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Meatballs with lemon and feta

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Photo Greg Cox

These meatballs are delicate – fry them carefully so that they retain their shape. 

Serves 4

Preparation: 40 minutes

Cooking time: 20 minutes

  • 600g lean beef mince
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 5ml lemon zest
  • 3 sprigs flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
  • 180ml panko breadcrumbs
  • 100g feta, crumbled
  • 1 large egg
  • a generous pinch of dried origanum
  • olive oil for frying
  • 10ml capers 

SAUCE

  • 45ml butter
  • 15ml flour
  • 300ml chicken stock
  • a pinch of ground nutmeg
  • juice and zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 egg yolk 

1. Place the mince in a mixing bowl, season well with salt and freshly ground black pepper and add the rest of the ingredients, except the capers and olive oil. Mix through with your hands until just mixed (don’t overwork). Now roll the meat mixture into small bite-sized meatballs – about 24. Refrigerate the meatballs while you make the sauce.

2. Melt the butter in a small saucepan and fry until it foams. Beat in the flour until mixed; then beat in the stock gradually to prevent lumps from forming. Season the sauce with the nutmeg, lemon zest and juice to taste (I start with about 10ml juice). Simmer for a few minutes until the sauce has thickened. Stir a spoonful or two of the hot sauce into the egg yolk until well mixed, then add the egg mixture to the sauce in the saucepan and stir through. Remove from the heat. 

3. Heat just enough olive oil in a small pan to coat the bottom and fry the meatballs until golden-brown. Pour the sauce into the pan and simmer for a few minutes until the meat is just cooked; I like it slightly pink but cook yours as desired. Sprinkle the capers over, season with an extra pinch of black pepper and a final sprinkling of parsley, and serve. Mashed potatoes or pasta rice are delicious with the meatballs.

Tip I like the rich taste of the olive oil in which the meat was fried in the final dish, but if there’s too much left in the pan for your taste, pour it out before adding the sauce.

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