Tuesday, 26 January 2010

Keftedes and Slow Roasted Beets: Falling in Love with Michael Symon.

Michael Symon is another Food Network fella who isn't afraid of big flavour. A couple of my friends have been cooking up his dishes lately and I found them very exciting.
This week I cooked up his Keftedes, Greek Meatballs, and his Slow Roasted Beets with Buttermilk Blue Cheese, Watercress and Toasted Walnuts. Absolutely delicious. I love his cooking style - bold yet simple, not too many extra dishes.
I served them with some mashies (I made a big batch as I also needed some for bread baking - more to come) and I sautéed the leftover beet greens and watercress briefly with shallots, garlic and olive oil - adding in a bit of the beet cooking liquid and balsamic vinegar. Delicious!

SYMON'S KEFTEDES (GREEK MEATBALLS)
from The Telegraph.com
Yield: about 20

Ingredients:
2 to 3 tablespoons canola oil or vegetable oil, or a combination of either combined with olive oil
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 large clove minced garlic
8 ounces ground beef, see cook's notes (I couldn't find lamb, so used all beef)
8 ounces ground lamb
1 egg
1/2 cup cubed day-old bread soaked in whole milk to cover
1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Pinch ground nutmeg
Minced zest of 1 lemon
1/4 cup olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
All-purpose flour for dusting

For serving:
12 lemon wedges
Fresh mint leaves

Cook's notes:
Symon says the beef and lamb should be about 25 percent fat, and that leaner meat will produce a dry meatball. He says that if you wish, serve the meatballs with a thick yogurt, or top with crumbled feta cheese. When frying the meatballs, don't crowd the pan. You will probably need to fry them about 12 at a time.

Procedure:
Heat large, deep skillet on medium-high heat. Add oil and heat. Add onion and salt; lower heat to medium and toss; cook until onion is translucent. Add garlic and cook about 1 minute. Remove from heat and set aside. In a large bowl, combine beef, lamb and egg. Wring milk from bread and add bread to meat mixture. Add coriander, cumin, cinnamon and nutmeg. Add lemon zest and onion-garlic mixture. Add salt and pepper to taste. Gently combine with clean hands.
Wipe out skillet with paper towel. Heat skillet on medium-high heat. Add olive oil; heat. Form meat mixture into walnut-sized balls (each about 1 ounce). Dust each with a little flour. Fry in oil until golden brown and cooked through. Drain on paper towels. Place on platter and garnish with lemon wedges and fresh mint.

Nutrition information (per serving): 250 calories (48 percent from fat), 13 g fat, 4.5g saturated fat, 45 mg cholesterol, 9 g carbohydrates, 24 g protein, 899 mg sodium, 0.3 g fiber

The Keftedes were served with a delicious side of Slow Roasted Beets with Buttermilk Blue Cheese, Watercress and Toasted Walnuts. Click here for the recipe.
This was a delicious and colourful side with all of our favourite flavours. I used half walnuts and half pecans, using up what I had on hand. A very agreeable dish, it is good hot, warm, room temperature or cold.
(I should have done like Joanne though and used arugula. The watercress was very expensive and didn't yield much.. any tender, peppery green would be fine)

Keftedes and Slow Roasted Beets with Buttermilk Blue Cheese, Watercress and Toasted Walnuts for Symon Sundays with Ashlee Wetherington. These two dishes were chosen by Ashlee herself. Check A Year in the Kitchen on January 31st to see how everyone else's dishes came out!