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Turkish Meatballs and vegetables casserole; Izmir Kofte, my way


This is a popular meatball and vegetable casserole (not only with the children but with the adults too!) that can either be cooked on the stove top or baked in the oven. It makes a complete and hearty main course served with plain white rice or a slice of crusty bread. This is Izmir Kofte my way, as I like to add some more vegetables. You can add as much red pepper flakes as you would like for a spicier flavor.

I usually double the recipe and freeze some, as it freezes very well.

Serves 4-6
Preparation time :30 minutes             Cooking time : 45 -50 minutes

For the kofte (meatballs):

450 gr /1 lb ground lamb or beef, or a mixture
1 medium onion, grated
2 slices of stale bread, soaked in water and squeezed dry
1 egg, beaten
1 bunch finely chopped Italian parsley
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground black pepper

A bowl of water for kneading kofte / wetting hands

And the rest:

450 gr / 1 lb medium potatoes, sliced like thin apple quadrants
1 green bell pepper, deseeded and sliced
1 medium carrot, coarsely sliced
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
400 gr /14 oz (1 can of) chopped tomatoes
1 tablespoon olive oil
240 ml / 1 cup water
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 180 C / 350 F

Discard the crusts of the bread, soak in the water and squeeze dry. Then crumble them into a large bowl. Add all the kofte ingredients except the meat and knead well. This will soften the onions and enable the spices to blend in the mixture evenly. Add the ground meat and knead well again 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 1 inch thick. Continue until all the mixture is used. The meatballs can now be covered and stored in the fridge until required.

In an oven dish, create layers with the vegetables and the meatballs. Add the chopped tomatoes, water and olive oil. Season with salt and pepper and mix well. Bake in the oven for about 45 – 50 minutes or until the potatoes are soft and the sauce has thickened.

Serve hot, with plain rice or some crusty bread by the side.

Afiyet Olsun,

Ozlem

22 Responses to Turkish Meatballs and vegetables casserole; Izmir Kofte, my way

  1. Jane Starling June 2, 2012 at 10:22 am #

    I have only just discovered your blog & your FB page, & I am in total awe! The food, the background, everything is just amazing!

    • Ozlem June 3, 2012 at 10:41 am #

      Many thanks Jane, so glad you are enjoying the blog and the recipes!

  2. Elena August 17, 2012 at 5:27 am #

    Selam Ozlem,
    wonderfull food! We just made it yesterday for friend´s team event, they loved it :) Tesekkur ederim for sharing your recipes and experiences!
    Grettings from Slovakia!
    Elena

    • Ozlem August 17, 2012 at 12:19 pm #

      Merhaba Elena:)

      So glad to hear you all enjoyed Izmir kofte, greetings to you from Istanbul!

      • irina March 10, 2013 at 1:48 pm #

        merhaba Ozlem hanim. Ellerinize saglik. Cok lezzetli oldu.

        • Ozlem Warren March 10, 2013 at 3:28 pm #

          Merhaba Irina, cok tesekkur ederim mesajina :) Cok sevindim, sizin ellerinize saglik ve afiyet olsun : ) Ozlem

  3. Cecilia April 6, 2014 at 6:48 am #

    Merhaba, how and for how long should I cook them if I cook them on the stovetop?

    • Ozlem Warren April 6, 2014 at 3:38 pm #

      Merhaba Cecilia, if cooking on stove top, I would use a wide heavy pan and cook the casserole covered, at medium to low heat. You can start with medium heat until it starts bubbling and turn to heat to low. I would imagine 40 – 45 minutes should be enough. Hope you enjoy it, afiyet olsun, Ozlem

  4. Christy July 21, 2014 at 5:20 pm #

    How much would I use if I used packaged breadcrumbs?

    • Ozlem Warren July 22, 2014 at 9:06 pm #

      Merhaba Christy, thank you for your note – about 1 cup should be sufficent, afiyet olsun!

  5. Lorelei Sebranek August 28, 2014 at 3:00 pm #

    Merhaba Ozlem! I grew up in Izmir and this is one of my favorite dishs! I have a question. Im in Texas and am wondering what I can substitute the long green finger like peppers for here in America? I’ve been using Anaheims but really do miss the others. Any suggestions? Teşekkür ederim!

    • Ozlem Warren August 29, 2014 at 4:20 pm #

      Merhaba Lorelei, many thanks for your note. I lived in Texas too, and they have that wonderful hash chilies, similar to our long pointy peppers, though a little spicy. That would work or any pointy peppers. If not, the bell peppers are good too, I used them many times. Afiyet olsun!

  6. Nedret August 28, 2014 at 6:30 pm #

    I just made izmir kofte for 33 children of ages 2-6. Mostly fussy eaters but today they ate their lunch. Followed the Recipe precisely ( no time for ooops) and worked! I wish i could put the pictures of the children as they cleaned their plates:)

    • Ozlem Warren August 29, 2014 at 4:17 pm #

      Merhaba Sevgili Nedret, thank you so much for this wonderful feedback; such happy news, especially children enjoying this meatball casserole with vegetables, so glad! A favorite with my children too, and I feel good serving it as it is wholesome as well as delicious. Afiyet Olsun!

  7. janice gardner October 2, 2015 at 3:50 pm #

    oh these pictures make me very hungry yummy

    • Ozlem Warren October 5, 2015 at 10:25 am #

      Thank you Janice, hope you enjoy making these delicious Izmir kofte, Selamlar, Ozlem

  8. Christi June 30, 2016 at 5:07 pm #

    Just made this for my 1 year old.. And family of course. He loves his potatoes so this should be a big hit. Perfect meal for a mom to make that is easy and satisfying for the whole family. Thanks for this recipe!

    • Ozlem Warren July 2, 2016 at 4:32 pm #

      Merhaba dear Christi, many thanks for your kind note; this Turkish meatball casserole is a huge hit with my family and children too; so glad it worked for you too, being also easy and wholesome. You are most welcome, afiyet olsun! Ozlem

  9. Deborah Groom July 2, 2016 at 5:27 pm #

    Do you freeze it before or after cooking?. Thanks so much!

    • Ozlem Warren July 2, 2016 at 5:30 pm #

      Merhaba Deborah, I would freeze after cooking, freezes really well and makes a wonderful surprise! You are most welcome, afiyet olsun, Ozlem

  10. Lucy Burany December 25, 2016 at 9:23 pm #

    Hi Ozlem
    I made this wonderful dish Izmir kofte I had friends to come visit me ,they do not know about Turkish food I made it rice to go with it and they all loved this food ,I want to say I am so happy I found your website and all your delicious foods recipes .I can not wait to try your cakes and baklavas.I want to say thank you I am learning new recipes from you. Love Lucy

    • Ozlem Warren December 26, 2016 at 5:12 pm #

      Merhaba dear Lucy, many thanks for your kind note; I am so glad your Izmir Kofte was enjoyed by all and you’re enjoying my recipes, no better compliment! Hope you can give the desserts a go too – Revani and baklava amongst my favorites! Best wishes for the New Year, Ozlem x

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