Turkish Meat Balls with Yogurt/Cucumber Sauce

(recipe by TheSalmons)

For the Meat Balls:

  • 3 lbs ground beef
  • 2 cups seasoned bread crumbs
  • 1 medium onion
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • fresh mint leaves (approx. 1 oz) - buy 2 oz and use half in the yogurt sauce
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 tsp allspice
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon

The quantities above make approximately 48 meatballs. This is enough for at least four dinner size portions, or they can be served as appetizers.

Put the bread crumbs into a food processor and pulse a few times, or put them into a large bowl and crush them by hand. You just want to break them up into small pieces, not pulverize them. Transfer to a large mixing bowl.

Cut the onion into a few chunks and place it into a food processor with the peeled garlic. Pulse a bit to chop them into small pieces. Add the mint leaves (remove the stems) and pulse to chop and mix all and then add this to the bread crumbs in the large bowl.

Add spices and eggs and stir. Then add ground beef and mix well by hand.

Form the meat into balls, approx. 1 1/4 inch diameter and set aside until you are ready to cook. Prepare yogurt/cucumber sauce ahead of time or while the meatballs are cooking.

Heat olive oil (or a mixture of olive oil and vegetable oil) and saute meat balls on medium-high. Rotate until browned evenly on all sides. Reduce heat and continue cooking until done.

For the Yogurt/Cucumber Sauce:

  • 2 cups plain yogurt (we prefer a thick Greek style)
  • 1 large cucumber
  • 1 oz. fresh mint, chopped
  • 1 tbsp white balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp salt

The yogurt/cucumber sauce is a great accompaniment to the meatballs. Serve it on the side and use it for dipping.

In a bowl, grate the cucumber and then place it in a strainer. Sprinkle with salt and let stand for 10-15 minutes allowing the water to drain.

Chop mint leaves. In a medium bowl, mix together the yogurt and mint.

Press on the cucumbers in the sieve/strainer to squeeze out more water and then add them to the yogurt mixture.

Add vinegar and stir will. Serve at room temperature or slightly chilled.


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Lynn Salmon <>{

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