Greek Venison Meatballs Recipe

Every country has its own take on the meatball, and in Greece it’s the Keftedes. Although they’re normally made of lamb, venison is a great substitute. These have a bright, zesty quality that balls of ground meat often lack. But, like a generic meatball, they are super versatile and can be served in a pita with tzatziki, over rice with a Greek tomato salad, or just on their own.

 

Serving size

4-6

Time to make

1 hour

Ingredients

1 egg
2 lemons, divided
1 tbsp. olive oil
¼ cup minced red onion (¼ small onion or 1 medium-sized shallot)
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tsp. salt
½ tsp. black pepper
1 ½ tsp. dried oregano
1 tsp. cumin
1 tbsp. fresh minced parsley
2 tsp. fresh minced mint (1 tsp. dried)
1 lb. ground venison
½ cup breadcrumbs or almond meal
Cooking oil

Also works with

Any ground wild game

How to make it

1
  1. In a large bowl, whisk together the egg, the zest and juice from one lemon, and olive oil. Stir in the minced red onion, garlic, salt, pepper, oregano, cumin, parsley, mint, and the ground meat. Mix well and sprinkle in half the breadcrumbs. Stir to combine. Continue adding the rest of the breadcrumbs as needed.
  2. Roll the meat mixture into small balls, somewhere between the size of a heaping tablespoon and a golf ball.
  3. Heat a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add enough oil to lightly coat the bottom of the pan. When the oil is hot, use tongs to set down each meatball, leaving a little space in between. You will likely have to work in two batches. After 2 to 4 minutes, when the bottoms are brown, flip the meatballs. Cook for another 4 minutes, or until they are cooked all the way through. Reduce the heat as needed to ensure the balls cook through without burning the outside. Repeat this process with the second batch.
  4. Transfer the cooked meatballs to a separate plate. There should be a couple of tablespoons worth of oil in the pan remaining, plus some juices. Squeeze half a lemon into the pan and stir to mix. You can add all the meatballs back to the pan or spoon the lemon-oil over the meatballs. Garnish with fresh mint.
  5. Serve as desired inside of a pita, a salad, or on top of rice. You can also serve with a Greek tomato salad or tzatziki.

Serving size

4-6

Time to make

1 hour

Ingredients

1 egg
2 lemons, divided
1 tbsp. olive oil
¼ cup minced red onion (¼ small onion or 1 medium-sized shallot)
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tsp. salt
½ tsp. black pepper
1 ½ tsp. dried oregano
1 tsp. cumin
1 tbsp. fresh minced parsley
2 tsp. fresh minced mint (1 tsp. dried)
1 lb. ground venison
½ cup breadcrumbs or almond meal
Cooking oil

Also works with

Any ground wild game

Special equipment

Sauté pan or cast iron skillet, large mixing bowl