Monday, 6 February 2012

Izmir Köfte - casserole of meatballs, potatoes, tomatoes and peppers

it's all a question of ingredients

Up until just a few days ago, Istanbul was in the grip of severe snow with crippling below zero temperatures.  I am just back from summer in Oz so the contrast has been sharp. Something really Turkish and comforting for those cold snowy days  really appealed.

Of course there are many recipes for köfte,not only Turkish, but I do like this one because it is a hearty meal in itself and an authentic Aegean family favourite.  I love the idea of not only the meatballs but the potatoes, tomatoes and green peppers all cooked together as one complete dish. This is my favourite kind of dish actually: one that can be prepared and cooked in advance everything in together. Invariably the tastes improve as they mingle and one night in the fridge enhances them even more.

İzmir köfte

You don’t have to have snow to make it! In fact, making this dish in summer would be tastier as the tomatoes would be so much better..

I was very chuffed as TT said it was the best İzmir Köfte he had ever tasted – and he should know as he is from İzmir!

Ingredients for İzmir Köfte
from 'Secrets of the Turkish Kitchen'
by Angie Mitchell

Serves 4-6

450g/1lb minced beef or lamb

1 medium onion, grated

3 slices of stale bread, soaked in water and squeezed dry

1 egg, beaten

1 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp dried mint

1 cup finely chopped parsley

1 tsp salt

Freshly ground black pepper

½ cup plain white flour

Sunflower oil for frying

And the rest:

6 potatoes, sliced

1 green bell pepper, deseeded and sliced

3 tomatoes, sliced

2 tbsp tomato paste

2 tbsp butter


·         Discard the crusts of the bread and crumble the rest into a bowl. Add all the köfte ingredients except the flour and oil and only half of the chopped parsley. Knead well 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 2.5cm/1in. Thick. Continue until all the mixture is used. The meatballs can now be covered and stored in the fridge until required.

adding the beaten egg to the rest of the ingredients
rolling into finger shapes

·         Lightly fry the potato slices until they start to go translucent and golden. Drain on absorbent kitchen paper.

·         Roll the prepared meatballs in the flour. Heat a little oil in a frying pan and fry them on both sides until crisp and lightly  browned. Drain on absorbent kitchen paper.

all floured and ready for frying

·         Using some of the butter, grease an oven dish. Create layers with the potatoes, meatballs, and sliced tomatoes. Top with the sliced green papper and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

layering it up

·         Dilute the tomato paste in a cup of hot water and pour over the top. Dot the top with the remaining butter, cover and bake in a moderate oven for 30 mins or until the potatoes are soft and the sauce has thickened.

·         Serve hot, garnished with the remaining parsley

perfect for supper tonight: moist and tender İzmir Köfte!

Afiyet olsun!