Miniature Beef and Pistachio Kofte
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Yield: About 24 miniature kofte meatballs
Chill time: 2 hours or overnight.
  • 1 cup shelled, skinned lightly salted pistachio nuts
  • 1 pound ground beef, (you can substitute ground chicken, lamb or turkey, if desired)
  • 1 roasted red bell pepper, peeled, seeded and diced finely
  • 1 medium onion, grated
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon red chile pepper flakes (or cayenne)
  • ¼ cup finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • ¼ cup finely chopped mint
  • 2 tablespoons pure olive oil
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spread the pistachios on a rimmed baking sheet and toast in the oven for about 8 minutes, or until lightly browned; let cool. When cool, grind the pistachios into a rustic butter in a food processor with a few drops of warm water, or use a mortar and pestle.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the beef, pistachio butter, roasted red bell pepper, grated onion, minced garlic clove, cumin, salt, black pepper and crushed red pepper and mix with your hands. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight.
  3. Remove meat from fridge and lightly/gently knead the chopped parsley and mint into the meat. Cook one meatball first to taste and adjust seasonings since my spice and seasoning amounts are approximate. In other words, I threw in a pinch of this..a pinch of that etc.
  4. Roll the meat into scant tablespoon-size balls. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large skillet. Add half of the meatballs and cook over moderate heat until browned all over, about 8 minutes; reduce the heat if the meatballs brown too quickly. Drain on paper towels. Repeat with the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil and kofte meatballs. Alternatively, bake the meatballs at 350 F on greased baking sheet, lightly spraying the tops with oil and turning kofte meatballs over half way through baking, for 25 minutes. I recommend the latter for large amounts.
  5. Skewer cooked kofte meatballs with toothpicks and serve them hot or at room temperature with yogurt dip I mentioned in post, or sauce of your choice.
  6. Kofte can be made and frozen, uncooked, for up to three months. Double recipe for 40 kofte.
Recipe by parsley sage sweet at