Ouzo Keftedes

“Keftedes are simply Greek hamburgers or meatballs,” says Emilio Simon, executive chef of Greek Taverna in Edgewater, Montclair and the new branch in Glen Rock. “They’re very versatile, and can be served as an appetizer (meze) or a main dish. Anise-flavored ouzo is the national spirit of Greece.”

Photo by Frank Diaz.

Serves: 5 as an appetizer


· If you can’t find grated Greek Kefalograviera cheese, use freshly grated Parmesan.
· Italian Sambuca may be used in place of ouzo.
· Use regular marinara sauce in place of tomato sauce.


For the meatballs:
1 lb ground lamb
1 T extra virgin olive oil
1 T ground cumin
1/2 t kosher salt
1/2 t ground black pepper
1/4 C fine chopped onion
4 t finely chopped fresh mint
4 t finely chopped fresh parsley
1 t chopped garlic
1 egg
1 cup vegetable oil (to fry meatballs)

For the sauce:
2 t extra virgin olive oil
1 t minced fresh garlic
1 C of white button mushrooms, quartered
5 t ouzo
1/2 C white wine
3 t A1 Steak Sauce
1 t butter
4 t tomato sauce

2 t Kefalograviera cheese, grated


For the meatballs:
In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients except the cup vegetable oil. Mix well.
Using your hands, form about 40 bite-size meatballs.
Pre-heat the vegetable oil to 375° in a fry pan.
Fry meatballs until they are crisp outside and fully cooked inside.

For the sauce:

Pre-heat the oven to 350°.
Using an ovenproof sauté pan, heat pan on a medium flame, then add olive oil to the pan. Add the minced garlic and sauté until golden-brown.
Add the pre-cut mushrooms, continuing to sauté.
Take the pan briefly off the flame, and add the ouzo (BE CAREFUL!). Then add the wine.
Put the pan back on the burner, and add all the other ingredients, except the cheese. Add the fried meatballs. Cook on high heat until the sauce thickens.
Sprinkle the grated Kefalograviera cheese on top of the dish, and put the sauté pan in the oven for 2 minutes to brown.
Serve immediately.

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