Vefa’s Meatballs with Yogurt from Thrace

Okay, like I said in my introductory post, I am not going to be posting Vefa Alexiadou’s recipes on this blog*, but I can tell you a bit about the process of making this fun and delicious entrée.

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.

The meatballs and onions after the first round of baking.

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!

Mmm, yogurt sauce.

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.


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