Tue Aug 9, 2011
Whew, with all those veggies at Virginia is for Meat Lovers, it's best that I get this blog back on track with some hardcore meat, and what's more meaty than meatballs? Pure, uninhibited meat, that's what I'm about right now, and these Greek meatballs deliver on that plus a whole lot more with the excellent and unique flavor of the herbs that define these little balls of goodness.
Now that's what I'm talking about, pure meat. These meatballs start with ground chuck, which I always prefer to grind at home. Just like a burger, getting a nice fatty piece will ensure these stay juicy and burst with beefiness after being grilled.
I said I needed uninhibited meat, but I guess you could fault me here because there is a fair amount mixed into the beef, but it's all for a good cause. First some milk soaked bread, along with eggs, helps bind the meatballs and add a little extra moisture. Then the seasonings of oregano, mint, and garlic is mixed in and creates the ubiquitous Greek flavor you'd recognize the second you bite into one of the finished meatballs.
Working the meatballs is just what's called for after a veggie stretch. There's something pleasing to me in working the mixture by hand and then subsequently forming the meatballs. Grilling a steak has a very primal feel, while meatballs, on the other hand, falls somewhere between that and memories of play dough as a kid—an oddly satisfying combination.
The meatiness just keeps coming once these hit the grill—a grate covered in meat is a sight for sore eyes. While they ended up being a tad soft for the grill (maybe a little less bread is called for), they still grilled up to browned beauties and held together well.
Finally, a plate full of meat, putting this blog back on the right track. Juicy and beefy, these meatballs started off with a winning combo, then the herbs and garlic gave them a great fresh Greek taste. A spritz of lemon is all these really needed to be outstandingly delicious, but I also served my keftedes with a side of tzatziki, which just deepened the Greek flavor and was a nice compliment.
1 pound ground beef, 80% lean
4 slices of white bread
1 cup milk
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1/3 cup of finely chopped fresh oregano
3 tablespoons finely chopped mint
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 eggs, beaten
Freshly ground black pepper
1. Place the milk in a swallow bowl and dunk each piece of bread in and then squeeze the excess liquid out. Tear bread into chunks and place in a large bowl.
2. Add the beef, onions, oregano, mint, garlic, eggs, salt and pepper in the bowl with the bread and then mix with your hands until thoroughly combined. Roll out meat mixture into balls 1 1/2 inches in diameter.
3. Light one chimney full of charcoal. When all the charcoal is lit and covered with gray ash, pour out and spread the coals evenly over the charcoal grate. Clean and oil the grilling grate. Place the meatballs on the grill and cook until well browned all over and cooked through, about 8 minutes total, 2 minutes per side. Remove from the grill and serve with tzatziki and lemon wedges.