Recipes | Maria Elia's carrot keftedes


Maria Elia's carrot keftedes

If you're giving up meat for Lent try these delicious carrot keftedes from Maria Elia's excellent book Smashing Plates, one of the cookbooks that impressed me most last year.

Maria writes: Normally keftedes are made with minced meat (they're basically meatballs). These vegetarian alternatives are packed with flavour. Pre-roasting the carrots brings out their natural sweetness which is balanced by the salt-sour feta and Kefalotyri. Mint and parsley add freshness with a hint of cinnamon for spice. Serve with pomegranate skordalia and carrot tabbouleh. These keftedes are just as delicious served cold.

Serves 4 (makes 16)

350g carrots

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 small onion, grated

150g feta, crumbled

50g fresh breadcrumbs

1 teaspoon cinnamon

2 teaspoons dried mint

50g Parmesan, grated

10g flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped

1 free-range egg, beaten

sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

plain flour, to dust

olive or vegetable oil, for shallow frying

Preheat the oven to 200°C/Gas 6.

Peel and top and tail the carrots and leave whole. Drizzle with the olive oil and place in a roasting tin and cook for 30–40 minutes (depending on the size of carrots) until al dente, turning them halfway through. Leave to cool.

Grate the carrots into a bowl and mix with the rest of the ingredients, except the flour and oil. Season with sea salt and freshly ground pepper and refrigerate for an hour. (The mixture can be made the day before and refrigerated until required).

Shape into 16 walnut-size balls and dust in flour. You can either shallow fry them in olive oil or deep-fry them in vegetable oil. If using olive oil, heat in a frying pan over a medium heat, add half the keftedes and fry until golden on either side – about 3 minutes.

Repeat with the remaining balls. If using vegetable oil, deep-fry the keftedes for about 3 minutes at 180°C/350ºF until golden. Drain on kitchen paper and serve warm.

What to drink: I'd go for a crisp white wine with this. Greek assyrtiko would be perfect or a citrussy Sauvignon Blanc.

From Smashing Plates by Maria Elia, published by Kyle Books at £15.99.

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