What are bifteki?
Greek bifteki (Greek spelling mπιφτέκια, pronounced “bief-TEE-kiel”) are a variation on keftedes (Greek meatballs). Bifteki means “hamburger” and the name refers to the way in which the meat is formed – usually as slightly flattened balls.
The minced meat mixture for bifteki is the same as for keftedes: Both minced meat specialities contain minced lamb or beef, to which a typical Greek flavour is added with onion, cumin, oregano and mint. The bifteki most commonly available in restaurants are filled with a layer of crumbled feta and folded up. They are then shaped into a ball or burger and grilled over a charcoal fire or fried in a pan.
Oddly, bifteki are rarely served in Greece with feta cheese, but are instead served plain. In America, too, people eat bifteki without feta as a Greek variant of the ubiquitous hamburger. The world of Greek minced meat specialities is not always clearly defined with regards to recipe.
How to make bifteki
The following recipe is for bifteki with cheese: Minced meat – often tasty minced lamb, but beef or a combination of the two is also possible – is mixed and kneaded with onion, egg, breadcrumbs and a selection of typically Greek flavours such as cumin, oregano, mint and garlic. The feta is sometimes crumbled through the minced meat mixture and then rolled into a ball or burger, or a slice of cheese is sandwiched between two layers of minced meat, or the cheese can also be put into a ball as a filling. The meat is then grilled over a charcoal fire or in a grill pan until it is cooked but still juicy.
Turn your bifteki into a complete meal with a Greek salad and fries as side dishes.