Saturday, June 7, 2008

My Big Fat Greek Meatball

Greek mythology has always been somewhat humorous to me - I mean no disrespect to the culture or beliefs but I think I mostly get a chuckle that the gods and goddesses seem more human-like than god-like. Maybe that was the whole point. They had just as many tantrums or love affairs as did the mortals they served and I suppose that growing up LDS I have gained a testimony that we learn and grow and repent of our mistakes, ultimately so we can become like God and the Son, Jesus Christ. I can't think of one Greek/Roman god/goddess that I would want to be like as an end product.

Take this lady pictured top left. This is Demeter, Greek Goddess of the Bountiful Harvest and the Nurturing Spirit or in Roman mythology, her name is Ceres. I suppose if I were to choose one as a role model it would be her. She was believed to bring fertility to the land, a teacher to mankind on how to cultivate the soil. She was also a very devoted mother. Demeter wasn't without flaw but she seemed far less temperamental than the other gods.

I haven't had very many opportunities to have good Greek food in my life. I used to work for a company called Isotech Laboratories, Inc. and one of the head guys working there has a wife with Grecian heritage and, oh my, she is a fabulous cook! I've had this recipe she passed on a few years ago and my herb garden is indeed bountiful this year so I thought I'd give it a shot. And now I'm wondering why I waited so long to try it as it is food surely fit for the gods (so to speak)! Just a note for future posts: you might see a lot of recipes coming up that use fresh herbs because I've got to do some major experimenting if I am going to keep up with it all.

Greek Meatballs (Keftethes)

by Terry Benson

and minor modifications by me (I sure hate to add my two bits to an old time recipe...)

2 lbs. beef, may use part lamb or pork if you like. (I did part pork)
2 cups moist bread crumbs
1 cup chopped onions
2-3 large cloves garlic, minced
2 eggs, slightly beaten
4 Tbsp chopped fresh curly parsley
3 Tbsp chopped fresh mint
2-4 Tbsp ketchup
1 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
1/8 tsp oregano (fresh worked great)
Salt and pepper
Tomato sauce thinned with water (I used one 28oz can)

Saute onion and garlic in a little butter until lightly browned and place in mixing bowl. Add remaining ingredients, except tomato sauce and water, and mix well (this is much easier if you put it all in a food processor). Form into small balls (use a small meatballer scoop) and roll in flour.

NOTE: Traditionally , Greek meatballs are fried in hot oil. However, her preference is oven baked and this is how it is done:

Place a little corn oil in a baking pan and line up the floured meatballs in the pan. Bake in a 375 degree oven until browned on one side, then turn and bake until second side is nearly done. Mix tomato sauce and water (only enough to come to about 1/3 of the way up the meatballs) and finish baking until meatballs are fully cooked and sauce is heated through (about 5-10 minutes).

Makes approx. 4.5 dozen meatballs

NOTE: Also traditionally, Greek meatballs are served without tomato sauce although their family prefers it with the sauce as it keeps them moist it adds to the taste. Try some without the sauce and decide for yourself how you want to serve them. I have also seen recipes that serve them with a cucumber/yogurt/mint sauce (tsatziki) on the side in place of red sauce. I'm going to try this next time.

These were served to us as an appetizer all on its own however I made a meal out of mine by serving over a bed of couscous tossed with olive oil and Tuscan Sunset spice blend from Penzey’s (a salt-free Italian mix). I know, Italian mixed with Greek. How dare I!

Next Greek food on my list of things to make is Greek Dolmades but if you have any suggestions on things I should try send them my way. I'd even take samples....


  1. YUM! I love Greek food. Dolmades are one of my favorites...lookin' forward to it.

  2. This looks so yummy! I think I will have to make this sometime soon. Thanks!
    Please keep posting these delicious recipes!!
    I thought you would appreciate this recipe I found on a search for gyros because of all the herbs it uses (I've never tried it though, so who knows what it is like).

  3. and the link would be:

  4. Hooray for fresh herbs! I love them but never know what to do when I get a bunch of them. I CAN'T WAIT to see what you'll be posting next--and I'm dying to try that meatball recipe

  5. Whoa--what happened to your post from Sunday?! I was going to comment on that one but now it's gone! But I love meatballs!

  6. kristy my I took off my Sunday post because Neal said that it made things look like a miserable situation which it is not at all. I suppose I need to work on my writing skills...

  7. Those meatballs sound great!!!


Thanks for your comment, pop in again soon!