Qofte (Albanian Meatballs): A Surprising Blend of Flavors

3 qofte on a wooden cutting board

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Qofte are meatballs made with either lamb, chicken, or beef meat. Many people fry their qofte, but I chose to bake mine in the oven. These are simple and quick to prep, and once the meatballs are prepped, they only take about 30 minutes in the oven. Make them with the fergese for a simple and delicious meal!

So I have to be honest. With the small exception of mint chocolate chip ice cream, I’m not really a big fan of consuming mint. In my opinion, mint is better suited to improve your breath than to improve the taste of your meal. HOWEVER, I added a very subtle amount of dried, flaked mint into this recipe, and I was pleasantly surprised! The flavor was juuuustttt enoughto change up the flavor of a normal meatball, but not strong enough to be overpowering.

Mint with WHAT??

Raw beef qofte

I paired the mint with some paprika, and really, I think it’s this flavor combination that sends these meatballs over the edge. I wouldn’t normally think of pairing mint and paprika together, but they really do complement each other well. When I think of paprika, I think of warmth and roundedness, but when I think of mint, words like “piercing” and “cool” jump to mind. Putting both spices in the same dish really balanced out the flavors and left us with a pretty desirable taste.

Frying vs Baking

Last week during Afghanistan, there was a lot of fried food. Don’t get me wrong, I love fried food just as much as the next girl. But in the spirit of health, I decided to change this recipe up a bit from it’s norm. Instead of soaking the meatballs in vegetable oil, I baked them in the oven, and they still turned out really delicious! But hey, if you want to fry these guys up, no judgement from me. In fact, let me know in the comments below how they taste!

Qofte (Albanian Meatballs with Feta Cheese)

Qofte are meatballs from Albania usually made with beef, chicken, or lamb. Usually they are fried, but I chose to bake my batch in the oven. This recipe features a unique blend of mint and paprika. 

Course Main Course
Servings 12 meatballs

Ingredients

  • 1 lb ground beef (or lamb, or chicken)
  • 1 3/4 tbsp bread crumbs
  • 2 tbsp chopped feta cheese
  • 1/2 white onion grated
  • salt
  • 1/2 tbsp crushed, dried mint leaves
  • 1/2 tbsp ground paprika

If frying

  • 1/2 cup flour
  • oil for deep frying

Yogurt Dipping Sauce (Optional)

  • 1 cup plain yogurt
  • 1/2-3/4 tbsp chopped garlic, depending on preference

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

  2. Combine all ingredients together in a bowl.

  3. Form into 12 meatballs in an oval shape. 

  4. Place on a baking sheet, and bake for 20 minutes in the oven. 

  5. Serve with yogurt sauce if desired. 

If frying:

  1. Roll meatballs in flour to coat. Fry in oil heated to 350 degrees. Drain on paper towel. 

Recipe Notes

Recipe Copyright Alexandria Drzazgowski, The Foreign Fork. For personal or educational use only.

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