Veal Köfte with Chickpea Ragoût
IT’S IMPOSSIBLE TO IMAGINE TURKISH COOKING WITHOUT KÖFTE. One could easily write a cookbook exclusively on the innumerable variations of those wonderful meatballs. Arguably, the only other item equally indispensable to the cuisine is the chickpea. And since there’s nothing that says you can’t cook köfte and chickpea together, we’re doing in this dish the culinary equivalent of killing two birds with one stone.
- 450 g (1 lb) minced veal (or beef, pork or turkey)
- 125 ml (1/2 cup) rice, rinsed and drained
- 50 ml (1 cup) grated onion
- 3 cloves garlic, finely grated
- 2 1/2 tsp cumin seeds, toasted and ground
- 2 tsp sea salt
- 1 tsp coriander seed, toasted and ground
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 125 ml (1⁄2 cup) minced onion
- 2 tsp sea salt
- 500 ml (2 cups) tomato concassée (or top-quality tinned tomato, chopped)
- 1⁄2 sprig rosemary
- 5-cm (2-inch) piece of cinnamon bark
- 1⁄2 tsp red pepper flakes
- 500 ml (2 cups) cooked (or canned, rinsed and drained) chickpeas
- 250 ml (1 cup) veal (or vegetable) stock (or water)
- 125 ml (1⁄2 cup) chopped parsley or coriander leaves (or a mix of both)
Preheat oven to 225°C (450°F). Combine minced meat, rice, onion, garlic, cumin, salt and coriander in a bowl and mix very well. Moisten hands with cold water and roll mixture into small meatballs, about 30 g (2 oz) each. Arrange in single, well-spaced layer on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Transfer to the oven until the köfte begin to brown, about 20 minutes. Set aside.
Heat oil in a large saucepan on medium heat. Add onion, salt lightly and stir well. Sauté until wilted and beginning to colour, about 10 minutes. Add the tomato, rosemary, cinnamon and pepper flakes (to taste). Raise heat to medium-high, add stock; stir and bring to a boil. Taste and correct seasonings. Add meatballs and chickpeas. Stir, bring to a simmer, lower heat and cover. Cook for 20 minutes. Remove from heat. Discard the rosemary and cinnamon. Set aside, covered, for 15 to 20 minutes. Serve topped with chopped herbs.