Koftah, keftah, koofteh, kefta, kofte - various names for the same thing, based on the Persian word kuftan, which means 'to grind'
I made meatballs. First off, the meat:
Beef chuck in the foreground, lamb shoulder to the rear. Next, the adjuncts:
Most recipes for these meatballs call for rice, lentils or chickpeas as a filler. I found one that used bulgur wheat, decided to give that a try. Of course, in whatever region these are made, they tend to be well seasoned. Here's the players for that task:
Thought I had some fresh dill, had to use dried. Did have some fresh mint. My version of advieh for this dish included cinnamon, cloves, allspice, black pepper, coriander and cumin. And my favorite part of making such spice blends - toasting:
Such wonderful aromas!
Cubed the meat, stashed in the freezer for a while, then hit the grinder:
Got everyone into the bowl, along with a splash of olive oil:
Got my hands nice and gooey mixing it up. Stashed in the fridge. And while the meat mixture was chillin' and getting acquainted with each other, time to start the pita dough:
You have seen flour and salt before, I would assume. I'm not a baker, don't have much experience with making dough. But after mixing and kneading and letting it rise and punching it down I did come up with some, uh, fine looking balls of dough:
While these were resting, put some meatballs into the oven. I was hoping to do the meatballs and the pitas over charcoal, but the weather was just not behaving. Of course, once I got things into the oven, the wind and rain stopped. Sheesh.
When I pulled these out of the oven, I thought that perhaps I should have picked the leanest lamb, not the fattiest for this dish. Meatballs, not sausage. But it wasn't an issue. Next up, bake the pitas:
Not the best color, I messed up the dough a bit and had to use extra flour when rolling them out. Luckily this is a bad picture and you can't see how much raw flour there is on the surface.
While waiting for the pitas to bake time to work on the sauce:
Shallot, green onions which are a bit past their prime and yogurt. Pretty simple. Sweat the onions and shallot in a bit of olive oil, add the yogurt with a dash of salt and pepper, let it heat up. Sauce is ready:
Time to assemble and eat:
Wow. These were good! There's a lot of spice and flavor in the meatballs, but it wasn't hot and spicy. Karen loved it - she said "Wow, these meatballs are so fluffy!" Maybe I picked the right lamb after all. The meatballs were not dense, dry and heavy, the sauce had just the right bit of tang. I need to practice pitas, though. They were not bad, I just know they could have been better.
Of course, there is a drawback to making everything from scratch:
This is the messiest the kitchen has been in quite some time.
But it was worth it.