We didn’t host a Greek Easter lunch this year, and I really felt like my week was missing some mint, yogurt, and roasted meats, so I whipped up this recipe last night based on the items we had on hand: potatoes, zucchini, tons of homegrown mint, and discount ground turkey (I cleaned out the Wheatsville meat case and put about ten pounds in the freezer!).
Adapted from Vefa Alexiadou’s beef meatballs and potatoes from Kozani, this recipe has quite a few steps, but is pretty easy, and packs a lot of flavor thanks to the fresh mint, pan-fried potatoes, dried herbs, beef stock, and onions.
1 cup olive oil
3 large potatoes, sliced
1 lb ground turkey
3 tsp paprika, halved
1/2 tsp dried thyme
3 Tbsp finely chopped fresh mint
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 yellow onion, grated
1/2 cup bread crumbs
salt and pepper to taste (about 1/2 tsp each)
flour, for coating
1 onion, thinly sliced
1 tsp chili powder
1 cup beef stock
2 zucchini, sliced
1 cup grated parmesan
1. In a large skillet, warm half the olive oil over medium heat. Add the potatoes and cook until golden and a little crispy, about seven minutes, turning over occasionally. As the potatoes begin to cook, you can prep the other ingredients, including measuring herbs, chopping vegetables, and greasing a large roasting pan with a light layer of olive oil.
2. Next, in a medium mixing bowl, combine turkey, half the paprika, thyme, mint, eggs, grated onion, bread crumbs, salt and pepper. After washing your hands and removing any jewelry, knead the ingredients with your fingers until well mixed. You should be able to form meatballs easily in your palms. Make about nine or ten meatballs.
3. Once the potatoes are golden, remove them from the pan using a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Add the sliced onions to the pan and cook for a further five minutes or so, until they become translucent and fragrant.
4. Meanwhile, roll each meatball lightly in flour (I find it easiest to use a shallow dredging dish), and place them in the skillet with the onions. Drizzle a little more olive oil if necessary. Reduce heat to simmer, add beef broth, cover, and cook for a further 20 minutes.
5. Now preheat your oven to 400°. Meanwhile, line your roasting pan with the potatoes and (still raw) zucchini slices. After the meatballs and veggies have simmered for 20 minutes, carefully remove the meatballs from the skillet and place them on top of the potatoes in the roasting dish. Top with the onions and pan juices, then sprinkle the remaining paprika and chili powder over the whole mixture.
6. Pop in the oven and bake for 15-20 minutes, until meatballs are done and nicely browned (I check one with a knife just to make sure). You want just-done zucchini, as well. Twenty minutes should be the maximum time needed.
7. Remove from oven, allow to cool for a couple of minutes, then serve with a large spoon, scooping up the meatballs carefully and generously doling out the potatoes, zucchini, onions, and pan juices. Top with the grated parmesan and any sauce you are using (here, I used freshly prepared Vefa’s Tzatziki, but plain sour cream would also be great).