I know this to be true...because I have been surrounded by Greeks my entire life. And my Yiayia's AND my Papou AND my Mom AND my Dad and even my brother (he makes AMAZING spanakopita!) can all COOK!!! Especially my Yiayia Helen! She cooked Greek like no one's business!
One thing my Yiayia Helen really made fabulously was keftedes. Keftedes are these delectably rich and sinful fried Greek meatballs bursting with the savory fragrance of fresh herbs. Yeah, I said fried. They are for sure NOT low-cal or low-fat! Over the years my Mom has lightened them up a bit, using my Yiayia's recipe but substituting ground turkey for ground beef, and baking them in the oven rather than frying them.
There are as many versions of popular Greek recipes as there are little old Yiayias in Greece. Every family has their way of tweaking things. Well, the other night I just had a real craving for something my Yiayia would make. But it was hot. And humid. And I didn't want to turn my oven on. My solution? Greek keftedes style turkey burgers that we could throw on the grill. And a nice cool tzatziki sauce for topping them. And since they were so delicious I thought I would share the recipe with all of you!
The measurements provided are approximations. Greeks don't like to measure...we eyeball!
Here's what you'll need for the burgers:
* 1 lb. ground turkey
* 1 TBSP finely minced fresh spearmint
* 3/4 tsp fresh grated nutmeg
* 3/4 tsp ground all spice
* 1/2 of a medium onion, very finely chopped
* a couple garlic gloves, finely minced
* a cup of seasoned bread crumbs
* sea salt and fresh ground pepper
* extra virgin olive oil
* 1/4 of a small can of tomato sauce
Sorry I didn't take step by step photos. It was HOT on Saturday and I just wanted to get out of the kitchen! This is all the ingredients in the bowl ready to be mixed. And the best way to mix it...
Yep. Dig your hands right in. I can't even tell you what a big thing this is for me....touching raw meat. Ewwww! Even if I didn't blog it my husband knew he had to get a picture to show my parents. Otherwise they never would have believed it!
If the mixture feels too loose to form good patties you can always add more breadcrumbs.
This mix will form four nice and thick burgers, or maybe 6 average burgers. We went for thick! See the dents in the middle. Little trick I learned from Food Network. Helps them to grill evenly.
While Kevin put those on the grill....
"Hey! Get back to the grill!"
...I made the tzatziki. Tzatziki is a cool creamy cucumber and yogurt concoction commonly used as a dip or over gyros. And, again, it is as individual as the person making it.
Here's what I use:
* plain Greek yogurt, about a cup
* a few mint leaves
* dried dill, a few pinches
* a garlic clove or two
* a pinch of sea salt
* about a 1/2 cucumber, seeded
I just throw it all in the food processor and pulse away. It looks like this:
Give it a taste. See if it needs a little more of this or that. Keep it in the fridge till you are ready to use.
Finally! The burgers were grilled! And we sat down to enjoy them with homemade sweet potato "fries." (in the end I had to turn the oven on anyway...)
Give 'em a try! Then let me know what you think!