Kufteh Berenji (rice meatballs)
We spent yesterday in Bellvue at a beautiful memorial service for Omid's aunt who recently passed away. It was so nice to catch up with family & friends who we only get to see once in a while. The food after the service was amazing! Catered by a local Persian restaurant. Very good khoobideh (but not as good as Omid's!). We got home very early this morning & I was inspired to cook something "Persian" for Omid & the kids for dinner. I've made kufteh berenji before & it's one of the easier Persian foods to make.
Don't let the lengthy list of ingredients stop you from making this dish - the outcome is absolutely delicious!!☺
Kufteh Berenji from New Food of Life by Najmieh Batmanglij
1/2 c yellow split peas
1 cup rice, cleaned & washed
2 t salt
2 t advieh* recipe below
1/4 t black pepper
3 large onions (1 peeled & grated and 2 peeled & thinly sliced)
1 lb ground meat (lamb, veal or beef)
2 c chopped fresh parsley
1 c chopped fresh dill (I omitted the dill)
1/2 c chopped summer savory (I also omitted the savory)
1/4 c chopped fresh tarragon
2 c chopped fresh chives
2 cloves garlic, peeled & crushed
1/2 c oil
1 c tomato juice (I used a 28 oz can of stewed tomatoes instead)
2 c water
2 c beef broth
1 c unripe plums (available at Persian store as gojeh sabz) or 1/4 c fresh lime juice
1 t tumeric
1/4 t ground saffron dissolved in 1 T hot water
1. Cook split peas & rice in a saucepan in 4 cups water with 1/2 t salt for 30 minutes over medium heat. Drain, reserving the liquid (set both aside to cool).
2. Break eggs into a mixing bowl; add 1/2 t salt, advieh & pepper and beat well. Add the grated onion, ground meat, chopped herbs, split peas & rice. Knead the mix for about 10 minutes until it reaches the consistency of smooth paste.
3. In a heavy pot, brown the 2 sliced onions & garlic in the oil.
Add tomato juice, water, beef broth, the rice & split pea liquid, unripe plums or lime juice, tumeric, 1 teaspoon salt & saffron water. Bring to a boil.
4. Shape meat paste into balls the size of oranges. Gently place the meatballs into the boiling pot of broth.
Cover partially & simmer for 45 minutes over low heat, basting the meatballs occasionally with the broth to prevent them from drying out.
|You can see the sauce is not thick enough. After the meatballs were cooked, I removed|
them & continued to cook the sauce until it was thickened. This is because I forgot to
save the rice/split pea water! DON'T DUMP IT OUT!
5. Cover & cook for 15 minutes longer.
6. Check to see if pan liquids have thickened, and adjust salt to your taste. Place the meatballs in a bowl & gently pour the pan sauce on top. Serve hot with yogurt & bread.
Advieh spice mix:
2 T cinnamon
1/2 t black pepper
1 t nutmeg
1 t cumin
1/2 t ground coriander
1 t dried Persian lime powder (limoo omani)
1 t ground angelica (gol par)
--If you don't have limoo omani or gol par, you can leave them out. I purchase the ready made advieh from the Persian store, but have made my own in a pinch without the last two ingredients & it tastes fine.