Wednesday, 23 May 2012
Inspired by this holiday weather -Keftedes with patates yiahni, or meatballs with potato and tomato stew
Yes, Summer is here! Wow! Well, we all know we will be lucky if it lasts any further than the weekend, but as I am the eternal optimist (yeh right!) I believe that this is just the start of a long Summer filled with Lola and Finn's laughter, heat haze, the sun glistening on the water, warm, light nights and mucho good food, eaten outside, with a little libation if you are so inclined.
I don't know whether it is because I am not the purest of English roses, but the English food that I know and love does not totally lend itself to hot days, save for the salad, which you can get too much of. Seriously, you can. It means that I tend to want to cook the cuisine from those countries with the weather I crave, so here, I find myself in Greece, not for the first time, and if that wasn't pleasing enough, it is yet another recipe for meatballs, of keftedes if you will. Well, give your audience what they like, so they say. I paired this with potatoes braised in a tomato and oregano sauce, and with a little help from a glass of Mythos, this tasted really rather good.
A word or two about meatballs. Seasoning is key, and you find that you need to be generous with the salt to make some meatballs taste of something. Here I seasoned a little more judiciously, because I decided to hide a little piece of halloumi in each meatball, its creamy saltiness helping to season the meatball as a whole. Whilst it might be a bit of a faff, when you mix the meat together for the keftedes, I season a little and fry off a tiny bit to taste for seasoning before making the meatballs. It really is worth doing so that you know that the meatballs you are about to make taste of something.
These recipes are a kind of hybrid of many recipes for keftedes that I have encountered over the years, combined with an adapted recipe from the wonderful book 'Cretan Cooking' which I bought when I was on holiday (in Crete, funnily enough). I bought it because it had a recipe for bougatsa in it. Since buying it, I have found it has many other wonderful recipes which have really enhanced my cooking of Greek food.
Anyway, pour yourself a glass of Mythos and say Yammas! Then try the recipe.
Keftedes, with Patates Yiahni
Feeds Lola, Finn, Mum, Dad and one other
For the Keftedes:
500g lamb mince
5 tbsp breadcrumbs
2 medium onions, finely chopped
1 tbsp oregano
1 tbsp thyme
1/2 tbsp mint
a squeeze of lemon
salt and pepper
3 thick slices of halloumi
For the Patates Yiahni:
2 - 3 tbsp olive oil
1 onion finely chopped
1 tbsp oregano
Pack of new or salad or waxy smallish potatoes, peeled and cut into small pieces. About 500g
1 tin of chopped tomatoes
salt and pepper
Start with the potato stew. Place the olive oil in a casserole or a saute pan with a lid. Add the onions and fry them gently for a couple of minutes until they are becoming translucent but not coloured. Add the oregano and stir in until it becomes fragrant, them add the potatoes.
Add the tinned tomatoes to the onions and then add the potatoes. Bring the mixture to the boil, season, then lower the temperature and put the lid on. Allow to cook for about 25 to 30 minutes, checking occasionally to ensure that there is enough liquid in the pan. Add a splash of water if necessary.
The stew is cooked when the potatoes yield easily when pierced with a fork.
Meanwhile, make the keftedes. Put all of the ingredients, except for the halloumi, in a bowl and mix together with your hands until well combined. Season a little, then fry a tiny piece of the mixture in a frying pan in order to taste the keftedes mixture for seasoning. Add salt if necessary and repeat until you're happy with the flavout, bearing in mind that you will be putting some halloumi in the middle of the meatball which will add to the saltiness.
Make the keftedes, using wet hands. Roll the keftedes to the size of golf balls, and then squash a small piece of halloumi in the middle.
Fry off the keftedes in a frying pan, over a medium heat, turning often to ensure even browning.
To serve, put the patates yiahni in a dish and top with the keftedes. Sprinkle with chopped parsley and enjoy!