I wanted to share the recipe for these traditional Greek meatballs for some time now. As it is often the case with simple, everyday recipes such as this one ingredient measurements were never precise and were never written down as they were passed from generation to generation. For as long I can remember, my mom and my grandmother never measured anything unless it was for a dessert recipe (as my husband likes to say, baking is Germanic in its precision; cooking is not).
So, when I made these meatballs again for my family yesterday, instead of adding a little of this and a little of that, I measured everything in order that this recipe would finally make an appearance on the blog. All of my favorite ingredients are part of this recipe: caramelized onions and garlic, lemon, oregano, mint, and olive oil. When mixed with ground meat, these aromatics give these meatballs a deliciously assertive and distinctly Greek flavor.
These meatballs are usually oven-baked, but with the weather warming up, they can also be grilled. If baking, and to make this a one-pot meal, I often add some diced potatoes to the pan as well. To do that, in a bowl, I mix three to four Yukon gold potatoes–cut into a small pieces–with olive oil, the juice of a lemon, oregano, salt and pepper. I then add the potatoes to the pan along with 4-5 tablespoons of water. The potatoes will absorb the juices from the meatballs which will give them a great flavor. This recipe is a family favorite–and has been for generations!
- 3 TBSP. olive oil
- 1 large onion, finely minced
- 3 medium cloves of garlic, finely minced
- 4-5 slices of good quality bread, crusts removed, coarsely chopped
- ¼ cup milk
- 2 TBSP. olive oil
- 1 tsp. dry oregano
- 1 tsp. dry mint
- 1 tsp. smoked paprika
- 1 tsp. sea salt
- ½ tsp. freshly ground pepper
- --- zest of one lemon
- 2 TBSP. red wine vinegar
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- 1 lb. ground beef
- 1 lb. ground pork (or use more ground beef)
- ½ cup parsley, stems removed, finely minced
- Preheat the oven to 350° F using the “convection” (i.e., circulating fan) setting, if available. If not, preheat the oven to 375° F.
- In a medium skillet, heat 3 TBSP. of olive oil and then add the chopped onions. Sauté the onions for a few minutes until they become translucent and then add the garlic and cook until everything is nicely caramelized and golden brown.
- While the onion and garlic cook, place the bread in a bowl then add the milk and 2 TBSP. of olive oil. Mix the bread well and let it soak. To this mixture, add the oregano, mint, paprika, salt, pepper, lemon zest, vinegar and egg. Mix to combine.
- Add the cooked onion and garlic, ground beef, ground pork, and finely chopped parsley. Mix very well with your hands until all of the ingredients are completely combined and the mixture is smooth.
- Pick up some of the meatball mixture and shape it into 12-14 patties. Place them on a parchment paper-lined, rimmed baking sheet and drizzle with some Greek Extra Virgin Olive oil. Roast the patties for about 40 minutes or until there are done to your liking. You can form them larger or smaller, but adjust their cooking time accordingly. If you decide to roast some potatoes in the same pan, make sure they are cut in small pieces so they cook at the same time. In this case, do not use parchment paper.
- Remove from the oven and serve with some crusty bread and a Greek salad.
Greek meatballs and diced potatoes ready for the oven
Traditional Greek Meatballs with lemon and herbs
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Previously on the blog:
One year ago: