Monday, February 17, 2014

Izmir Kofte

Put a stewed casserole of meat and tomatoes in front of me and I often cannot resist.  I had this dish in central Turkey. It came to our table bubbling hot, hearty, and accompanied by this bread and a plate of crumbly cheese.

I'm making a variation of it for dinner.

Izmir Kofte
Recipe by Ozlem Turkish Table


For the kofte (meatballs):
450 gr /1 lb ground lamb
1 medium onion, grated
2 slices of stale bread, soaked in water and squeezed dry
1 egg, beaten
1 bunch finely chopped Italian parsley
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground black pepper
A bowl of water for kneading kofte / wetting hands

For the rest:
450 gr / 1 lb medium potatoes, sliced like thin apple quadrants
1 green bell pepper, deseeded and sliced
1 medium carrot, coarsely sliced
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
400 gr /14 oz (1 can of) chopped tomatoes
1 tablespoon olive oil
240 ml / 1 cup water
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 180 C / 350 F.

Discard the crusts of the bread, soak in the water, and squeeze dry. Then crumble them into a large bowl. Add all the kofte ingredients except the meat and knead well. This will soften the onions and enable the spices to blend in the mixture evenly. Add the ground meat and knead well again until the mixture resembles a soft dough. With wet hands take a piece the size of a large walnut and roll into a large finger shape about 1 inch thick. Continue until all the mixture is used. The meatballs can now be covered and stored in the fridge until required.

In an oven dish, create layers with the vegetables and the meatballs. Add the chopped tomatoes, water and olive oil. Season with salt and pepper and mix well. Bake in the oven for about 55 – 60 minutes or until the potatoes are soft and the sauce has thickened.

Serve hot, with plain rice or some crusty bread.       

[Post-edit: I adapted the recipe by adding fresh thyme and mint to the meatballs and  eggplant to the veggie mix. I baked the mixture for one hour and 45 minutes.]

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