I’ve been in this weird food limbo lately. Totally a seasonal thing as we’re beginning to transition from almost the end of winter to almost the beginning of spring. In Chicago that usually means wild weather and temperature swings that some days feel like summer and 24 hours later we’re back in the deep freeze.
This causes quite a conundrum for those of us who like to cook seasonally. I’m a little over soups, stews and roasts but not quite ready to brush off the Weber grill. These savory Greek-style meatballs fill the gap perfectly. A touch of bright spring with fresh mint and a cooling yogurt sauce. Simmered in crushed tomatoes and served with egg noodles adds comfort to the dish.
Greek seasoning, fresh mint and the addition of ground lamb bring the Greek elements to the dish, but if lamb isn’t your thing, feel free to reduce or omit all together and just go with beef. Either way, make sure you’re using the best quality meat, preferably grass fed and/or freshly ground.
The sauce could not be easier to throw together while the meatballs are simmering. Just one container of good-quality Greek yogurt, fresh parsley and crushed garlic. Also feel free to toss a little crumbed feta cheese over everything to complete the meal.
If you’re looking for a awesome meatball-making-tool, this Medium Scoop from Pampered Chef scoops up a perfect 2 TBS portion of meatball mixture every time. Also perfect for cookie dough and melon ball scooping. A “must have” for the well stocked kitchen and only $18!
Until next time, eat well, be well and love lots. Or, as they say in Greece: Yamas!
Greek Meatballs with Mint, Tomatoes and Yogurt Sauce
- 1 pound ground beef (either 90% or 85% lean)
- 1/2 pound ground lamb
- 1 1/2 TBS finely chopped fresh mint or 2 tsp dried
- 1/2 cup soft bread crumbs (see Note 1>)
- 2 eggs
- 1 medium-sized onion, finely chopped (about 1/2 cup)
- 1 tsp Kosher salt (reduce to 1/2 tsp if using Cavender’s Greek Seasoning)
- 1/2 tsp coarsely ground black pepper
- 1/2 tsp Greek seasoning (either Savory Spice Mt. Olympus Greek Seasoning or Cavender’s All Purpose Greek Seasoning)
- All purpose flour
- 2 TBS vegetable oil
- 1 28-oz can whole, peeled tomatoes, undrained
- 1/2 tsp dried basil
- 1 carton plain Greek yogurt
- 1 clove garlic, crushed
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
Buttered Egg Noodles for serving (or buttered orzo or pita bread)
Crumbled feta cheese for serving (optional)
Combine ingredients for yogurt sauce and set aside.
For meatballs, combine beef, lamb, mint, breadcrumbs, eggs, onion and seasonings in a large bowl. Mix gently until combined. Portion out about 2 TBS sized meatballs, rolling gently and place on a parchment lined sheet pan. Place flour in second sheet pan or shallow dish.
Heat 2 TBS vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Roll about 10 meatballs in the flour. Dust off the excess, then brown in the oil, shaking pan and rolling meatballs so that all sides brown. Adjust heat as necessary to avoid scorching. When meatballs are evenly browned. Remove to a paper towel lined plate and repeat with remaining meatballs until they have all been browned.
Wipe out skillet and discard any oil or grease. Empty can of tomatoes into skillet and using your hands, crush whole tomatoes. Add in basil, then return meatballs to pan. Bring to a simmer, then cover, reduce heat and continue cooking until meatballs are cooked through and tender (about 15-20 minutes).
Serve alongside buttered noodles or with pita bread, the yogurt sauce and a Greek salad.
Note 1> Food processors do a great job of turning every day bread into fresh bread crumbs. Just coarsely break apart bread and pulse a few times.