Turkish Lamb Kofta With Cherries & Yogurt Recipe

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These little meatballs are a bit different take on traditional Kofta with the use of cherries and veal stock as a sauce. Fortunately in the Bay Area this year the cherry crop was very good; keeping the price per pound within reason.

As garnish options I offerred chopped cilantro, feta cheese, yogurt sauce and toasted pignoli nuts.

I adapted this dish from one in Diana Henry's book "Plenty." The original used chicken stock which you can substitute for veal stock but the homemade rich brown veal stock adds considerable depth to the sauce. I also used more and different spices than was called for the in the original. The sauce can be left chunky in the form of a compote if you wish. I elected to puree to make it smoother and a bit more elegant. The original recipe fried the lamb in oil. Usually Kofta are fried or grilled. I baked them instead of frying trying to use less fat. These meatballs freeze well after baking so making a big batch with some for later use might make sense.

I served roasted cauliflower with Turkish seasoning, whole wheat pita rounds and a salad with the Kofta.

As for a wine I wanted something very fruit forward. Cline Cellars Sonoma County 2010 Cashmere worked well. It is a blend of Mourvedre, Syrah and Grenache that has flavors of cherries, rasberries and plums.

Prep time:
Cook time:
Servings: 4 Servings
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Ingredients

Cost per serving $2.84 view details
  • Lamb Balls:
  • 1 lb lamb, ground
  • 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon, ground
  • 1 tsp cumin, ground
  • 1 1/2 tsp Turkish seasoning (I used Penzey's)
  • 1/4 tsp cloves, ground
  • 2 cloves garlic, pressed and creamed
  • 1 cup parsley, chopped
  • salt/garlic pepper to taste
  • 1 egg
  • Sauce:
  • 1 Tbs Ghee
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 6 oz cherries, fresh, pitted
  • 2/3 cup cherries, sour, dried and soaked in boiling water for 15 minutes
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon, ground
  • 2 tsp light brown sugar
  • 1 Tbs lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 cup brown veal stock (link is provided below)
  • salt/garlic pepper to taste
  • Yogurt Sauce:
  • 1 cup Greek yogurt
  • 1/3 cup buttermilk
  • The sauce should be just pourable. You may desire more or less buttermilk.
  • Garnish:
  • 1 bunch cilantro, chopped
  • 1/4 cup pignoli nuts, toasted
  • 1/2 cup Feta cheese, crumbled

Directions

  1. Put all the lamb ingredients into a mixing bowl. Mix until the meat is really soft and everything is well blended. I used a KitchenAid mixer. Ideally if you have time refegerate the meat mixture overnight so flavors and spices can meld. Preheat oven to 375^. When ready to bake test a small amount of lamb for seasoning by cooking in a small fry pan. Adjust seasoning if necessary. Using wet hands and a cookie scoop shape lamb into walnut size balls and place on a sprayed broiler pan. One pound of lamb will yield about 20 balls. Bake on the middle oven rack until well browned; firm to the touch and juices run clear. About 25 minutes. Remove and drain on paper towels. Lamb balls can be prepared ahead of time if desired.
  2. Heat ghee over medium heat until melted. Add onions and saute until soft and golden. About 10 minutes. Add the stock; increase heat and reduce the stock to about one cup. About 10 minutes. Add half the fresh cherries and all remaining sauce ingredients. Bring sauce to a simmer for a few minutes. Mash some of the cherries to form a compote of sorts. The sauce can be pureed if desired for a nicer presentation which I did. Add the Kofta and simmer uncovered for about 15 minutes until the sauce has thickened to your liking. Add the remaing fresh cherries toward the end of cooking to heat through.
  3. Serve with yogurt sauce and garnish table side.

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Nutrition Facts

Amount Per Serving %DV
Serving Size 478g
Recipe makes 4 servings
Calories 586  
Calories from Fat 356 61%
Total Fat 39.62g 50%
Saturated Fat 18.51g 74%
Trans Fat 0.0g  
Cholesterol 163mg 54%
Sodium 911mg 38%
Potassium 908mg 26%
Total Carbs 29.08g 8%
Dietary Fiber 4.2g 14%
Sugars 20.02g 13%
Protein 29.13g 47%
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