Biftekia

Biftekia are classic Greek home cooking and are rarely missing from Greek restaurant menus. In today’s version, delicious oven potatoes are cooked in the oven along with the Biftekia. They go very well with homemade Tzatziki.

We use young, very small potatoes that only need to be peeled. Large potatoes would be cut in half lengthwise and then each half cut lengthwise into three to four wedges again. Together with two peeled and lightly pressed cloves of garlic and a few sprigs of thyme, we put the potatoes in an ovenproof dish.

A lemon is rinsed with hot water and the yellow part of the peel is finely grated. These zests are mixed with olive oil, mustard, the juice of the lemon and a little water and the mixture is seasoned with dried oregano, ground pepper and salt. For further flavour, you can also replace some of the water with white wine. Then this aromatic mixture is poured over the potatoes.

For the Biftekia, we recommend using half minced beef and half minced pork, because of the higher fat content. However, it also works with pure beef, but it might become a little drier.

We cut toast bread into cubes and soak it in milk (or water, but we prefer milk) for about 5 minutes, this makes the Biftekia fluffier later, as we have already described here.

Onion and – optional – garlic are grated into a fine sieve so that the liquid can drip off.

Then the minced meat is mixed thoroughly with the soaked bread, onion-garlic paste and egg, which is best done by hand. As for herbs, we also add dried oregano and rosemary (also dried, alternatively chopped rosemary leaves) and mint. We prefer dried mint, as it is often used in Turkish cuisine. We season with salt and black pepper from the mill.

We found the rosemary very harmonious, but were advised that this is not a typical ingredient!

If you are unsure about the salt, weigh it out and use a good 1 g of salt per 100 g of meat. As always when using minced meat, you can also fry a small piece of the finished mixture in the pan and then taste whether the seasoning suits your personal taste.

In some recipes, grated tomato is also added to the meat, but we find this less appropriate. If you like, you can also add chopped fresh parsley and also use the stems.

Because of the different sizes of eggs, it can always happen that the mixture is a little too liquid. Then simply work in breadcrumbs until the desired consistency is reached.

Many recipes do not use soaked bread, but only breadcrumbs – we prefer the bread

It is important to leave the seasoned meat in the fridge for at least an hour to absorb the aroma. More time is better and for maximum flavour you can also prepare the mixture the previous evening.

Then the oven is preheated to 220 degrees Celsius and the Biftekia are formed. To do this, always spread a quantity of about 100 g of the meat mixture flat, about one centimetre high, and crumble Feta cheese over it. It is very important to crumble the Feta and not to put a whole piece in the Biftekia, because the Feta cheese is quite dense and otherwise does not melt so well.

Then we wrap the meat around the cheese and form a ball….

…and place the shaped Biftekia on top of the potatoes.

The dish must be well sealed so that the potatoes can cook in the steam. This is best done with aluminium foil. If you do not seal the dish well, the potatoes will not cook!

Now we bake in the preheated oven for 50 minutes. Afterwards, remove the dish and test the potatoes with a knife – if it slides in easily, they are done. If this is not the case, cover the dish again and give the potatoes a little more time.

When the potatoes are done, remove the aluminium foil and continue baking at 200 degrees with convection for about 30 minutes until the Biftekia are nicely browned and the potatoes are golden.

Tzatziki is the perfect accompaniment. All you have to do is peel a cucumber, cut it in half and remove the seeds and surrounding jelly with a spoon, as we have explained before.

Then the cucumber is coarsely grated and mixed with the ingredients listed below – done.

Enjoy.

And may the taste be with you.

Ingredients (for 4 people):

For the potatoes:

800 g potatoes

2 cloves of garlic

A few sprigs of thyme

3 tbsp olive oil

1 tbsp mustard

2 tsp oregano

1 lemon

150 ml water

Salt and pepper


For the Biftekia:

300 g minced beef

300 g minced pork

3 slices of toast

100 ml milk

1 onion

1 clove of garlic (optional)

1 egg

2 tsp oregano

2 tsp rosemary

2 tsp dried mint (or double the amount of fresh mint)

parsley to taste

Salt and pepper

100 – 150 g Feta


For the Tzatziki

300 g Greek yoghurt

1 cucumber

1 small clove of garlic

2 tbsp olive oil

2 – 3 tbsp light vinegar

Salt and pepper

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