Kasarli Kofte – Beef/Lamb Patties with Kashar Cheese

Eid is almost here. In Istanbul, people are running around in a crazy pace to complete their preparations for the upcoming festive days. Shopping, cleaning, cooking, last minute travel arrangements.

Today, I woke up around 7 (very unusual for me on a Sunday morning) to pick up the cleaning lady. I helped her and together we made our flat squeaky clean. Usually, as soon as the cleaning is over I declare martial law at our place, no walking around with wet hands, no water drops on the bathroom mirror, no nothing nowhere! Poor hubs has to abide by my rules at those times, as acting any differently will result in nasty repercussions.

Anyways, I was as happy as a clam at high tide when we finished cleaning, until my husband almost puked on the carpet. I have to admit I was sorry that he was sick, sorrier that the happy-clean feeling was over. Apparently he had food poisoning, as anything could poison him, even chips, pickles and things like that. We had to rush to the hospital, spent the evening there. Thank God he is alright now, sleeping peacefully. I tease him by saying, “see your tummy is now so used to having high-quality meals served by me and it won’t accept anything lesser”.

So today was quite “fun”, I’d love to top that up with a recipe on how to make Turkish style meatballs with kashar cheese. Oh by the way, the pickled gherkins in the photo above are homemade, yes, I pickled ’em. Those are a bunch of crunchy gherkins with a sweet and sour aroma, just the right kind, for me of course.

Ingredients (serves 3-4):

500 g of minced meat, preferably lamb and beef mixed and with less than 15 percent fat

2 heaped tablespoons of semolina (wet with 1/2 cup of water ahead of time)

1 tablespoon of dried onion flakes

1/2 teaspoon of salt (reduce if your cheese is salted)

1/2 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper

1/2 teaspoon of allspice

100 g of grated kashar cheese (provolone, caciocavallo…etc would be OK too)

Mix everything into a doughy texture. Wet more semolina if need be. Semolina, some use breadcrumbs as well, is necessary to thicken  the texture and keep the meatballs intact. Make palm-size flat rectangles or squares. They should be 1.5-2 cm thick. Heat a non-stick pan or grill. Sear the meatballs on high heat for one or two minutes. Then, lower the heat and cook for another 3-4 minutes, turn them over and cook the other sides as well. Try not to overcook or they will shrink and dry out. Watch the cheese melting and feel free to drool over your wonderful meat patties. Serves well with rice, mashed potatoes, plain pasta, whipped yogurt, fresh salad, pickles…etc. Bon Appetit!

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