>Paşa Köftesi- "Pasha’s Kofta (Meatballs)"

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Now that I have gotten into the habit of cooking more Turkish recipes, I decided to try one I found in a book I’ve had since 2003. The reason I’ve never tried this recipe before is, although it sounds like a lame excuse, there was no picture, and I didn’t read enough of the description to become intrigued. Also, I found this recipe when I was hungry, which is how I came to the conclusion that reading a cookbook while starving is tantamount to grocery shopping on an empty stomach.


I must say that this recipe took a substantial amount of time for me. I am curious as to whether this is because I did not chop and divide all the ingredients out before or because the 2 little creatures demanding various things took away from active cooking time. I would have to say that this recipe would only be reserved for holidays or dinner guests if it wasn’t so well received-and tasty!- by my family (solely because of the time it took). This being said, a native Turk may be able to whip this up on any given weeknight after coming home from work without a second thought. It is a definite “try again” in my book. I will note where I suggest some changes to make it healthier and/or cheaper, more convenient, etc.

As for our review, Kenan says “This has all my favorite things all in one! I love it!” We give it 9 out of 10 (will be 10/10 when I figure out how to pull it together more in better proportions. The “10/10 recipe” is what I give you below)

The following recipe is adapted from The Sultan’s Kitchen: A Turkish Cookbook by Özcan Ozan. Citation can be found at the bottom of the post.

Meatballs
1 cup of panko bread crumbs (you can be authentic and use 4 slices of day-old white bread-remove the crust!)
1 1/2 lbs. gound lamb (I used beef-try to keep the fat content as low as possible for the best outcome, and for health!)
1/2 small onion, chopped (should make 1/4 cup)
4 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely chopped
1/4 cup fresh parsely, finely chopped
2 eggs
1/2 tsp Red pepper flakes (use Turkish if available- deeper red color that crushed red pepper flakes, and a more substantial flavor)
1 tsp. paprika
1 tbsp. ground cumin (adjust if you don’t care for the flavor- you can get away with 1/2 tbsp.)
Salt and Pepper to taste

Creamy Garlic Mashed Potatoes

1/3 c. milk
2 tbsp heavy cream (can substitue based on personal preferences- the potatoes will still have a lovely flavor)
1 lb. potatoes, peeled and chunked (should make about 1 1/2 cups after cut up)
2 tbsp. butter
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely chopped
salt and pepper to taste (use fround white pepper if you can find it)
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella chesse (use grated kaşar peynir if available)
3 tbsp. butter
1 tbsp. tomato paste
2 medium tomatoes, chopped
1 cup beef stock or water (can also use lamb stock)
1 tbsp. finely chopped flat-leaf parsley

Meatballs:

Rinse the breadcrumbs with a small amount of water to soak, then drain and squeeze out all moisture.

 Put them in a medium mixing bowl with the ground meat, onion, garlic, eggs, parsley, red pepper, paprika, cumin, and add salt and pepper to taste.

Knead the mixture with your hands to evenly mix all the ingredients. Put the covered bowl in the refrigerator to chill, at least 30 minutes (or longer if you’re preparing ahead).

Potatoes:

Mix the milk and cream in a small saucepan and heat on low until slightly warmed through. 

Retain the low temperature as you prepare the potatoes. Place the cut-up chunks of potato in a pot of lightly salted water and bring to a boil over high heat.

Cook the potatoes over medium heat for 15 minutes, drain and return to pot. 
Meanwhile, take your 2 tbsp. of butter and garlic cloves and heat in a small saucepan until the buter is melted.
 Pour the milk/cream and garlic/butter into your pot of potatoes and mash all together- or use an electric mixer (I used the immersion/stick blender to get a truly smooth, almost whipped, potato, although they were almost gluey while mixing). 

Meatball formation:

Remove chilled meat mixture from the refrigerator and take small a handful (about 1/4 cup each- just eyeball it) and form a ball. Depress the center, or pinch (almost like making the “pinch pots” ) and place into a large baking dish. ***(The original recipe calls for 2 lbs. of meat to be divided into only FOUR meatballs, which I immediately vetoed and made “mini” cups out of. I got about 2 dozen out of 1 1/2 lbs. of meat. )*** 

In each meatbull cup, spoon the mashed potato mixture evenly, about 1 tsp., depending on the size of your cups.

 Sprinkle the tops of the potatoes with your shredded mozzarella.

Sauce:

In yet another saucepan, (I hated all the dirty dishes after this recipe, in case you were wondering) melt the remaining 3 tbsp. of butter and then add the tomato paste (keep this heated at about medium to avoid burning).

Add your chopped tomatoes and stock/water and bring to a boil. 

 

Retain this temperature for about 3 minutes and then take care to pour AROUND your meatballs (not as a sauce on top). I had trouble surrounding them since they were already tightly wedged in around each other. I will try to put this sauce first next time and place the cups on top.

Bake in the oven, uncovered, at 350 F for about 35 minutes. The potatoes/cheese should be lightly browned.

Remove from the oven and araange about 1-2 per person on a plate, with the sauce drizzled around them. Garnish with your chopped parsley.

Served with rice and steamed green beans

I thought it would be a good idea to blend the “sauce” into a smooth, soup-like consistency- This is probably due to my tendency to look for ways to use my stick blender constantly. The taste was a bit salty, and had an almost greasy, meat flavor.  But, if you are so inclined, you can make extra of the sauce (before cooking it with the meat) and blend that and it makes a very robust tomato soup!!

I also did not serve any starch with this since it had the potatoes in it, but I did add some steamed green beans. Being true Turks, my boys asked where the rice was :)

Ozan, Özcan. “Paşa Köftesi”. The Sultan’s Kitchen: A Turkish Cookbook. Singapore: Periplus, 2001. 76. Print.
 ISBN: 962-593-944-X

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http://www.betterworldbooks.com/the-sultan’s-kitchen-id-962593944X.aspx

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