Shroomy Beef Keftedes

Recipe courtesy of Carole Brown, The Yum Yum Factor.

These are usually served warm or room temperature as part of a mezes platter, with some tzatziki on the side.

350 g ground beef
100g button mushrooms
1 tbls red wine vinegar
1 small onion, minced or grated
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 large plum or roma tomato, seeded and finely chopped (just half and squeeze out the seeds)
1 small egg beaten
1/3 cup panko
1 tsp dried oregano
1 heaping tbls fresh parsley
1 heaping tbls fresh mint
1 tsp kosher salt
4 or 5 grinds freshly ground pepper
about 1/4 cup flour
Olive oil and vegetable oil for frying

*optional- about 1/4 cup ouzo

1/2 English cucumber, grated coarse
1cup Greek yogurt
2 cloves garlic , minced
1tbls olive oil
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1/2 tsp kosher salt


For the Keftedes:
Grind the mushrooms in the food processor and remove to a big bowl along with the ground beef. Sprinkle the vinegar over the mixture and then add in the onion, garlic, tomato, herbs, bread crumbs, salt and pepper and egg and, using your hands, mix well until everything is combined. Put the mix in the fridge for at least 30 minutes to firm up.

*If you really hate the feeling of using your hands, you can mix it in a stand mixer with a dough hook on low for a minute.

Put the flour in a shallow bowl or dish.

*If you are using the ouzo, put it in a shallow bowl and dip one of your palms into it so you get a bit of ouzo on it and then pat your hands together before you roll out the meatballs. Do this every two or three meatballs.

Start rolling the meatballs, making them golf ball sized and sit them in the flour. Toss the meatballs around so that they are lightly coated and remove to plate or platter. If the meatball mixture feels damp, I just give it a light squeeze as I am forming the meatballs and it will release a bit of liquid as you do that, letting it drip through your fingers.

Heat a pan over med to med high heat and coat the bottom with a generous layer of 1/2 olive oil and 1/2 vegetable oil (canola works well). The oil should be about 1/2” deep. Without overcrowding the pan, start frying the meatballs. Get them nice and brown on all sides, leaving room in the pan to roll them around, for about 7 to 10 minutes. Remove from the pan and drain on paper towels. Do this in batches until they are all done.

Serve them warm or room temperature with Tzatziki.

Grate the cucumber on a coarse grater, put in a strainer or sieve, sprinkle a small pinch of kosher salt and let sit for at least 30 minutes and up to a couple of hours.

Mix the yogurt, garlic, olive oil, lemon juice, salt and the strained cucumber in a bowl. Before you add the cucumber, give it a good press to force out any remaining liquid ( I use a piece of paper towel to press it down). Keep in the fridge until you are ready to eat.