Vefa’s original recipe is for beef meatballs. In her book she discusses the historical emphasis on vegetarian food in Greek cuisine (from Pythagoras to modern-day, seasonal Eastern Orthodox restrictions), and notes that beef was, until recently, rarely enjoyed in Greece (at least compared to its popularity in Texas!). Because I already had some lamb in the refrigerator, and lamb seemed equally if not more Greek, I altered the recipe slightly.
Using Vefa’s combination of meat, eggs, breadcrumbs, herbs and spices, I created these delicious Meatballs with Yogurt from Thrace (Παπουδα φρακιωτικη με κεφτεδεσ). I hadn’t encountered baked yogurt sauce before, but I am a convert! It made a nice change from the more usual melted cheese, while providing a rich, dairy counterbalance to the savory herbs and meat. This recipe also involves onion slices, which make a lovely bed for the meatballs and yogurt topping as they go into the oven. After baking, you just scoop them out and onto a plate, getting big chunks of lamb, scoops of yogurt sauce, and piles of browned onions! An easy and tasty one-dish meal – like a casserole, but much more interesting!
While this was, to my mind, characteristically Greek, I do hope to expand from meat and sauce in my next undertaking; expect to see some soups, salads, and desserts appearing here next!
*Though recipes are not fully protected by US copyright law, as a fellow cook and recipe writer, I do not feel it is appropriate to publish the hard work of others.