We Turks love our koftes, Turkish homemade meatballs. A childhood favorite, they get ready in almost no time and the delicious aroma greets you as soon as you are in the kitchen.
I recently made these baked mini koftes, meatballs for a friend, who follows a gluten free diet. They were delicious and moist in pepper and tomato sauce, also healthy, as being baked. You can serve them as a mezze, starter or bigger portions can make a lovely main course over some rice, pasta and steamed vegetables aside. Cacik dip of cucumber and yoghurt would complement these mini koftes very well too.
We recently had these lovely mini meatballs over pasta. As a variation, I combined 150gr spinach leaves to the tomato and pepper sauce at the last 3 minutes of cooking the sauce. We served the finished Baked meatballs with vegetables over pasta, it was delicious.
This lovely meatballs in peppery sauce recipe and many others are included at my Turkish cookery book, Ozlem’s Turkish Table, Recipes from My Homeland, Signed hardback copies at this link, delivered worldwide.
- 225gr/ 8oz ground beef
- 225gr/8oz ground lamb
- 1 medium onion, grated
- 2 eggs
- 1 bunch of flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
- 1 red bell pepper, diced
- 3 garlic cloves, chopped
- 400 gr/14 oz. can of chopped tomatoes
- 30 ml/ 2 tbsp. olive oil
- 8 fl oz./1 cup water
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- Small bowl of water with a drizzle of olive oil aside to shape the koftes
- Preheat oven to 180 C/ 350 F
- In a large bowl, combine the grated onions, eggs and parsley and knead well. That will help soften the onions and blend the ingredients homogeneously.
- Stir in the ground meat, season with salt (about 1 – 2 tsp.) and ground black pepper to your taste. Knead for a good 3-5 minutes with your hands, until the mixture becomes elastic and mixed well.
- Cover this ground meat mixture with a cling film and rest in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.
- In the meantime, heat the olive oil in a heavy pan and stir in the garlic and bell peppers. Sauté for 5 minutes, while stirring often.
- Pour in the chopped tomatoes and 8 fl oz./ 1 cup of water. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Stir, cover and simmer on medium to low heat for 10 minutes. Then turn the heat off.
- Take out the ground meat mixture from the fridge to shape meatballs. Have a small bowl of water with a drizzle of olive oil near you.
- Wet your hands and take a small walnut size of the meat mixture and roll into a ball. Place the meatballs in a baking tray ready cook side by side and continue until all the meat mixture is shaped into mini koftes, meatballs.
- Bake the mini koftes in the pre heated oven (180 C / 350 F) for 25 minutes, they will start to get a nice golden brown coating.
- Transfer the baked mini koftes in a large baking dish and pour in the pepper and tomato sauce around them, giving a gentle mix.
- Bake the mini koftes in tomato and pepper sauce for a further 15 minutes. The sauce will thicken, the flavors blend in and meatballs will have a wonderful coating.
- Serve hot with plain rice and Cacik dip of cucumber, yoghurt and mint if you like.