Thursday, December 11, 2014

Turkish Meatballs (Köfte) w/ Chunky Eggplant Caviar

This evening I made Turkish Meatballs (Köfte) for dinner. What is Köfte you ask? It's a spiced Turkish style meatball that is usually grilled and often made with lamb or beef. It can be shaped like a traditional meatball or like I did this evening, made into small patties (similar to sliders). It is traditionally pressed and shaped around a skewer into an oblong "log shape" and grilled. There are numerous variations and spices used. 

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 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.



Anonymous said...

Now that is what I call a very special meatball!! I can almost smell the delicious aroma while you were cooking them. And what a clever idea with the eggplant caviar. Yum! Yum! Yum! By the way do you have a way to ship these delicious dishes? I would order them often!

Gourmet Girl Cooks said...

Thanks! They really do smell good when cooking. I had the leftover meatballs and eggplant caviar for lunch. I was sad to finish it up. LOL...wish I could find a way to ship them so I could. :-)

Luana said...

Your eggplant looks just wonderful! I love meatballs, too, and a cold meatball or two the next morning for breakfast always taste good.

Gourmet Girl Cooks said...

Thanks, Luana! Ohhhhhhhhh...I love leftover cold meatballs too! :-)

Mary said...

What a great idea - I love the spice combination for the Kofte. I think I might try it with some ground elk meat I've got in the freezer. Thanks!

Gourmet Girl Cooks said...

Thanks Mary. Hope it turns out delicious for you! :-)