Since it was freezing cold here today, grilling was completely out of the question. I had picked up ground lamb to make these with but when I opened the package, I almost passed out from the smell, so I had hubby stop by the store on his way home to pick up a package of ground beef to use instead. While I was waiting for him to pick up the meat, I went ahead and put together a quick little tzatziki yogurt sauce to serve with the Köfte. I also made a side dish to serve with them.
I made a Chunky Eggplant Caviar for our side dish. It turned out absolutely amazing. The eggplant was beautiful on the outside and even more so on the inside. It had almost no seeds and had nice solid white flesh.
To make the eggplant caviar, I diced about 1/4 of a medium onion and began sauteing it in olive oil while I diced the eggplant into small dice and minced a large clove of garlic. When the onions began to soften, I added the garlic and sauteed it for a few minutes, then added the diced eggplant to my pot. Eggplant sucks oil up like a sponge, so I added a bit more olive oil and stirred frequently. As it continued to cook, rather than continuously add oil, I added a few tablespoons of water to my pot and covered it and cooked it until tender, stirring occasionally. I diced half of a red bell pepper and added that to the pot along with another splash of olive oil and covered the pot back up to soften the peppers. When everything was softened and cooked, I added a few heaping tablespoons of some oven roasted tomatoes packed in oil; then seasoned with salt and pepper and covered the pot and continued cooking on low another 15 minutes or so. I added some chopped fresh parsley right before serving. It turned out amazing...it was flavorful, tender and buttery soft and was the perfect accompaniment to the Köfte. I snapped a few photos as well as included the recipe for my Köfte below. Enjoy!
Turkish Meatballs (Köfte)
1 pound ground lamb or beef
1 teaspoon roasted ground cumin
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/4 teaspoon hot paprika, or to taste (or substitute cayenne pepper)
1/4 teaspoon dried mint
1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1/4 cup grated onion
1 large clove garlic, finely minced
3 tablespoon chopped fresh flat leaf parsley
2 tablespoons ghee or olive oil
In a medium bowl, combine all ingredients, mixing with your hands until evenly combined. Divide mixture into 8 equal sized portions and roll into balls or small patties. Add ghee or oil to a heavy skillet and cook over medium high heat until browned and desired doneness. Alternatively they can be grilled, if desired. Serve with tzatziki or other yogurt sauce, if desired.