Margarita's International Recipes



Stuffed Meatballs

I've cooked this recipe for stuffed kofta (a.k.a. in its Syrian version as stuffed kibbe) for many years. Mike absolutely loves it. I think it's OK, but it's not my favorite.

The recipe consists of two parts, the filling, which is quite easy to do, and the shell, which is a pain. Actually, making it is not a big deal if you have a food processor - but if you don't, you have to mix it by hand, which can take hours (I would not recommend using a hand mixer or a blender, as I burned two of these mixing the meat in the past).

In the past, I've made this recipe using ground bulgur. Unfortunately, I couldn't find any this time so I used tabouleh salad pre-mix (which includes bulgur as well as seasonings).

I'd recommend serving this dish, as most other koftas, with a mint-yogurt or cucumber-yogurt dip.

Stuffed Meatballs


For the filling

  • 1 lb. ground beef or lamb
  • 2 large yellow onions, chopped
  • 1/2 cup green bell pepper, chopped
  • 3 tbsp. parsley, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp. mint leaves, chopped
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted and chopped
  • 1 tsp. paprika
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. dried basil

    For the shell

  • 1 1/2 lbs. ground lamb
  • 3/4 cup fine bulgur
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 tbsp. parsley, chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste

    For cooking

  • 2 qts. chicken stock


    Prepare the filling by browning the ground meat until browned. Add the onions and cook together for 1/2 hour. Add green peppers and parsley and cook for an additional 10 minutes. Add the remaining ingredients and stir. Cool.

    Prepare the shell (keyma) by mixing all the ingredients together. Put the mixture into a food processor and blend until light and fluffy; depending on the size of your food processor you may have to do this on several batches.

    Take a little bit of the mixture and flatten in your hand. Fill the center with the filling mixture and cover up with the shell until you have a ball. Repeat until all the meatballs are made.

    Heat the chicken stock until boiling. Place the kofta in the stock and cook until they rise to the top, about 10 minutes. Serve.

    Adapted from: The Frugal Gourmet On Our Immigrant Ancestors .

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