Food From Friends, Meat & Poultry

Makes 8 to 10 servings as a side dish

8 very thick leeks, whites only with a little green, roots removed
1/2 lb. ground beef, ground twice
3 large eggs
1 tsp. salt
freshly ground pepper
matzo meal
oil for frying
lemon slices, for garnish

Slice leeks in half lengthwise and wash thoroughly to remove all the sand. Chop the leeks and place them in a saucepan with enough cold water to cover. Bring to a boil, cover, and cook the leeks until they are tender, about 4 to 5 minutes.

Drain the leeks and let them cool. Squeeze out as much water as possible, but leave just a little water so the keftikas will not be too dry. Place leeks in a meat grinder or food processor and grind them (twice through a meat grinder). (Do not put the leeks in the refrigerator until you have ground them since it will be impossible to grind them after refrigerating.)

Combine the leeks, meat, eggs, salt, and pepper to taste and add enough matzo meal to form into patties (keftes). They should be about walnut size, then flatten them with your hands.

In a large skillet or fry pan, heat the oil (enough to at least cover the bottom of the pan) and fry until they are brown on each side. Drain well on paper towels. Serve with slices of lemon.

Variation: Venoutcha Benaroyo from Bulgaria made these for Passover for the lunch following the seder night. In Ladino, they are called albondigas de prasa. In her version, she uses a pound of ground meat with the leeks and seasoning (no other ingredients). The patties are then dipped in eggs and matzo meal and fried.

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