Can you say “Tzatziki”?

Tzatziki!

I  was thinking of Greek flavours today, but I wanted to try something simple. The fresh taste of tzatziki sauce with the salty feta cheese came to mind.

I also thought of making meatballs, not only because they are easy to make, but also quick to stock in the freezer for use at a later date. The best part is, I think it can possibly be paired with any type of sauce that you might be craving for, from gravy to marinara.

For making the meatballs or hamburger patties, I like using panade. It’s a mixture of bread and milk or cream. Panade keeps the moisture in, making the meatball tender. So, we’ll start the recipe by making this.

Tzatziki Sauce, Meatballs and Lemon Pilaf Rice

IMG_5261

Panade:

  • 3 slices of white bread, remove the crust, cut into small pieces or simply tear it
  • 1/2 – 3/4 cup of heavy cream or milk

In a bowl, place the white bread (that’s been cut into pieces). Add the heavy cream or milk to moisten.

Meatball:

Ingredients:

  • 2 pounds of ground beef (use lamb or veal, if preferred)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 tbsp onion powder
  • 1 tbsp garlic puree (use a garlic press, makes life easier)
  • 2 tsps cumin powder
  • 2 tsps dried oregano
  • 1/4 cup parsley, finely chopped
  • Prepared panade, (we’ll squeeze out the excess cream or liquid before adding)
  • Salt and pepper

Method:

  1. Place the ground beef in a bowl.
  2. Squeeze out the excess liquid from the panade, add it to the ground beef.
  3. Add the onion powder, garlic puree, cumin powder, dried oregano, parsley and eggs.
  4. Mix until it combined.
  5. Form the mixture to a ball to however size you prefer. *If freezing, just place in a freezer bag and store it in the freezer, of course.
  6. To cook, I prefer to “brown” them in the pan, just to give it a nice colour and finish in the oven at 375F for about 30 minutes or until the meat probe registers 160F or 71C. Always best to check: safe cooking temp

Easy Tzatziki 

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup Greek yogurt
  • 1 cup cucumber, finely chopped or use a food processor
  • 2 garlic cloves grated or use a garlic press, add more if you wish
  • 2 tsps lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

-Combine all the ingredients, mix well and refrigerate. Best to let it sit for a couple of hours or make it the night before use.

Lemon Pilaf

Ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp canola oil
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1/4 cup onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cups basmati
  • 3 cups chicken broth (you can use store bought, but you can do this at home from scratch quite easily)
  • A pinch of salt and a dash of pepper
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 bay leaf
  • lemon zest from 1 lemon,
    • when zesting lemon, make sure you don’t include the pith (white part, this is bitter)

Method:

  1. Wash the rice about 3 – 4 times. Until water comes clear.
  2.  In a sauce pan, add oil and butter. Use medium heat.
  3. Once the butter has melted add the finely chopped onion, cook to sweat – not browned, just until it has turned translucent.
  4. Add the rice, and let it toast for approximately 3-5 minutes. Don’t burn itplease.
  5. Add the the broth and turmeric powder. Season with salt and pepper give it a quick stir then add bay leaf and lemon zest.
  6. Leave the heat on medium and let it simmer. Once it simmers, switch to lowest possible heat.
  7. Cover with a tight lid. Cook for about 15 minutes or until rice is tender.
  8. Discard bay leaf and fluff rice with a fork.

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Greek Inspired Flavours

Serve  the meatballs with the tzatziki and feta cheese over lemon pilaf rice! Serve with roasted tomatoes and lemon and garnish with chopped parsley.

Pilaf Recipe inspired from Tyler Florence, see the original recipe here.

 

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