Albondigas De Prasa Kon Muez (Leek Meatballs with Walnuts)

photo taken by Mr. Usaji, on February 3, 2008, CC licensing

Recipe adapted from 

Jewish Food: The World at Table by Matthew Goodman (HarperCollins 2005)

Serves 6 to 8

Matthew adapted this recipe from one originally published in Sefarad Yemekleri, a cookbook published by the Jewish community of Istanbul. He notes: "Make sure that you have squeezed out all of the excess water in the potatoes and leeks, or else the albondigas will not have the proper consistency."

  • 2 pounds medium leeks
  • 1 large russet potato (about 12 ounces), peeled and quartered
  • ¾ pound ground beef or lamb
  • 3 tablespoons coarsely chopped walnuts
  • 3 eggs
  • salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • vegetable oil for frying
  • matzoh meal for dredging
  • lemon wedges for drizzling

Trim the leeks, reserving only the white and pale green parts. Cut them into ½-inch pieces and soak in a large bowl of cold water, making sure to remove any dirt that may be clinging to them.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the leeks and the potatoes and cook until soft. Drain well and let cool. Carefully squeeze out all the excess water from the leeks and mash the potato.
Place the leeks and mashed potato in a large bowl. Add the meat, walnuts, and 1 of the eggs and season with a generous amount of salt and pepper. Stir to combine. Place the mixture in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until it just comes together in a soft paste. Roll the paste into balls about 1 inch in diameter. (You should have about 48 meatballs.)
Preheat the oven to 200 degrees F. In a large skillet, add oil to a depth of about ½ inch and heat over medium-high heat.
Beat the remaining 2 eggs in a bowl and spread some matzoh meal on a plate. Roll the meatballs in the matzoh meal, shaking off any excess, and then in the eggs. Place the meatballs gently in the hot oil. Do this in batches, so as not to reduce the oil temperature too much.
Cook the meatballs until they are golden brown all over and cooked through, about 10 minutes, turning as necessary. Drain them on paper towels, then place them on a plate and put the plate in the oven. When all the meatballs are cooked, transfer them to a large serving platter. Drizzle with lemon juice. Serve hot.

Sephardic or Askhenazi