The best meatballs (κεφτέδες), crispy on the outside, juicy on the inside, and bursting with flavour!
It’s hard to know exactly what makes these meatballs so delicious, but we have a few ideas. These bite sized morsels are made with a mixture of two types of meat, are perfectly spiced, and because they are fried you end up with a meatball which is crispy on the outside but soft and juicy on the inside. Meatball perfection.
Our parents often serve these meatballs or κεφτέδες as meze (appetizers) or as part of a buffet dinner. Occasionally they will be an easy lunch or supper, served with a batch of homemade French fries and some feta cheese. So good! The only problem with these meatballs is that they are so small, and so delicious, if you are not careful you can end up eating about 45 of them without even realizing it (not that anyone is counting of course).
Our parents grind their own meat (they are THAT awesome) ensuring that their ground pork and veal come from good cuts of meat. They tend to use pork tenderloin and veal front. If you don’t have your own meat grinder (like maybe 99.9% of us), you can always ask your butcher to freshly grind your meat.
So, our parents own a meat grinder but not a thermometer to measure the temperature of the oil used for frying. Sorry. Therefore, the best way to explain how you would know if your oil is hot enough (and not too hot) is to sacrifice one meatball. Your oil is ready when that meatball starts to sizzle gently. If it sizzles too vigorously, your oil is likely too hot and your meatball will overcook on the outside and be undercooked on the inside. That makes for a bad, sad meatball.
If you would rather not fry your meatballs you can certainly pop them into the oven. We would guess that about 15 minutes in a 350 degree Fahrenheit oven would do the trick, but this is truly a guess since we always fry these babies up. If you do decide to go the
less tasty healthier route, just break one of your oven baked balls open to check if it is done (there should not be any pink inside).
If you are using fresh meat (that is, meat that has not previously been frozen), you can prepare your meatballs κεφτέδες, set them on a baking sheet and freeze them. Once frozen, put them into a freezer bag. When you are ready to cook them, simply lay them once again in a single layer on a baking sheet and let them defrost in the refrigerator.
With these balls, size really does matter (you couldn’t possibly have thought that we could resist going there?). Our parents make their meatballs quite small, about an inch in diameter. We think that this gives the perfect crispy outside to juicy inside ratio. It also makes them very easy to eat as a meze or appetizer. However, if you prefer your balls bigger (that’s the last of it, promise), that’s okay too. Big or small, the most important thing is to make sure that your meatballs are all the same size, so that they cook evenly. There is really nothing worse than uneven balls (okay…now we’re done!).
Looking for some more mezedes (appetizers)? How about these!
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Love our meatballs (κεφτέδες)? Check out more traditional Greek meze:
- 1 lb ground pork
- 1 lb ground veal
- 2 medium yellow onions, grated
- 2 large eggs
- 3 cloves garlic, finely minced
- 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
- 1 teaspoon Greek dried oregano
- 1 tbsp (15 mL) olive oil
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 1 tbsp finely chopped fresh mint, optional
- 1/3 cup + 1 tablespoon bread crumbs
- vegetable oil for frying
- Combine pork and veal and mix gently until thoroughly combined. Then, add all of the remaining ingredients (except for the vegetable oil for frying of course) and mix well.
- Let the meatball mixture sit at room temperature for about 10 minutes.
- Form meatballs so that they are all equally sized and approximately 1 inch in diameter.
- Pour enough vegetable oil into a deep frying pan so that it is 1/2 inch deep. Heat the vegetable oil over medium heat.
- Once the oil is hot enough (meaning that when you drop in a meatball it starts to sizzle gently), add meatballs to the pan. Do not crowd them in. The meatballs should be half submerged in oil.
- As your meatballs are frying, gently turn them over so that all sides get cooked evenly. Total cooking time will be approximately 10-15 minutes per batch
- Alternatively, if you are using a pot, like in the video above, the frying time will be reduced to 5-7 minutes per batch, since they are completely submerged in the oil.
- Carefully remove the cooked meatballs from the oil and drain them on a plate lined with paper towel. Repeat cooking process with your next batch of meatballs.