Greek Meatballs (Keftedes)

For 2 people


  • ⅓ cup whole milk
  • 1 slice day-old bread, cubed
  • 1 medium yellow onion, grated
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • ¼ cup + 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • ½ pound ground lamb or pork
  • 1 large egg PLUS 1 egg yolk, divided
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh mint leaves
  • 1 tablespoon organic ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano, preferably Greek oregano
  • 1 teaspoon organic ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 3 lemons, zested and juiced
  • 1 ¼ cups chicken broth


If serving in bowls as suggested in this post, first prepare the Greek salad (dress salad later, if you prefer) and Tzatziki sauce. Set aside or refrigerate for now.

Add the cubed bread to a bowl with the milk and let it soak for about 5 minutes.

In a large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil over medium heat. Add onions and garlic and cook until golden and translucent, stirring regularly. Transfer the onions and garlic mixture to a large mixing bowl to cool. Set the skillet aside for later.

Wring the excess milk out of the soaked bread. Add the bread to the mixing bowl.

To the mixing bowl add the ground beef and lamb (or pork), 1 egg, fresh mint, spices, salt and pepper, and 1 tablespoon lemon zest. Mix by hand until until mixture is fully incorporated.

Form the meat mixture into balls (each the size of a heaping tablespoon.) Roll meatballs into the flour to lightly coat and place them on a large tray for now.

In the large skillet you used earlier, add ¼ cup Private Reserve olive oil. Heat over medium-high. Turn heat to medium and add the meatballs to cook (do this in batches if you need to.) Cook meatballs for 10 minutes or so, turning occasionally, until fully cooked and well-crusted on all sides.

With a slotted spoon, remove meatballs from the skillet onto paper towels to drain any excess fat. Meanwhile, carefully discard most of the cooking fat from the skillet (best to dump into a tin can until cooled). Return the skillet to the stovetop over medium heat.

Whisk the egg yolk with chicken broth and lemon juice. Add to the skillet with the remaining lemon zest, then add the meatballs back in. Cook over medium heat for another 5 minutes until the lemon sauce thickens.

Serve hot in bowls with pita bread, Greek salad and Tzatziki sauce. Or serve in pita pockets as sandwiches, if you prefer.

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