Içli köfte

Içli köfte

By
From
Turquoise
Serves
4
Photographer
Lisa Cohen and William Meppem

These are the most sophisticated of the huge range of köfte, combining a crunchy external ‘shell’ made of minced lamb and bulgur wheat and a tasty stuffing of spiced lamb and pine nuts. They will be familiar to anyone who loves Lebanese food as the torpedo-shaped dumplings known as kibbeh. Serve as part of a mezze selection, with plenty of yoghurt alongside.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
250g fine bulgur
1 onion, very finely diced
3/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon sweet paprika
1/4 teaspoon hot paprika
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
sea salt
600g lean lamb, minced twice, (from the leg or shoulder)
1 ice cube
250ml vegetable oil

Pine nut and lamb stuffing

Quantity Ingredient
80ml olive oil
1 small onion, finely diced
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
80g pine nuts
200g lean lamb, minced, (from the leg or shoulder)
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons flat-leaf parsley leaves, chopped

Method

  1. Put the bulgur into a small bowl and pour on just enough cold water to cover it. Leave for 5 minutes, then tip into a sieve and squeeze out as much water as you can using your hands. Tip the bulgur into a large bowl with the onion and spices, then season with salt and knead to a paste. Leave for about 5 minutes to allow the bulgur to soften and absorb some of the flavourings.
  2. Add the lamb to the bowl with the ice cube and knead it thoroughly into the bulgur mixture. As the ice melts it will bind everything into a smooth, sticky paste. Refrigerate the mixture for 30 minutes to make the paste easier to work with.
  3. Meanwhile, make the stuffing. Heat half the oil in a heavy-based frying pan. Sauté the onion and allspice over a low heat for 5 minutes until the onion has softened. Add the pine nuts and increase the heat. Sauté, stirring continuously, until the pine nuts are golden brown. Tip into a bowl and set aside.
  4. Wipe out the pan, then add the remaining oil and heat over a medium–high heat. Add the lamb, then increase the heat and sauté for around 5 minutes, breaking up any lumps with a wooden spoon. When any liquid has evaporated, add the onion and pine nut mixture, then season with salt and pepper and stir through the parsley. Tip into a bowl and leave to cool.
  5. To make the içli köfte, take a small lump of the chilled bulgur and lamb paste in the palm of your left hand and roll it into a smooth ball. Use the forefinger of your right hand to make an indentation in the lump and start to shape it into a hollow shell (reverse hands if you’re left-handed). Try to make the walls of the shell as thin and even as you can. Fill the shell with about a teaspoon of the stuffing. Wet the edges of the opening with cold water and pinch shut. Use your fingers to shape the ends gently into the traditional torpedo shape. Arrange the stuffed köfte on a tray, then cover and refrigerate.
  6. When ready to cook the içli köfte, heat the oil in a large, heavy-based frying pan or even a wok. Fry the köfte, a few at a time, turning them around in the oil until a deep golden brown all over. Drain on kitchen paper and serve hot.
Tags:
Turquoise
Malouf
Greg
Lucy
Turkish
Turkey
Mediterranean
European
Middle Eastern
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