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Minced and meaty: Going köfte all the way.

I was musing afore on the topic of replacing sausages with home made minced product.

Since then I've been experimenting keenly  with   köfte.

Köfte is the Turkish version of kofta -- the universal  meatball or meatloaf.

The  number and range  of traditional and regional köfte blends  is amazing.

See sample list here.

I have been surprized by how easy it is to pull these little morsels together  by  following a few simple rules.
  • I pound the spices and garlic and spring onions and herbs together in a mortar and pestle.
  • I then add the ground meat and pound that with the spice mix.
  • I make sure I blend the mix with my hands so that everything touches together evenly.
  • I let the mix 'rest' so that the flavours diffuse.
  • I form the köftes into shape, using my hands and a little water. This is like throwing pottery because you need to build structure into the meat mix. I prefer a cigar shape. 
  • I cook: either fry, grill or bake. 
Manipulating the mix around a hard boiled egg to make a "Scotch egg" köfte  is  a lot of fun. Experimenting with blends is a rewarding hobby. For now I'm not adding 'fill' in the form of bread crumbs, flour and the like but I do like köfte with bulgur/cracked wheat.

I don't eat wheat on a daily basis as I try to keep my carbohydrate intake down. Occasionally, I may partake  but my usual approach is to replace grains with sweet potato, cauliflower or nuts.

Bulgur, however, has such a high fibre content among its carb quotient  that using a little of it makes it kosher. So I may keep it on hand for ocasional use.

For now, I'm exploring how much stuff I can add to minced meat and still mould the köftes into substantial shapes without adding fill.

But with İçli Köfte (Stuffed Bulgur with Meat)    you create a bulgur shell and fill it with a meat mix. As a long time Middle eastern cook I can say that, "yes, I've made these. And they are delicious ."      

 And köftes with or without bulgur added are great  cold. So there -- you cover  the whole preserved meat option without adding nitrates to the mix.

Then, as a option,  are köfte based tagines. Easy dish. You can also cook an egg among the bubbling meatballs in their self flavoring tomato sauce.

In fact nothing says "Moorish" better than köfte.

Sausages compared to köftes.
  • You should be able to make köfte more cheaply than buying high end sausages.
  • With köfte -- because you make em -- you know what's in them.
  • You can customize your flavours with köfte. You can play with your shapes and additives.
  • Generally, a sausage requires more fat in its mix than köftes' do.
  • You can add many different types of vegetables and nuts to  köfte besides the spices.
  • You can bake köfte and the shapes won't burst.
  • It is much easier to clean up after making köfte than the mess you get with snag production.
  • However, you need to use fine mince with köfte as chunky mince won't hold together as it does encased in a sausage skin.
  • Köftes taste much better cold than do previously cooked sausages. Either snags shrivel up when cold or wallow in their fat content.
  • Köftes can be prepared 'fresh' very quickly.
  • Köfte exposes  the ubiquitous take away hamburger  for the culinary sham that it is. (Sausages would be better than hamburgers as a 'to-go' option.) 



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