Friday, August 29, 2008
There are not many dishes that can claim to be regulars at our dinner table. I may love a dish and never make it again. After all, the culinary world is such a vast ocean to explore... The pleasure of discovery is what keeps me in the kitchen, happily creating and experimenting. One dish keeps coming back though, unapologetically breaking all rules.
I first made Izmir Kofte fifteen years ago. I was a young bride then, barely venturing into ethnic cuisine. I immediately loved the pillow soft meatballs perfectly flavored with cinnamon and swimming in a sea of tomato sauce. The chopped pistachios and parsley, a beautiful contrast to the deep richness of the red sauce, only added to the experience. Over the years, I have made them many times for guests and never has one left my table without requesting this excellent recipe.
Izmir Kofte (serves 4)
If you are not watching out for wheat or gluten, feel free to use regular slices of wheat bread.
Ingredients for the meatballs:
1 lb of lean grass-fed ground beef
5 oz of Gluten-Free bread, soaked in water, squeezed dried and crumbled
1/2 cup finely chopped onions
1/4 cup finely chopped parlsey
1 tsp sea salt
1 tablespoon dijon mustard
1 tsp cinnamon
Mix all the ingredients for the meatballs in a large bowl and mix really well- I like to use my hands for this step and the next. Then form ping-pong sized meatballs. Just make sure, to soap up your hands really well after handling raw meats and eggs. Heat a large pan, such as a seasoned iron pan or nonstick pan, with olive oil (about 1 tablespoon). In batches, if necessary, brown the meatballs and then transfer to a plate. You don't want to overcrowd the pan, this makes it more likely that the meatballs will fall apart or steam instead of browning properly.
Ingredients for the sauce:
1/2 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup of finely chopped onions
1 can of tomato paste (6oz)
2 1/2 cans of warm water (use the tomato paste can)
2 tablespoons of lemon juice
1 tablespoon of brown sugar
1 tsp of salt
1/4 cup of chopped raw pistachios
1/2 cup of finely chopped parsley
In a dutch oven, heat the oil. Add the onions and saute until translucent. Add the meatballs in the pot.
In a bowl mix together the paste, water, lemon juice, sugar, salt. Pour mixture on top of meatballs and give a gentle stir. Bring to a boil and then cover and keep simmering for 45 minutes. Give another gentle stir at about halfway through the cooking process. Sprinkle the chopped pistachios and parsley on top. Serve over rice.
If you enjoyed this post you might also enjoy:
Fig Chicken with Rosemary