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Albanian Meat Balls:
Qofte të fërguara

What's the big idea?

Meat balls seem to be popular in Albania, judging by the number of different recipes there are online and in books for Albanian meat balls. Many are served with a wide variety of different sauces (lemon is a popular one); we'll start with the basic meat ball recipe, and then maybe add some of the sauces at a later date.

As a linguist I noticed the Albanian word for meat balls is Qofte; not too disimilar to Kofte, which is the Turkish word. Of course Albanian cooking has been influenced by Turkish cuisine over the years, and it's interesting to compare this recipe to the Turkish Kofte one.

Serve with mashed potatoes and either a green salad or green vegetables of your choice.

Shopping List

Here's the list of what you need:

  • 1 slice stale bread
  • 1lb minced (ground) meat - lamb would be traditional
  • 2 tablespoons bread crumbs
  • 2 tablespoons oil or melted butter
  • 1 small onion, grated
  • 2 tablespoons chopped Feta cheese
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
  • Plenty of salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ - 1 teaspoon dried mint
  • ½ - 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • Plain flour
  • Oil for frying (olive oil recommended)

What To Do

  • Soak the bread in water, and then squeeze the water out
  • In a large bowl, mix the soaked bread, meat, bread crumbs, oil or melted butter, onion, cheese, parsley, salt, pepper, and mint
  • Mix thoroughly, and form into 1-inch balls.
  • Mix the oregano with some flour on a plate, and roll the meat balls in this to coat
  • Heat the oil in a frying pan and fry the meat balls until cooked through - it may be easier to do this in batches

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