Sunday, July 22, 2012

Make This!!

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 eggs
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.

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