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A sheet pan of broiled lamb meatballs.

Keftedes (Lamb Meatballs)


Ingredients

  • 1 lb. ground lamb*
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 1 teaspoon oregano plus more for sprinkling
  • 1 small red onion, finely minced (about 1/3 cup or more to taste)
  • 2 heaping tablespoons mint, chopped
  • 2 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 slices of white bread**, crusts removed
  • 2 tablespoons red wine
  • 1 eggs, lightly beaten
  • red wine vinegar for sprinkling (optional)

* If you can’t find ground lamb, buy a piece of lamb (shoulder is nice) and grind it yourself or have the butcher grind it for you at the market.

** I always use white sandwich bread (not Wonderbread) but you probably could use a bakery-style loaf of white bread, too.


Instructions

  1. Put the ground lamb in a large bowl and spread out to create a thin layer. Season all over with the salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle the onion over the meat. Top with the herbs and the olive oil.
  2. Meanwhile, toast the bread so it’s just dried out — not browned. (If you plan ahead, you can leave a few slices of bread out for a few hours. You also could dry out the bread in a 300ºF oven for 10 to 15 minutes.) Crumble bread slices into a separate bowl. Moisten with the wine, then add to the meat bowl.
  3. Add the egg to the meat bowl and then gently mix all of the ingredients together being careful not to over mix.OK, it’s time to test your mixture. Preheat the broiler. Using a tablespoon (a measuring tablespoon), scoop out a level spoonful and roll it into a ball with your hands. If it holds together, you’re good to go. If it doesn’t hold together, toast another slice of bread, crumble it up, soak it in a tablespoon more of wine, and add it to the mixture. When the consistency is such that a ball holds together, place it on a sheetpan. Season with a pinch more salt, pepper and oregano. Broil 4 minutes. Remove from oven, let cool, then taste it. Adjust meat mixture accordingly with more salt, pepper, oregano, onion or herbs. Broil another one, taste it, etc. — repeat process until you’re happy with the flavors. Chill your meatball mixture for at least an hour. This mixture can be made up to a day in advance, too.
  4. Preheat the broiler. Coat a sheetpan very lightly in olive oil. Shape your meatballs again using a tablespoon as a measure and place them on the prepared sheetpan as you go. Season with a pinch more salt, pepper and oregano. Broil 4 minutes or until done. (Note: You can make the meatballs any size you wish. Just adjust the time accordingly. My mother makes larger meatballs and broils them for 4 minutes a side.)
  5. This might be a Greek tradition, but we sprinkle the just-broiled meatballs with a little bit of vinegar. Try it. You might like it, too.
  • Prep Time: 25 minutes
  • Cook Time: 18 minutes
  • Category: Meatball
  • Method: Broiler
  • Cuisine: Greek

Keywords: broiled, lamb, meatballs