the onion and garlic.

5

Whisk the milk and egg together.

6

Combine the ground beef, onion, garlic, bread crumbs, parmesan and all of the ingredients in a large mixing bowl.

7

Mix well with your clean hands until combined.

8

Cover the mixture with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least one hour up to overnight if you can. This allows all of the flavors to really come together. I have made these in a hurry without refrigerating the mixture and it comes out very good.

9

Form the meatballs into round golf ball sized pieces.

10

Heat oil in a frying pan. I like to use a cast iron pan since it retains heat very well.

11

Fry the meatballs in batches of about 8 meatballs each time. They take 6-10 minutes to cook depending on their size. As soon as they turn a dark golden brown, remove them from the oil with a slotted spoon and allow them to drain on a plate covered with paper towels.

12

13

To prepare the sauce, combine the garlic, onion, and oil in a sauce pan or pot and cook over medium low heat about 15 minutes or until soft and golden. Crush the garlic with a wooden spoon.

14

15

Add the canned tomatoes, salt, pepper, sugar, water, and oregano. Bring to a boil and reduce to medium low. Cook until thick and reduced. About 15-20 minutes.

16

17

Add the meatballs and warm through.

18

Crumble the feta on top and place under the broiler for a few minutes until the cheese softens and chars a bit. Keep a close eye on it to prevent the meatballs from burning.

19

20

Garnish with herbs or sliced scallions and serve with rosemary bread and salad or with mashed potatoes, pasta, or rice.

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Notes: This dish is fabulous with lots of sauce. Just add another can of pureed tomatoes and follow the instructions, cooking the sauce (in a pot) until slightly thickened. Taste and adjust the seasoning as needed. If making a larger batch in a pot, you can skip the broiler step and just allow the feta cheese to soften from the heat of the sauce.

23

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You may cook the meatballs on the barbeque grill or roast in the oven if you don’t want to fry them. To roast them, place the meatballs on a baking tray and bake in the oven at 450 °F, 230 °C for 5-6 minutes on each side or until golden brown. They do not have to cook all the way through since they will continue to cook in the sauce. Just get a nice brown color around them.

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