Left-Brain / Right-Brain Cookery

A double-take in the kitchen

Beef Kefta Meatballs with Lemon Drizzle

Beef Kefta Meatballs with Lemon Drizzle

Beef Kefta Meatballs with Lemon Drizzle


This sounds exotic and expensive, however these tender meatballs use very ordinary ingredients, just in a deliciously different way.
I served them with toasted orzo pilaf, however orzo is merely a tiny rice-shaped pasta – everyday rice would be fine too. Green beans were my vegetable of choice as lemon brings out their flavour, and in season asparagus would be quite wonderful too. in the picture, I have sprinkled the meatballs with lemon zest.

Serves 4


1 lb (454g) hamburger or medium ground beef
1/2 cup (60g) finely-chopped onion
1/2 cup (22g) finely-chopped fresh parsley
1 egg
1 tsp (1g) ground cumin seed
1/2 tsp (.5g) each of ground coriander seed and paprika
1/2 tsp (5g) salt
1/4 tsp (1g) freshly ground black pepper
1/4 tsp (1g) cayenne
1 tbsp (15mL) vegetable oil

Lemon Drizzle

1/4 cup (56g) butter, melted
1/4 cup (60 mL) lemon juice, preferably freshly-squeezed
2-4 tbsp (30-60 mL) mayonnaise
Pinch of salt and freshly ground black pepper

  1. Using your hands, mix meat with egg and all the seasonings. Form meat into 16 meatballs.
  2. Heat oil in a large sauté pan over medium high heat until very hot. Add a few meatballs and shake pan, add a few more meatballs and shake pan, etc. until all are in the pan. Shake pan often to brown evenly and keep round shape. Then reduce heat to medium low to finish cooking uncovered for 6 to 8 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile mix butter and juice. Using a very small whisk or a fork, mix in mayonnaise until the mixture becomes an even light lemon colour. Whisk in pinches of salt and pepper. The drizzle is very strong tasting (extra mayonnaise can be used to tame it, however try it first with a meatball!).
  4. Serve meatballs on a bed of orzo with green beans along side. Very lightly drizzle with the lemon mixture, and pass the rest of the drizzle to add to taste.
    Toasted Orzo Pilaf: Turn 1 cup (165g) orzo into a hot dry pan over medium heat. Shake often for 5 to 6 minutes or until looking toasty. Turn into a medal bowl and stir in 1/2 cup (82g) untoasted orzo for good colour contrast. Melt 1 tbsp (15g) butter in sauce pan over medium heat. Add 1/2 cup (60g) diced onion. Sauté briefly; add orzo, 1/2 tsp (5g) salt and 2 1/4 cups (560mL) chicken stock. Bring to a boil, cover and reduce heat to low. Cook 18 to 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in some chopped parsley for colour and serve. Makes 4 servings.

Joanna’s comments:
It’s a nice turn to have the kefta on the plate without using kabob sticks. Some may find the lemony sauce a bit too tart – if so, add a bit more mayonnaise to the mix.


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