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Keftedes me Rodi (Meatballs in pomegranate sauce)

Keftedes is the word for meatballs in Greece. I have posted before about meat balls. I have written about the meatballs we make in Cyprus which have potato in them instead of bread and the Soutzoukakia Smyrneika, bathed in a rich, spicy tomato sauce.
Every family has its own keftedes recipe but I think the main ingredients which distinguish the Greek meatballs are: the ground meat is usually beef, the soaked bread which is mixed with the ground meat to make them soft inside and the Greek herbs: oregano, garlic and parsley which give them their flavour. Ancient Greeks and Romans used to eat them and food historian Francine Segan has included them in her book In Philosopher’s Kitchen: Recipes from Ancient Greece and Rome for the Modern Cook. In this book there is a recipe Meatballs in pomegranate sauce. I have tried to find the original recipe as given in the book but the only recipe I found was one in Group Recipes which had a mention to this book, so I have borrowed the sauce from there but again I did not stick to the recipe as given by Kukla.

This is my entrée for Hey! Get cooking, Offer Seth Godin great Meatball recipes? hosted by Serge, at Serge the Concierge.

Keftedes me Rodi


  • 1 kilo mixed ground pork and beef
  • 1 cup of soaked bread (crust removed before soaking) and squeezed to remove water
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh mint or dried mint
  • ½ cup of minced fresh parsley
  • 1/4 tablespoon dried dill
  • 1 teaspoon of garlic powder
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 onion blended with the olive oil
  • 1/2 tablespoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • flour for dredging
  • Olive oil for frying

For the sauce:

  • 1 cup of red dry wine
  • 2 pomegranates, reserve 2 tablespoons of seed and the rest make into juice (about 100 ml)
  • 1/2 tablespoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 6 – 8 plums, pitted and sliced thin
  • 1 tablespoon flour


  1. Mix the ground pork and beef with the bread, oregano, mint, parsley, dried dill, garlic powder, eggs, onion with oil salt and pepper in a large bowl.
  2. In a large skillet, fry the meatballs in the olive oil over medium heat, turning them so that they cook on all sides. Remove the meatballs from the skillet and cover to keep warm while you make the pomegranate sauce.
  3. Add the wine to the skillet and bring to a boil, scraping up the brown bits from frying pan; boil until reduced by half, about 5 minutes.
  4. Cut the pomegranate in half and reserve 2 tablespoonful of seeds.
  5. Very gently squeeze each half of the pomegranate until you get 1/4 cup of juice (watch out for splashes – pomegranate juice stains!).
  6. Add the juice to the skillet with the nutmeg, bay leaf, and plum slices. Continue to cook on high heat until the plum slices are soft, add milk and stir about 3 to 4 minutes.
  7. Add flour and stir until sauce becomes thick.
  8. Return the meatballs to the pan and toss with the sauce. Season with salt and pepper, if needed.
  9. Garnish with the reserved pomegranate seeds and serve with rice or mashed potatoes.
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4 Responses

  1. Peter M

    I’m quite pleased with seeing this dish. I like the “xyno-gliko” nature of this sauce.

  2. Laurie Constantino

    Did you like this, Ivy? How does it compare with your regular keftedes? It looks quite interesting.

  3. Ivy

    Yes Laurie we liked them very much but i’d say they do not taste like the Cypriot meatballs. I’d say like the regular meatballs but with a nice sauce but neither sweet and sour as Peter says.

  4. JennDZ - The Leftover Queen

    This recipe for keftedes sounds great. I love the use of pomegranate in unexpected places.