Since moving to South Florida, I’ve been jonesing for some real Greek food, like the kind I used to get in Astoria and various places in New Jersey. You can get really good Greek food in Florida, but you may have to drive all the way to Tarpon Springs to get it.
One of my favorite Greek dishes is Keftedes, which are seasoned meatballs that have usually been fried. I haven’t been able to find any good ones down here yet, so I asked Rachel to see if we could whip some up.
What she came up with was nothing short of amazing. Not only are these lower fat because they are made with ground turkey as opposed to beef/veal, but they are also baked in mini muffin tins.
And they taste fantastic.
A healthier variation of the traditional avgolemono, a classic egg with fresh lemon juice sauce poured on top seals the deal. This can be served over orzo pasta or rice (we used brown rice in the picture, accompanied by a simple cucumber/tomato/feta salad.)
Healthier Keftedes (baked and made with turkey)
12 oz. ground turkey (preferably all breast meat)
1 clove garlic
4 Tbs chopped fresh parsley (divided)
1 Tbs dried mint
1/2 cup fresh whole wheat breadcrumbs
1 Tbs grated cheese (hard sharp for grating, such as parmigiano, graviera or kefalotyri)
1/2 cup milk
1 egg white
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Olive oil cooking spray or 2 tsp. olive oil for brushing
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees (or 350 convection).
Place chopped meat in a mixing bowl. Chop onions and garlic in a food processor, add all the other ingredients except the meat and 2 Tbs of chopped parsley (save for garnish) and pulse to combine. Scrape into bowl with meat and mix by hand (you don’t want to over process the meat, it makes the meatballs too soft).
Brush 2 mini-muffin tins lightly with olive oil, then using two teaspoons or a small disher, scoop the meat mixture into the cups. There should be just a little over an ounce in each cup. Lightly spray or brush a little more olive oil on top, but do not press the meat down at all, so they will still look like meatballs instead of mini-muffins.
Put the mini-muffin tins on top of a sheet tray and bake for about 30 minutes, or until lightly browned on top. You can make ahead to this point or continue with making the sauce and serving immediately.
Lite Avgolemono Sauce
16 oz chicken stock (preferably homemade, but if you must buy canned, get low sodium)
1 Tbs flour
2 oz lemon juice
1 egg white
1 tsp butter or 1 Tbs cream*
Salt & pepper to taste (no salt if you are using canned broth, even if
it is low sodium)
Combine the chicken stock and flour while the stock is cold. Put in saucepan and bring to a simmer until thickened (if you have a Vitamix, you can blend it on Hi for 5 minutes or so until steamy and thickened).
Keep the thickened broth warm in the saucepan until the meatballs are done (or place cooled meatballs in the sauce after it has thickened and simmered for a few minutes.)
Place lemon juice, egg white, and butter or cream (*you have to have a little fat in there, are skipping the egg yolks after all, you can try it without the fat, but I used a little cream), salt & pepper in the blender and whir to combine for a few seconds. DO NOT ADD TO THE SAUCEPAN YET.
Assemble the rest of your meal (brown or white rice or orzo, veggies, salad, etc). Take the meatballs off heat. With the blender on low, drizzle in about 1/2 cup of the hot thickened broth (push the meatballs to the side a bit and spoon up thickened broth only) to the blender a tablespoon at a time.
Once the flavoring has been tempered you can pour the mixture into the saucepan with the rest of the thickened broth and meatballs, stirring gently but quickly. Put the lid on the pot and allow it to rest for 5 minutes, but do not put back on heat.
Serve over brown rice or orzo with lots of sauce and garnish with chopped parsley.
You should have 24 meatballs, so 6 is technically a serving, but let’s face it, there were no leftovers when it was just two of us for dinner, but still, not an unhealthy meal.