Grilled Beef Meatballs with Cinnamon Spiced Tomato Sauce (Keftedakia Kepama)

Grilled Beef Meatballs with Cinnamon Spiced Tomato Sauce (Keftedakia Kepama)
3 tbsp olive oil
1 small onion
small diced
2 clove garlic
1/2 tsp ground fennel
1/2 cup ouzo
2 lbs ground beef
3/4 cup breadcrumbs
2 tbsp fresh mint
1 tsp dried oregano
Salt and pepper
1 egg
2 tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion
small diced
1 tbsp tomato paste
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground allspice
3/4 cup red wine
3 cups crushed tomatoes
1/2 tsp sugar
1 1/2 tsp dried oregano
5 cloves garlic
Fresh mint
for garnish
finely chopped
  • grill or grill plate
  • skewers soaked in water
For the Keftedakia
Heat a medium saute pan on medium-high heat. Add olive oil and diced onion. Saute until translucent and add garlic and fennel. Saute until aromatic and de-glaze with ouzo, cooking off the alcohol for about 1 minute. Put mixture in a large bowl and set aside to cool to room temperature.
Once the mixture has cooled, add breadcrumbs, egg, mint, oregano and ground beef. Season with salt and pepper. Mix thoroughly and make a mini meatball and cook it on a saute pan. This will be the sample meatball that will tell you if you need to adjust any additional seasonings. Add any more salt, pepper, garlic, herbs to your liking. Chill mix for 20 minutes while you make the tomato sauce.
After chilling, form into oval meatballs and put skewers through them. Set them on trays and chill for another 20 minutes while you’re heating up the grill.
Grill the meatballs to perfection. If your meatballs are on the larger side, you might need to finish them off in the oven. If that is the case, you can put them on a 400 degree oven after grilling and check every 5 minutes for doneness.
For the Sauce
Heat large saute pan over medium-high heat, add olive oil and onion and saute until translucent. Add garlic and saute until aromatic, add tomato paste and caramelize. Add cinnamon and allspice and bloom together for about 1 minute. Deglaze with red wine and turn the heat down to medium-low. Add tomatoes, sugar, oregano and season with salt and pepper.
Simmer for 20 minutes and taste, adjust seasonings as needed.
To Serve
Chef’s choice! You can serve the sauce on top or underneath the meatballs or on the side. Garnish with mint, cinnamon sticks or finely chopped parsley.