Ever since I first set food on the beautiful island of Crete, I’ve been smitten by Greece. Fell head over heels in love with the country, the scenery, the people, the culture, the laid back mentality and definitely the superb Greek kitchen. That and Katy Garbi!
I’m a firm believer of ‘less is more‘ when it comes to cooking. Less is often much, much more. Get down to basics – good ingredients, no frills, and taste food as it was meant to taste. In Greece they have it pat down. Bifteki sure is proof of that.
Here’s how I like to make mine.
2 slices of white bread
1 pound ground beef
1 small onion
1/2 tsp thyme
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp parsley
1 tsp mint
1 tsp salt
Optional: 1 tbsp tzaziki
Lay it all out there. It just works easier when you have everything nearby, doesn’t it?
Starting with the bread. You’ll want to use (slightly) stale bread for this. Trim the crusts and crumble it anyway you like. I always give it a few spins in my mini food processor, but I’m lazy.
Finely chop a small onion or half a medium onion. Photo is slightly out of focus, see, now that’s what happens when you hand over your camera!
Add the oregano, thyme, mint and parsley.
I’ve added a heaping tbsp tzaziki. You can also add some grated garlic or garlic powder, or just omit the garlic. Whatever makes your skirt fly up. I just like the slight tang the tzaziki gives, and how it adds just a tiny hint of garlic.
Now break an egg.
Season the beef with salt and pepper. I usually go for 1 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp freshly cracked black pepper.
Also get your breadcrumbs in there.
Mix it all up, it’s much better to do it with your hands, things will blend better that way. You don’t mind getting your hands dirty, do you?
Cover the bowl and let the flavors incorporate for about 30 minutes. Grab a cup of coffee, go shopping or take a nap in the mean time.
I never really measure the feta I put into them. Just play it by ear. I don’t want the feta oozing out, just want it to add a hint of flavor and structure, so I cut them in small strips. See that little, lonesome piece of feta that broke off? I ate it. I also ate the feta slice on the right side of the photo.
I divided the ground beef in 4 portions and shaped them into balls. Flatten them, put a slice of feta on one half and fold the other half over. Seal the edges and be thorough or you’ll end up with a mess when cooking them.
Keep on doing it until you have as many of them as you want.
There are various ways to cook them. Use a grill -indoor or outdoor- a skillet or your oven. I combine my stove top grill with my oven, it works perfectly, they come out pretty and moist.
I lightly oiled the grill, this isn’t really necessary because ground beef doesn’t need oil and my grill is non-stick, but I used a garlic infused oil to get a little extra flavor on the outside. Don’t you just love these silicone kitchen utensils? It gave the non stick surfaces of my kitchenware a much longer lifespan, that’s for sure.
I preheated my oven to 400 (200C), and grilled the burgers. Gave them roughly 3 minutes on each side over medium heat – I only wanted to sear the meat and get those fancy grill stripes on them and transfered them to an oven dish.
Didn’t want them to brown anymore so I covered the baking dish with foil and put it in a hot oven for 30 minutes (depends on how big your patties are, of course). Check them for readiness before serving.
An abundance of color!! I like to serve them ‘Moroccan style‘. How’s that?
Well, just put everything on a big plate. Top with thinly sliced red onion, serve with pea rice, a small handful of lightly boiled snap beans, thinly sliced bell pepper and tomato slices. Also add some some lemon wedges (love to squeeze fresh lemon juice all over of my bifteki), lots of tzatziki and a Greek salad on the side. If you really want to make it an extended dinner you can also serve some gyros on the side and throw in a few french fries as well!