(Meatballs, Greek Style)


1 large onion, very finely minced
1 lb. ground lamb or beef or a mixture of both
1 large or 2 medium-sized tomatoes, skinned and finely chopped
1/2 c. fairly fine, but fresh bread crumbs
1 to 2 Tbsp. ground cumin to taste
1/4 c. packed flat leaf parsley, chopped
small handful fresh mint leaves, finely chopped at last minute
sea salt to taste
fresh ground pepper to taste
flour for rolling the meatballs
olive oil for frying (preferably Greek)


Place minced onion in small saucepan, together with about 1/4 cup water. Simmer gently until the onion is tender, about 10 minutes. All of the water will have evaporated by now. Remove the pan and set on one side for a few minutes. Watch onion. In a small, dry sauté pan or saucepan, gently heat the ground cumin for a few minutes or until it begins to give out an aroma. This is proof that the heat is releasing the essential oils of the cumin. Set on one side for a few minutes. In a large mixing bowl, place the meat, onion, chopped tomato, parsley, cumin, mint and bread crumbs. Add some salt and plenty of pepper, as well as about half of the cumin. Taste the mixture and be prepared to add the rest of the cumin (or even more). Add egg and more salt. Refrigerate meat for 1/2 hour. Have a large plate ready, covered with flour. Lightly flour your hands with some of it. Form the mixture into small balls, the size depending entirely on your preference. In Greece, they are usually the size of a silver dollar and slightly flattened if served as a main course and about the size of a half dollar (and again, slightly flattened) if being used as a first course. Heat some olive oil in a large sauté pan. Prepare your grill or oil a baking sheet for the oven. Cook the Kephtethes in your preferred way (the oven should be about 375° for small or 400° for large), turning them very carefully after they have been browned on one side. Baking sheet should be heated. Serve hot, cold or somewhere in between as they do in Greece, decorated with a little chopped parsley or mint. Don't overcook.