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Kufta: Armenian Stuffed Meatballs
Ingredients (serves 5-6)
1½ lbs. ground leg of lamb, ground twice (can use London broil beef cut)
2 cups fine bulghour (cracked wheat)
1 egg sized onion, minced
1 tbsp. crushed, dry parsley flakes
¼ tsp. black pepper
¼ tsp. red pepper
1 tbsp. salt
1 lb. ground lamb (again, can use beef)
2 cups onions, finely chopped
½ cup fresh parsley, minced
1 tsp. basil
1 tsp. salt
1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
1 tsp. paprika
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
pinch of black pepper
pinch of red pepper
Sauté meat for filling in frying pan until all moisture is evaporated. As meat starts to brown, add onions and cook until softened. Add parsley, basil, paprika, cinnamon, pine nuts, salt and pepper. Stir and remove from heat and let cool at least one hour.
For the outside layer, mix onion, parsley, peppers and salt together and crush together with fingers. Add mixture to uncooked ground meat and cracked wheat and mix thoroughly. Add water a little at a time (approx. 1 cup will be used) and knead mixture about 5 or 10 minutes until it becomes soft and sticks together well. Make balls the size of a medium egg (about 25).
Working with one ball at a time, make an indentation in center of each with index finger and keep pressing round and round to make a round opening with a thin wall. Place a heaping teaspoon of filling inside each opening and gently close opening, sealing well, smoothing surface and moistening fingers with water as you work.
After all kuftas are completed, boil 2 quarts water or broth with 1 tsp. salt in a large saucepan. Drop kuftas into boiling liquid 10 at a time. When liquid starts to boil again, cook for 10 minutes. The kuftas will rise to the top when they are done. If needed, add more liquid for second batch.
As an alternate method, kuftas can be lightly fried in cooking oil until lightly browned.
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