A dish from Northern Greece as seen through the eyes
and stomach of the Snotty Chef. Spinach and cheese
stuffed koftas/keftes/keftedes in a lemon, egg,
3 lbs beef/lamb, double ground
2-3 @ onions, medium, finely chopped
10 clv garlic, finely chopped
2 @ eggs
1 cup parsley, chopped
1 cup bread crumbs
3 TBS olive oil, fragrant extra virgin
1/4 tsp rosemary, dried and crushed
1/2 tsp marjoram, dried and crushed
1 tsp salt
1 tsp ground pepper
10 ozs spinach, finely chopped
1/2 tsp dill, dried
1/16 tsp ground nutmeg
1 cup kefalotiri or parmesan, grated
4 ozs cream cheese
1 TBS cream
2 TBS sour cream
A healthy pinch of both salt and pepper
Avgolemono Sauce (More Avgolemono):
3 @ eggs, separated
1/3 cup lemon juice (1 good sized lemon should do it)
3 TBS butter, melted
1 cup hot chicken broth
if broth is fresh and unsalted add 1/2 - 1 tsp salt
1 tsp mint (peppermint variety), dried, crushed
1/4 tsp mint, pulverized
1. In a large mixing bowl, add all the "Meat" ingredients, and
mix by hand. Reserve.
2. Add all the filling ingredients to a food processor, and
process all until the spinach is finely chopped and the
mass is about doughlike in consistancy.
Set an oven to 225 F, and prepare a coverable vessel for
steaming with hot water in the bottom, and a steaming
rack. Put it in the oven covered.
3. Grab enough meat from the bowl for a medium sized meatball.
Manipulate in the usual way to compact the meat, making
the ball. With the ball in one hand, flatten into a thick
patty by patting with fingers of the other hand.
Make a trough in the center of patty by poking with your
finger. Fill the trough with about 2 tsp of the filling,
pressing it into place.
Gently coax the meat from the sides of the patty up and
and over the filling, sort of folding the meat over the
filling. Pinch the meeting points closed, and handle the
result so as to smooth the surface and make a small,
slightly ovoid loaf (keftede, kofta).
Repeat, reserving your creations on a greased plate or
waxed paper. There should 14-18 of them.
4. Remove the steaming vessel from the oven and transfer
the stuffed keftedes gently to its rack leaving as much
space as possible between them. Cover and return to oven.
Steam for approximately 45 minutes - longer if your balls
are bigger. A longer *reasonable* time will not hurt;
several days is not advisable. *Do* keep the temperature
low: too high a temperature will toughen your balls.
5. Make the avgolemono sauce only when you are about ready
6. Put the separated egg whites into a good sized saucepan,
perhaps warming them a bit, whisk them in a merangue just
short of stiff.
7. Add in the egg yolks one at a time, incorporating each
one before adding the next.
8. In a fine stream slowly add the melted butter, whisking
all the while
9. Again in a fine stream slowly add the lemon juice, whisking
all the while.
10. Finally, start adding the hot broth and set the saucepan
over a low heat, going from whisking to stirring with a wooden
spoon as the sauce thickens. This will take several minutes;
be patient and keep stirring.
*NEVER* allow this sauce to boil or even simmer - unless
you like scrambled eggs for sauce.
11. Serve the sauce over the keftedes, and with any plain nonsticky
rice, orzo, couscous, a simple pilaf or even noodles.
A light salad and a dry fruity white wine with, would be good.
1. The stuffing of the "meatballs" keftedes is an option that
is often not taken.
2. The distribution of herbs is a SC specificity, and a little
more complex that usual. They are at a subtle level; no one
will arise to assault the most delicate of senses.
3. These are fairly delicate, hence the method of steaming;
the steaming is necessary and not an option; don't get cute
or sloppy, else the gods of culinary science will be wroth,
and you will suffer a deserved anxiety attack.
4. On avgolemono Sauce:
The number of specific recipes for avgolemono sauce/soup
seems to be unbounded. They can at least be divided into
those that use eggs exclusively for thickening, and those
that also employ some form of vegetable starch, most commonly
cornstarch, potatostarch and even wheat flour. Other
possibilities are arrowroot, kudzu powder, tapioca flour, etc.
Egg thickening is always the finest.
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Created: July 27, 2007