This dish, Firinda Köfte – baked köfte is so nostalgic for me … And I’ve actually been quite anxious to try and make it. But I must say that the result was really good, surprisingly good even though with a small but. …
I have only had Firinda köfte two times. The first time I tasted it was when I was having dinner at my future in-laws for the first time. My boyfriends parents AND a whole different culture, that I honestly did not know that much about. Do I need to say, that I was quite nervous ?? But there was my sweet mother in law, cooking and sweating and equally nervous for the meeting and if I liked her cooking. But there was not a finger to put on anything. She has since made baked köfte to me once or twice and it tasted just as good as the first time.
My mother in law is one of that kind, who makes things bt hand – a bit of this and a bit og that and she has created the most wonderful meal. So it’s a challenge to lure a recipe from her hand, that is workable. I’m always measuring and weighing and make the food several times, until it tastes right, so I can actually write a proper recipe.
This here on Firinda köfte, I had to work a bit on. For although it seems like a recipe for Turkish meatballs, it’s quite different than my original recipe for köfte. This one is more spicy and maybe a little more juicy as it only briefly are pan fried and otherwise in the oven.
Although it’s called baked köfte, I’ve just fried it all a bit on the forehead, before I put vegetables and meat balls into a dish with tomato sauce to bake it in the oven. It closes the surfaces, so the meatballs and vegetable isn’t “bleed out” (read: becomes too soft and smeared), eggplants gets soften and the meatballs tastes a bit better with a frying crust. Eggplants can be very tricky. If they aren’t allowed to suck some oil for themselves, they are often rubber-like and impossible to eat. And that would be a pity. For it is a really, really delicious dish, that is delicious “smushi” with tomato sauce and still have some bite and texture of the vegetables and slightly sweet, spicy and caramelized from the meatballs. I unfortunately gave it a little too little, when I made it. Only about 50 minutes and that wasn’t enough. The vegetables should have had a little more. So give them about 1 hour and 15 minutes in the oven, then it’s there.
I have always imagined, that baked köfte is a dish from the mountains around Antalya. That is probably hardly true, but I think, it’s a real peasant dish. Lots of vegetables such as potatoes, eggplant, peppers and tomatoes and only a little meat (meat is expensive in Turkey). Granted – there are probably a bit more meat in this recipe here, than what you would find if it was served in the country. But even though I thought, I had made enough meatballs, there were just barely enough – just as with ordinary Turkish köfte. You think you are at the forefront, but no – everything is usually cleared and eaten up. But ok, then it must taste good.
I served baked köfte with a little green salad to freshen up a bit (like with pomegranate seeds, cucumbers or similar, ensuring a little freshness). A bread belongs also to almost any Turkish food. Pide ekmek or Simit are both really good – especially to suck up the delicious tomato juice from the plate. And trust me – that is what you want !
- 500 gram minced beef or lamb
- 1 medium onion
- 2 slices bread, soaked i milk
- 1 egg
- ½ bunch italian parsley, finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- ½ teaspoon Pul biber / chili flakes
- ½ teaspoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon salt and pepper
- 1 big eggplant
- 6-7 medium potatoes
- 2 red peppers
- 2 green oblong peppers
- 3 medium tomatoes
- olive oil
- 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 400 gram tomatoes, (or 1 can)
- 1 tablespoon pepper paste
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1½ cup water
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- 1 teaspoon pul biber / chili flakes
1: place the bread slices in milk and let them suck the liquid.
2: chop the onion and parsley.
3: gently squeeze excess milk from the bread slices and crumble it into crumbs
4: Mix the bread, spices, meat, onion and parsley together and form flat balls about the size of the potatoes and eggplant-slices.
5: keep the meatballs in the fridge until required for use.
Vegetables: 6: Cut potatoes into approximately 1-1½ cm thick round slices 7: Peel the eggplant, so that it has stripes (it takes some of the bitterness). Cut lengthwise into large, long slices. and then cut the slices into 3 pieces. All vegetable pieces should be about the same length and thickness. 8: Cut the top of the peppers, take out the seeds, and cut the pepper into 3-4 pieces.
9: chop the garlic finely.
10: Mix everything together, so it's ready to use.
11: Roast the vegetables in the pan in a little olive oil. They should just roast slightly and barely take color. Put dem in an ovenproof dish afterwards.
12: roast the köfte, so they get a little crust and place them on top of the vegetables.
13: pour the tomato sauce over. It shouldnt just barely be half full. Add more if necessary.
14: Cut slices of the fresh tomatoes and put dem on top of the meatballs. This prevent them from drying out.
15: Place the dish in the warm oven on 180 degrees (not hot air) for about 1 hour and 15 minutes. Plug in the vegetables and see if they are tender. If so, it's ready.
16: Let it cool for a little while and serve with a fresh green salad and some bread.