Are you tired of the same old burger, slapped with a slice of American cheese, some ketchup and a big old bun? Instead, imagine sinking your teeth into a plump, juicy and spicy meatball with a surprise filling of melted cheese.
You've discovered one of Turkish cuisine's favorite family recipes. It's "kasarli kofte" (kah-SHAR'-luh kuf-TAY'), or simply Turkish cheesy meatballs.
Whether you grill, broil or fry them, these meatballs are rich, delicious and satisfying. I'll choose them over a cheeseburger anytime.
Here are the reasons. First, the meat is a mixture of ground beef and lamb that's not just salt-and-peppered.
It has onions, garlic, cumin, hot pepper flakes, oregano and parsley kneaded into the mixture. This makes the meatballs very tasty.
And, it's no ordinary cheese you'll find melted in the center. It's Turkish kasar (kah-SHAR') cheese, a smooth, mildly salty yellow cheese that's so delicious it's eaten for breakfast and continues being consumed all throughout the day.
You can find Turkish kasar cheese in some Middle Eastern markets and also buy it online. If you can't find kasar cheese, you can substitute any firm, mild cheese.
This recipe makes a great alternative to any ground beef dish. I like to serve it during the week as it's easy to make. It also works great for barbeques.
All you need is a side of french fries, Turkish rice pilaf, bulgur pilaf or mashed potatoes and a salad and you have a meal the whole family will enjoy.
Photo © Elizabeth Taviloglu, 2013