My parents have been travelling to Greece regularly for years now, often choosing to re-visit some of the same villages where they’ve had the pleasure of meeting some lovely locals. Last year, they took a few weeks holiday and spent some time in Chaniá. While there, they took a cooking class with a woman called Koula Varydakis-Xanialakis (aka The Cretan Cook – in red below).
Koula has published a book with some of her recipes, a copy of which made it back to their bookshelf in New York.
My dad and I thought it would be fun to try one while I was home last month. We paged through the book and settled on “Meatballs with Potatoes” which looked pretty straightforward. Turned out to be tasty and even better the second day after the sauce thickened up a bit. We found that in the beginning it was more of a broth, so if I made it again I might add a bit of tomato paste to thicken it up some.
If you want to give it a try, here’s the recipe!
– 1lb lean ground beef
– 2 eggs
– 1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped
– 2 tbsp fresh mint, chopped
– 2 large onions, grated
– Salt and pepper
– 1/2 teaspoon oregano (we used some from my dad’s other Greek friends at The Spartan Table)
– 1/2 cup bread crumbs (which we almost forgot so they’re not in the first photo – oops!)
– 1/2 cup grated cheese
– 1/2 tsp cumin
– Pinch of cinnamon
– 1 cup tomato sauce
– 1 fresh tomato, grated
– 2 cups water
– 1/2 cup olive oil (we used quite a bit less)
– 4 medium potatoes, cut into chunky chip sized pieces
Start with a pre-heated oven to 350F / 175C.
Start measuring and chopping.
Mix beef, eggs, parsley, mint, onions, breadcrumbs, grated cheese, cumin and cinnamon in a medium bowl. (It should be able to form meatballs, so if it’s too dry, add a bit more water and if it’s too wet, add a few more breadcrumbs!)
Before you go ahead with the meatballs, find a large lasagne pan and add the tomato sauce, water and olive oil (you can play with the qualtity of these ingredients to achieve your desired thickness). Stir this together and add your potatoes, making sure they’re covered in sauce.
Now it’s time to get your hands messy and roll out the meatballs.
Place them in the pan with the sauce and potatoes.
Bake them, covered, until the potatoes are soft. The book recommends 1 hour 15 min, but it depends on your pan, your oven, how thick you cut the chips, etc. We actually ended up leaving ours in the oven for about 2 hours 30 min.
We served ours with my dad’s delicious Spinach and rice recipe (which I will share soon).
The leftovers are great for lunch the next day.