KÖFTES DE PRASA (Leek Meatballs)

photo taken by Allie Coremin, January 10, 2011, CC licensing

Leeks, like eggplants, are a staple of Turkish cooking. In soups and souffles, they have a character that marries well to just about anything. This dish, however, seems to be unknown in the west, and marries together leeks and ground beef, making for a terrific appetizer, or even a main course.


- 2 kg leeks

- 300 gr ground beef

- 2 slices of stale white bread

- 2 eggs

- salt


Peel the hardened layer off the leeks and cut them in small pieces. Boil these pieces of leeks well. Strain and then squeeze all the water out of the leeks. Then cut them into small pieces again. Take care the whole thing does not turn into pureed leeks. The leeks have to keep some of their fibre. The ideal form can be acquired with a mincing machine. 

Add the ground beef, one egg and salt to the dough-like leeks. Wet the inside of the two slices of white bread, squeeze well and add it to the mixture. (In Pesach, add matzot in the same way instead of bread).

Knead the whole mixture well and make meat balls (köftes). Beat the second egg in a plate. Dredge the meatballs in flour (or matzot flour) first, and then in egg and fry them in red hot oil.

Leek meatballs can be eaten hot or cold.

My mother would also cook some of the fried leek meatballs she had prepared with chicken sauce and that would be a whole meal served with pieces of chicken.