Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Hasanpasa Meatballs

I love this meatball recipe. It is an authentic Turkish recipe where meat and potatoes are used to make a complete meal that looks and tastes yummy!

It does take some time to prepare, but it isn't difficult and it's well worth it.

In Turkey we use a cheese called Kashkaval which is the tastiest cheeses around and you can find it in Middle Eastern markets. I use the Greek version which is a little bit sharper, although not as sharp as you would find it in Turkey. If you don't have it, you can use Parmesan, or even Mozzarella depending on how strong you want the cheese taste to be. Parmesan would be quite sharp which is what I like, but Mozzarella would melt wonderfully. Try and see which one you like best.




For Meatballs:
1 1/2 lb ground beef
1 onion, chopped
2 eggs
2 slices of stale bread, discard outer ring OR 1/2 cup fine fresh bread crumbs
1 teaspoon cumin
Salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoons of olive oil

For mashed potatoes:
5-6 potatoes
2 tablespoons butter
1 egg
1/2 cup milk
2 tablespoons of Kashkaval, or Parmesan cheese

1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 cup water

For Meatballs:
In a large bowl add meat, onion, eggs and breadcrumbs and remaining salt/pepper and blend with your hands until just combined well (do not overmix). Form mixture into walnut-size balls and push the center with thumb to make a depression. You will be adding mashed potatoes to the depressed hollow space. Arrange on large baking sheets.

Sprinkle with 2 tablespoons of olive oil and cook in 400 degree oven for about 15-20 minutes. Do not overcook as it will dry the meatballs.

For mashed potatoes:
Peel potatoes and cut into 2-inch pieces. Cover potatoes with salted cold water by 1 inch in a 5-quart pot, then simmer, uncovered, until tender, about 18 minutes.

Drain potatoes well in a colander, then return to pot along with egg, butter, salt, and pepper and mash with a potato masher until combined well.

Add milk slowly and blend well forming the mashed potatoes. Add desired cheese.

After the meatballs and the mashed potatoes are ready prepare tomato sauce by blending the tomato paste in the cup of water.

Add mashed potatoes to the hollows of the meatballs. Pour prepared tomato paste mixture over the tomatoes lightly and return to oven. Bake until golden, about 15-20 minutes.

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