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Meatballs Simmered With Leeks (Keftedes Prassoselino)

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“Another recipe adapted from "The Glorious Foods of Greece," I changed it a bit to reduce the fat content (so to allow for all the butter). Prep time includes an hour for the meatball mixture to rest in the fridge.”
2hrs 25mins

Ingredients Nutrition

  • For the Meatballs
  • 1 lb ground veal
  • 1 lb lean ground lamb
  • 1 large onion, minced
  • 2 tablespoons rice, raw
  • 2 tablespoons fresh mint leaves, finely chopped
  • 12 cup flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons sweet paprika
  • salt & freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 large eggs
  • For the Leeks
  • 4 -6 tablespoons butter, unsalted
  • 3 leeks, large, white and light green parts, washed and cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 3 -4 celery ribs, leaves and strings removed, chopped into 2-inch pieces
  • 1 -2 teaspoon sweet paprika (if you like the extra heat, use hot)
  • salt & freshly ground black pepper


  1. Make the Meatballs:
  2. Combine all the meatball ingredients in a large bowl and knead well.
  3. Cover and refrigerate for an hour.
  4. When ready to cook them, shape into golf ball sized portions (around 30).
  5. Place a large, heavy skillet over medium heat.
  6. Add the meatballs and brown them on all sides; do this in batches (do not over-cook, they will cook further with the leeks).
  7. Remove meat to a plate and pour off all the accumulated fat in the skillet.
  8. Reduce heat to low, add 4 tablespoons of butter and scrape up any bits of fond.
  9. Add the leeks and celery and slowly saute, stirring occasionally for about 8 minutes.
  10. Season with salt, pepper and paprika.
  11. Add the meatballs and stir everything together.
  12. Add just enough water to come about two thirds of the way up the meatballs.
  13. Cover and simmer over very low heat for about an hour, checking occasionally to make sure there is sufficient liquid to prevent scorching.
  14. If you like (it does add amazing richness to the dish), swirl two tablespoons of butter in the pan, tipping it to distribute the butter throughout the meat and leeks.
  15. Remove from heat, rest briefly, and serve.

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