Keftedes me Saltsa Verikoko–Meatballs in an Apricot Sauce

Tapas, meze, appetizers, canapes, antipasti … however you label them, these small bites are often the best part of a meal. Seriously, isn’t it so much better sampling a variety of small dishes rather than taking 20-something bites of the same one?

I can’t imagine a better place to enjoy tapas than Spain–I’ve been to authentic Spanish restaurants here in New York numerous times but I long to taste the “real” thing in a rustic tapas bar in beautiful Barcelona. Being that a trip to Spain is not on the horizon (although a trip to Greece is looming–in fact I’ll be leaving just one month from today), I love, love, love visiting Nuria’s Spanish Recipes and submerging myself in the Spanish culture and cuisine which she so eloquently shares with her readers.

If you haven’t heard, the latest ATOM event–hosted by Tony Tahhan of Olive Juice–is focusing on the Tapas of Spain and what better way to take a quick trip to lovely Spain than by cooking up your own tapas. So head on over to Nuria’s site and get a taste of Spain; then head on over to your kitchen and put together some delectable tapas.

I put together these meatballs in a sweet and tangy apricot sauce for the ATOM event. They are amazingly flavorful little bites of minced pork and beef flavored with fresh herbs and served with a refreshingly simple sauce of apricots and yellow bell peppers. Try them, you won’t be disappointed.

**Note: This was my second attempt at making these keftedes/meatballs. The first came about when I had one too many apricots laying around and decided to cook some meatballs in a fresh apricot sauce. But the fresh apricots added directly to some onion, garlic and fresh herbs and cooked until softened didn’t impart the flavor I was looking for. They were actually much more tart than sweet and although my husband was left extremely satisfied with the dish, I was less than pleased. That’s why with this second attempt I included apricot preserves, which you can very simply make by cooking down some fresh apricots with some sugar, water and a few drops of lemon juice. The sweetness from the preserves was a must for me and took the sauce/chutney to an entirely different level.

Keftedes me Saltsa Verikoko–Meatballs in an Apricot Sauce

1/2 pound ground beef
1/2 pound ground pork
1 egg
1 onion
1/4 cup cilantro
1/4 cup parsley
2 cloves garlic
Salt and pepper, to taste
1/4 cup breadcrumbs

For the Apricot Sauce:
2 yellow peppers, diced
2 celery stalks, chopped
1 onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
Dash of cayenne pepper
Dash of chili powder
1/2 cup apricot preserves (see **note above)
Olive oil, for sauteing and frying

In a food processor, combine one onion, 2 cloves garlic, the cilantro and the parsley and pulse until processed. In a large bowl combine the ground beef and pork with the onion mixture, the egg, the breadcrumbs, salt and pepper. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for about an hour.

Heat some olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Form the meat mixture into small balls and fry in the oil until browned well on each side.

Meanwhile, heat a couple tablespoons of olive oil in a separate saute pan and add the chopped onions, celery and minced garlic. Stir in the yellow pepper and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the apricot preserves, cayenne pepper and chili powder and stir well. Cook for about 10 minutes, adding some water to thin the sauce out if necessary. Season well with salt and freshly ground pepper.

When ready to serve, pour some of the sauce over the meatballs and sprinkle with additional parsley or cilantro.

~ by Kali Orexi on June 22, 2009.

27 Responses to “Keftedes me Saltsa Verikoko–Meatballs in an Apricot Sauce”

  1. Τι όμορφο που είναι το μπλογκ σου! Τρελένομαι και για τάπας, οπότε οι κεφτέδες σου θα δοκιμαστούν!

  2. I love chutneys so I think I will give this sauce a try! Great combination of flavours.

  3. i think you've outdone yourself with this one. I love chutneys too

  4. wonderful combo. i love the idea! definitely will have to try that!

  5. Where do you come up with these quirky and creative ideas? Apricots are in season and pairing a sauce with some keftedes would make a lovely meze offering.

  6. Hey all! Thanks for the kind words! Aggeliki, se euxaristw polu gia ta kala logia kai elpizw na peraseis xana!

    I should have noted that this was my second attempt at making these … my original idea for these came about when I had one too many fresh apricots laying around. I just added a note to this post explaining further the entire thought process.

  7. Υπέροχα τα τάπας και πολύ πρωτότυπη η σάλτσα σου… Συμφωνώ απόλυτα μαζί σου – πολύ καλύτερο να φας λίγο από πολλά διαφορετικά πιάτα!!!

  8. This looks really tasty. I love the savory/sweet combo!

  9. What a great idea to have an apricot sauce for meatballs! Great combination of savory and sweet flavors!

  10. A great idea for meze/tapas Maria! How wonderful to pair the savoury meatball bite with the sweetness and tartness of apricots. I agree with Maria, you've really outdone yourself…Very creative!

  11. Great meze, Maria. These look delicious!

  12. I love the combination of salty meetballs with the sweet of the apricots!
    Well done, one more in my to-do list;)

  13. WOAH! Meatballs in apricot sauce? This is a MUST TRY for me!

  14. These meatballs look so tender and tasty Maria. Perfect as tapas:D

  15. What a great combination of flavors!! Bravo Maria.

  16. Very creative idea and I love that you do not stick to the usual recipes which we read over and over and over again.

  17. beautiful job, Maria!! There is a Middle Eastern dish that I absolutely love that is meatballs in a cherry sauce. thanks for sharing the recipe!!

  18. The combination looks really tasty and delicious!

  19. keftedes me saltsa verikoko?
    call it meatballs, not keftedes
    you re insulting the kefte…

  20. Lovely idea of your apricot sauce, esp the apricots are now in season.

  21. Anonymous: This was never labeled or intended to be a traditional, completely ordinary recipe for keftedes as you so un-inspiringly believe. It's a shame you haven't included your name so I could know who exactly is offering up such "good" advice.

  22. now I have tried it and it tastes great. a few modifications but very similar. I made my sauce very spicy. tasts great too.

  23. Love then cilantro in the meatballs and the apricot sauce must be delicious with it…my mouth is watering at the pictures…yummie!

  24. Oh I just love this combo of flavours – bravo on yet another great dish!!

  25. Maria, kefte is one of the most traditional and wellknown recipe in the greek kitchen. I understand that your "modern" recipe of kefte is not the original and traditional way to make keftedes but to play around with such an important food you have to prove that you mastered the traditional kefte, and just from the picture of it , it doesnt seem that you know it.
    An anonymoys good eater…

  26. To Anonymous: I make traditional, ordinary Greek kefte on a weekly basis for my family and you had better believe I have mastered them.

    I know TRADITIONAL Greek food inside and out and you have no place or right to tell me otherwise. And I will give you no satisfaction to debate this issue further as you are in no way, shape or form an authority on Greek food for me … I will attribute that role to my mother and two grandmothers who collectively cooked (and continue to cook) Greek food for nearly 200 years and passed their AUTHENTIC GREEK recipes on to me.

  27. An apricot sauce for meatballs sounds really good!

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