Keftedes me Saltsa Domata (Meatballs in Tomato Sauce)

Meatballs in Tomato Sauce
Meatballs in Tomato Sauce (Keftedes me Saltsa Domata)
Meatballs in Tomato Sauce (Keftedes me Saltsa Domata)Todd Coleman

Redolent of oregano and mint, these meatballs are served in northern Greece as a meze with fried potatoes or steamed rice.

Keftedes me Saltsa Domata (Meatballs in Tomato Sauce)
Redolent of oregano and mint, these meatballs are served in northern Greece as a meze with fried potatoes or steamed rice.
Yield: serves 4-6

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp. dried mint
  • 5 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for frying
  • 2 tbsp. dried oregano
  • 14 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 14 tsp. freshly ground nutmeg
  • 18 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 1 medium red onion, grated
  • 1 large egg and 1 yolk, beaten
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 cup milk
  • 3 1/2"-thick slices stale country bread, crusts removed
  • 1 lb. ground beef, pork, or lamb
  • 12 cup flour, for dredging
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 12 tbsp. tomato paste
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 (28-oz.) can whole peeled tomatoes, drained and pureed
  • 1 cup beef broth
  • 1 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp. chopped flat-leaf parsley, for garnish

Instructions

  1. In a medium bowl, combine mint, 2 tbsp. oil, 1 tbsp. oregano, 18 tsp. cinnamon, 18 tsp. nutmeg, cayenne, onions, and eggs; season with salt and pepper. Put milk and bread in a bowl; let soak 5 minutes. Drain bread; squeeze out milk. Mix bread, onion mixture, and meat. Divide mixture into 20 balls; flatten slightly into patties or roll into ovals. Dredge each meatball in flour. Pour enough oil into a 12" skillet to reach a depth of 12"; heat over medium-high heat. Working in 3 batches, cook meatballs until browned, 6-8 minutes. Transfer meatballs to paper towels. Discard oil; wipe out skillet.
  2. Heat remaining oil in skillet over medium heat. Add garlic; cook 1 minute. Stir in tomato paste and bay leaves; cook 2 minutes. Add remaining oregano, cinnamon, and nutmeg, along with the tomatoes and broth. Cook, stirring, until thickened, 15-20 minutes. Season with salt, pepper, and lemon juice. Nestle meatballs in sauce; cook until sauce coats meatballs, about 5 minutes. Garnish with parsley.