Kufteh Tabrizi-ye Ghadim (Egg Stuffed Tabrizi Meatball)
I couldn’t tell you the number of times I heard my dad proudly talk about good ol’ days (ghadim nadima) of Azerbaijan, when kadbanoos (good housekeepers) made huge meatballs stuffed with an egg or even a chicken.
A whole chicken? …no thank you. Not in this lifetime.
An egg? I may be up to the challenge. Besides, I got nothing better to do on a gloomy Sunday afternoon.
I rolled up my sleeves, went in the kitchen and came out 2 hours later. Cooking good food takes time, but well worth the effort.
I was so proud of myself, but didn’t have anyone to show off to. Believe me I tried.
This recipe makes for one ginormous, yet fragile meatball. If planning to use left-over rice, keep in mind uncooked rice expands anywhere between 2 to 2.5 times it’s volume, depending on the amount of water used. The same applies to raw legumes.
Ingredients (1 meatball, serves 3-4):
- 1 lb ground meat (lamb or beef ), lower fat works best
- 3/4 cup yellow split peas, (preferably soaked in water for at least an hour)
- 3/4 cup white rice, (preferably soaked in cold water and a bit of salt for at least an hour)
- 3 eggs
- 2 med. onions
- 6 prunes
- 6 walnuts
- 1/4 cup dried barberries (zereshk), soaked in water for 5-10 min
- 3 Tbs dried summer savory
- 1 Tbs advieh (found in Middle Eastern stores OR make your own)
- 1 tsp turmeric
- salt & ground pepper
- 1/2 tsp each cinnamon, nutmeg, ground anise, cardamom, crushed edible rose petals
- 1/4 cumin
Time~ Prep: 1.5 hrs Cook 1 hr
To save time, you can cook peas and rice simultaneously, but not in the same pot. Complete other prep work while waiting.
- Cook yellow split peas in hot water ’till tender (15-20 min). Drain.
- Cook rice (~15-20 min).
- Hard boil 1 egg (5-6 min).
- Grate one onion or process finely in a food processor. Small dice the other.
- Saute the diced onion in a pan with enough oil/butter ’till translucent (~5 min). Stir in the turmeric ’till fragrant (~1 min). Set aside.
- In a small pan toast the walnuts for a couple of minutes. In the same pan or another add barberries and toast for a minute or two ’till they puff up.
- Process the cooked the split peas in a food processor or with an immersion blender to form a dough-like consistency.
- Repeat for the cooked rice. If you’re having trouble with the rice or split peas, add more water and cook longer to achieve a smooth texture when grinding.
- In a large bowl combine the processed split peas, rice, advieh, salt (~ 1 tbs) and pepper to taste, summer savory, 2 eggs and grated onion. Use a mixer or an immersion blender to mix.
- Add the meat and knead well with your hands to form a dough. Don’t over mix.
- Gather the rest of the ingredients: barberries (drained), hard boiled egg (shelled), prunes (pitted), toasted walnuts, 1/2 of the sauteed onions.
- Line a large bowl with cheese cloth. Gently add the most of the mixture leaving behind about one handful.
- With your hand, press the dough against the bowl, making sure it is evenly distributed.
- Place the egg in the middle and arrange the prunes and walnuts around it. Add barberries and the sauteed onions.
- Place remaining dough on top and gently press down to seal the edges, making sure to go all the way around.
- Tie the opposite corners of the cheese cloth to close in the meatball.
- Gently pick and shape into a ball as best as you can.
- In a med-large pot, pour 4 cups of hot water and the other 1/2 of the sauteed onions. Season with salt and pepper.
- Gently place the meatball. At least 3/4 of it should be covered with water. If not, add more hot water.
- Bring to boil, lower and allow to simmer covered on low heat for at least 1 hr to 1.5 hrs.
- Half way through gently flip over the meatball. Leave lid off, if too much liquid.
- Once ready take the meatball out and place it in a large bowl or a deep serving dish. Best way to remove the cloth is to cut with kitchen scissors.
- Ladle the juice as sauce over the meatball and serve. Slice through the middle.