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.
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.
My cookery book Ozlem’s Turkish Table, Recipes from My Homeland, covers over 90 authentic Turkish recipes, including delicious casseroles like this and many more, with my personal stories and stunning photos. Signed copies can be ordered here at this link if interested, it is delivered worldwide: