Today was a gray and rainy day in Oklahoma City… weather wise. Kitchen wise and my full belly, it was a bright and sunshiny day thanks to a comforting plate of Koofteh, or flavorful and filling Persian meatballs. I hope you enjoy my version of a great home-cooked Persian meal.
For The Meatball:
1 1/2 pounds lean ground beef (I use turkey as well)
1 small yellow onion, grated
1/4 cup canned garbanzo beans, rinsed and chopped
1/4 day long grain basmati rice, rinsed well
2 teaspoons turmeric
1 teaspoon dry mint
1 teaspoon Summer Savory
2 teaspoons In The Kitchen With Scotty “Cook’s Line” Seasoning or Salt and Black Pepper
1 large egg, beaten
10 Dried Apricot, pitted
10 Dried Plums (Prunes) pitted
For the Sauce:
1 large onion, diced
Grapeseed Oil for sautéing
1 quart (4 cups) beef or chicken broth
5 tablespoons tomato paste
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon crushed saffron
2 teaspoon mint
2 teaspoon Summer Savory
1 medium size eggplant, large chunks or wedges
1 large or 2 small Russet Potatoes, peeled and cut into wedges
“Cook’s Line” Seasoning to taste or Salt and Black Pepper
- For The Meatballs: Start off by hard cooking your eggs. Cool and peel then set aside. Rinse and chop your garbanzo beans. Cook your rinsed basmati rice in salted water… cook to al dente (like pasta) stage. Set all aside to mix in to your meatball.
- Place the Cilantro, Parsley, and Green Onions in a food processor, and give it a few zips until they are finely minced. You’ll end up with around a half cup. Set aside.
- In a mixing bowl, and get your hands ready because you’re going to use them to mix everything together, add the ground meat. Break it up a bit to make mixing easier. To this add 1/2 cup of the cooked Basmati rice, garbanzo beans, the minced herbs from the food processor, turmeric, mint, Savory, beaten egg, and Cook’s Line Seasoning. Throw those clean hands of yours in the mix and start hand mixinguntil it is all well combined.
- Next, start making the meatballs. I like mine about slightly smaller than a baseball.. a decent hand size. Ball the meat up tightly and smoothly, and you will get around 5 to 6 good sized meatballs. Now to this press one prune on one side, and one apricot on the other side. Push through to the center of the meat ball. You’re enclosing one of each inside the meatball. Round off and smooth over again then set the meatballs aside.
- For The Sauce: In a large dutch oven pan or a well seasoned high sided skillet, begin heating grapeseed oil for sautéing. Add the chopped onion and “sweat” (cook lightly until transparent). Add the turmeric, saffron, and tomato paste. Stir and lightly fry.
- Add the beef or chicken stock mixing everything together and deglazing the pan. Add the dry mint and Summer Savory. Gently lay in the meatballs spacing evenly. Nestle in the eggplant, remaining prunes and apricots, and potatoes in between the meatballs. Place a heavy lid on top of the pan and gently braise on the stove approximately 30-40 minutes. Add water if needed to keep a nice sauce and season to taste with Cook’s Line Seasoning or salt and pepper.
- For each serving, Serve with the a bit of sauce first then the Koofteh meatballs. Followed up with a portion of eggplant and potatoes. Top the plate off with more sauce being sure to include the stewed prunes andapricot. Add a halved hard cooked egg for each serving, and sprinkle chopped parsley on top for added color. Dig in and as we say in farsi “Nooshe Joon!”.