Somewhat surprisingly, my backyard is not overrun with mint. Sure, it’s overrun with dogs, various weeds and oregano (so much oregano!) but not mint. I do have a healthy mint plant, though, and usually I use it for mojitos, or as I like to call them, “Other Water.”
But anyway, I rarely use mint for savory dishes, generally just drinks and garnishes for ice cream. Today I was on my own for dinner, since Josh had to do some freelance work, and all I had in the fridge (that wasn’t calabrese, anyway) was ground beef. One of my go-to meals for myself is meatballs. I like meatballs. I mean, my twitter handle is chickenmeatball, after all. This time I thought I’d use some traditional flavors from Greek cuisine—like mint and feta.
I also thought that instead of a traditional tomato sauce, or a heavy bell pepper sauce, I would use up a bag of peas I had in the freezer, thaw them and make a mint-green pea sauce to pour over my meatballs. So I set about making the meatballs (recipe below) and it was all well and good until the meatballs were almost done and I went to make the sauce…..and realized I’d already used those peas up last week. Oy.
Always check to make sure you have ingredients before you begin cooking. Yeah, yeah I know. One of those days.
But I recovered nicely, I think. I just went all-in with the mint. I made a flavored oil with fresh mint, garlic cloves, lemon juice and olive oil, and drizzled it over the meatballs, which I ate alongside some prepared fattoush salad I had leftover from Hiller’s market. Not a bad finish.
Mint Feta Meatballs with Fresh Mint Sauce
For the meatballs
- 1 pound hamburger
- 1/4 cup whole fresh mint leaves
- 1/4 cup whole blanched almonds
- 1 cup feta
- 1 tsp garlic salt
- 1 egg
- 1 tsp black pepper
- plus a little olive oil for drizzling
For the sauce
- 1 cup fresh mint
- juice of one 1/2 lemon
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp pepper
Make the meatballs
- Preheat the oven to 375F. Cover a lipped cookie sheet with tinfoil.
- Put the mint and almonds in a food processor and process until the almonds are finely ground. Add in the ground beef, garlic salt, egg, black pepper and feta. Process until thoroughly combined.
- Using an ice cream scoop, portion out the beef mixture into round balls and place a couple inches apart on the cookie sheet. Drizzle them with just a little bit of olive oil.
- Bake the meatballs for about 30 minutes, or until cooked through.
Make the sauce
- Put all of the ingredients in a blender and process until the mint is well chopped and the mixture is well blended. Pour over the meatballs.
- Serve along side fattoush or a light lettuce salad.
Serving sizes will depend on your ice cream scoop, but I got 6 large meatballs out of mine. You could serve 3 people two meatballs each.
© Have Fork, Will Eat
Imagine a scenario, if you will, in which you need to feed a few people. Like, oh, I don’t know, 5000 people or so. On a beach. Near Bethsaida. And like, these people are really hungry, right, because it’s late and this is way back a couple thousand years before the invention of segways and nobody wants to walk back to town on an empty stomach. And it’s okay, because you’ve got the food to feed these people, you’ve got…five loaves of bread and two fish. It’s like an embarrassment of…what? You don’t think it’s enough? Dude, it’ll be totally fine, just add one more thing to this meal and the people will be sated. All you need is…
no, not love. This is a recipe post, not a Beatles soundtrack. All you need is this roasted red pepper and cannellini bean dip—and the people will rejoice. Continue reading