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Friday, July 28, 2017

Greek Meatballs (Keftethes)

Sarah L. Voisin/The Washington Post


When you lightly coat these meatballs with flour and fry them, they have a different flavor than when you grill them in a meatball grill basket, as the Tsipianitis family does. They use a stainless-steel model available at Williams-Sonoma.

Make Ahead: It’s preferable to let the uncooked meatball mixture rest in the refrigerator for a few hours or up to 1 day, to let the flavors meld. The uncooked meatballs can be frozen for up to 2 weeks.



1 pound (80/20) ground beef
1 pound lean ground lamb
4 large eggs, at room temperature
2 medium onion, minced (about 2 cups)
Leaves from 1/2 bunch (about 1 1/2 ounces) flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped (about 1/2 cup)
1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more for sprinkling
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoons dried Greek oregano
3/4 to 1 cup Italian-style dried bread crumbs
Freshly squeezed juice from 2 lemons (1/3 to 1/2 cup)
Extra-virgin olive oil, for the meatball grill basket or for frying
1/2 cup flour, for dusting the fried meatballs (optional)
Lemon wedges


Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Use a fork to combine the beef, lamb, eggs, onion, parsley, salt, pepper and oregano in a mixing bowl; add a 1/2 cup of the bread crumbs and the lemon juice; incorporate but do not overmix. The mixture should hold together yet not be overly moist. Add some or all of the remaining bread crumbs only if needed. Use a 1 1/2-tablespoon disher or a spoon to scoop 16 equal portions (about 2 ounces each). Use your lightly oiled hands to better shape them into round meatballs. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes and up to 1 day.

If you wish to grill the meatballs, prepare the grill for direct heat. If using a gas grill, preheat to medium-high (450 degrees). If using a charcoal grill, light the charcoal or wood briquettes; when the briquettes are ready, distribute them evenly over the cooking area. You should be able to hold your hand about 6 inches above the coals for about 5 or 6 seconds.

Use olive oil to liberally grease the inside of the meatball grill basket.

Place the meatballs in the grill basket. Close the latch on the basket; grill for 10 to 15 minutes; if desired, open the basket and use tongs to transfer the now-firm meatballs directly on the grill grate to cook for a few minutes until crisped on the outside. Transfer to a platter; immediately squeeze lemon juice over the meatballs, then sprinkle lightly with salt. Serve hot.

If you wish to fry the meatballs, heat enough of the oil so that its depth will cover the sides, but not the tops, of the meatballs. Heat the oil over medium-high heat to a temperature of 375 degrees. Line a plate with a few layers of paper towels.

Spread the flour on a plate. Use your clean hands to slightly flatten the meatballs (to promote even cooking). Dip one side, then the other in the flour; pat lightly to get rid of any excess flour.

Fry 6 or 7 patties at a time; cook for about 8 minutes on the first side, until crisped and browned on the bottom; turn them over carefully and cook for about 7 minutes on the second side, or until cooked through. Transfer to the paper-towel-lined plate to drain, then sprinkle with salt and juice from the lemon wedges. Serve hot.


From Demetri Tsipianitis of Rockville.

Nutritional Facts
Calories per meatball: 180
% Daily Values*
Total Fat: 12g 18%
Saturated Fat: 5g 25%
Cholesterol: 95mg 32%
Sodium: 240mg 10%
Total Carbohydrates: 5g 2%
Dietary Fiber: 1g 4%
Sugar: 1g
Protein: 12g

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