Over the weekend, we had some friends come to dinner to help us celebrate the arrival of Autumn. The main dish was Biftekia Kokkinista, Roasted Oregano Potatoes and Rice Pilaf. This is traditional fall dish in Greece and very popular at one of the restaurants on te Danforth. Although it is not a very elegant dish it is hearty and conforting. Perfect for a crisp Autumn evening.
BIFTEKIA KOKKINISTA – STUFFED GREEK MEATBALLS WITH RED SAUCE
3 lbs ground meat
3 cups bread crumbs
1 cup tomato sauce
2 large onions. diced ( 1 onion for the biftekia, 1 for the sauce)
4 to 5 garlic cloves, diced ( separate the garlic )
1 tbsp cumin
1 tbsp mint
1 tbsp oregano
1 tsp cinnamon
100 g of cubed gouda
Kokkinisto – Red Sauce
3 cups tomato sauce
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp mint
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp balsamic vinegar
1. Combine all the ingredients for the biftekia. Make an oval and place a couple of cubes of gouda in the centre. Cover with another oval paddy and roll together making sure the two meat paddies combine well. You don’t want the cheese to seep out in the cooking process.
2. Place all the biftekia in a roasting pan. I did this the day before for two reasons. To save time the day of and to allow the biftekia to stiffen up a little.
3. Brown each bifteki on both sides so that they have a nice crispy top and bottom.
4. Place browned biftekia in a pyrex.
5. Once all the biftekia are nice and snug in the pyrex you pour the kokkinisto over the biftekia.
6. Preheat oven at 425F. Cover biftekia with foil and continue cooking in the oven for 25 minutes.
7. After 25 minutes, uncover and put the pyrex back into the oven at 350F for 15 minutes for the excess water to evaporate from the dish. You don’t want a soupy consistancy.
8. While you are preparing and cooking the biftekia, you should make the kokkinisto. Saute the onion and garlic. Add the spices. Gently add the tomato sauce and balsamic vinegar. Bring to a boil and then simmer for 30 minutes on low heat.