Jewish Meat Croquettes from Greece

Greek Jewish cooking has a very long history since Jews have lived in Greece since Hellenistic times. In the 16th century, many thousands of Jews expelled from Spain and Portugal moved to the Ottoman Empire. Many of them settled in Greece where they mingled with the Jewish communities who were already there. This makes Greek Jewish cooking particularly varied, eclectic, and altogether fascinating. Try these Jewish Meat Croquettes from Greece made with ground beef and matzo meal for a weeknight meal. Make your own spelt matzo meal from our spelt matzo recipe or order spelt matzo online. To make matzo meal, break up matzos and whizz them in the food processor.

We keep discovering varieties of Jewish cooking from all over Europe, Africa, and Asia. If you are interested in Jewish cooking, do yourself a favor and get a copy of The Cookbook of the Jews of Greece by Nicholas Stavroulakis.

Jewish Meat Croquettes from Greece with Spelt Matzo Meal

byzantine greek jews Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes
About 20 croquettes

 

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 lbs/680 grams ground beef
  • 1 medium onion finely chopped
  • 2 eggs beaten
  • 1/4 cup/65 grams spelt matzo meal
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 4 tablespoons chopped parsley and mint
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Olive oil for frying
  • Raw onion rings, parsley, and lemon juice for garnish

Instructions:

  1. Mix the beef, onion, eggs, spelt matzo meal, vinegar, 1 tbsp olive oil, vinegar, parsley and mint together in a large bowl and knead them thoroughly with your hands
  2. Pat egg-sized pieces of the mixture into oblong shapes and set on a plate
  3. Fry the croquettes in 4 tablespoons olive oil, turning them every couple of minutes so they’re well browned all over
  4. Serve immediately garnished with raw onion, parsley, and lemon juice

Adapted from The Cookbook of the Jews of Greece

Lebanese Kibbe with Homemade Spelt Bulgur

Kibbe is a beloved dish all over the Middle East. We used our homemade spelt bulgur to make Lebanese sheet kibbe: layers of ground lamb mixed with bulgur and spices stuffed with onions and pine nuts baked to a golden-brown with a slightly crispy surface.

Lebanese Kibbe with Homemade Spelt Bulgur

spelt lebanese kibbe Prep Time: 1 hour and 20 minutes
Cook time: 45 minutes
Makes: 4 to 6 servings

 

Ingredients

  • 1 cup fine-grain bulgur, made from whole spelt kernels
  • 1 pound/400 grams lamb shoulder, ground fine
  • ¼ cup grated onion
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • Pinch cayenne pepper
  • Salt
  • Black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for oiling the pan
  • 2 cups sliced onions, 1/4-inch thick
  • ½ cup pine nuts, lightly toasted
  • Greek-style yogurt, for serving

Instructions

  1. Rinse the spelt bulgur well, then cover with cold water and soak for 20 minutes. Drain well.
  2. Put the drained spelt bulgur, lamb, grated onion, cumin and cayenne in a large mixing bowl. Season with 2 teaspoons salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Mix well with your hands to distribute the seasoning. With a wooden spoon, beat in about 1/2 cup ice water. The mixture should be smooth and soft.
  3. Heat the olive oil in a cast-iron skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and fry gently, stirring occasionally, until they soften, about 5 minutes. Season generously with salt and pepper. Raise the heat and add 1/4 cup of the lamb mixture. Continue frying, allowing the meat to get crumbly and the onions to brown nicely, another 10 minutes or so. Stir in the pine nuts and taste. Let cool to room temperature.
  4. Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly oil a shallow 9-by-13-inch baking dish, then press half the remaining lamb mixture evenly over the bottom of the pan. Spread half the onion-pine nut mixture over the meat. Add the rest of the meat to the pan, patting and pressing it with wet hands to make a smooth top. If desired, score the top with a sharp paring knife to make a traditional diamond pattern at least 1/2-inch deep.
  5. Bake uncovered for 35 to 45 minutes, until the top is golden. Spread with the remaining onion-pine nut mixture. Serve warm, at room temperature or cool, with a dollop of yogurt.
Adapted from The New York Times