Friday, February 25, 2011

2011: A Foodie Odyssey part 5, Albania: Qofte te Ferguara

Here we are again!  Part 5 of 2011: Foodie Odyssey, Albania.  This will conclude our journey through the Middle East.  I hope you have enjoyed it as much as I have.  I love foreign foods and cooking if you have not noticed.  This has been a good opportunity to test myself in the kitchen and to educate myself on how food of the world is different, yet the same.

Albania has a long history and has been ruled by several nations at one time or another throughout that history.  Being as such it draws on influences of Greece, the Ottoman Turks, and the Roman Empire!  Lunch is the main meal in Albania and is often served with fresh veggies and or a healthy salad.  I found lots of interesting recipes but this one caught my eye.  Featuring lamb and fresh mint I had to try it out.  Again I was suckered in by lamb. 

The dish I chose to do is called Qofte te Ferguara, a fried meat ball or patty.  I found a version that was half pork and half lamb so I went that route. It also has feta cheese, onion, and MINT!  Interesting very interesting.  I'm a large fan of mint so it was a must try.  I have never had mint in a main dish before, let alone with meat.

I also made Tullumba, a fried pastry like doughnut with a lemon syrup.  It was a complete kitchen nightmare!  I wish I had taken pictures of the mess I made.  I'm still cleaning after several days, dough is every ware.  Then my dog Bella got into the trash and made a bigger mess and has dough matted all over her face!  I was not able to make the recipe as it was because of the odd measurement of "A  Glass" which I took to mean a cup, I was wrong.  I did save them and they were edible and quite delicious.  I will post the recipe for you in hopes someone may know what I did wrong and help me out.

Lets start with the Qofte te Ferguara,

Here's What You'll Need:
1/2 Pound of ground lamb
1/2 pound of ground pork
1 small onion grated
1 piece of stale bread or toast
2 tablespoons of feta cheese crumbles
2 tablespoons of bread crumbs
2 tablespoons of olive oil or melted butter
1 tablespoon chopped parsley
salt and black pepper to taste
mint to taste
oregano to taste
1 cup or so of flour
1 cup olive oil for frying

Start by soaking your toast or stale bread and squeezing it well to drain the excess water.  Add the toast, bread crumbs, onion, feta cheese, oil, mint, salt, pepper, and your mint to a mixing bowl. Speaking of mint look at the "Living Herbs" brand I found!  Now that is fresh!

Mix all your ingredients well and form into small meat balls or 1 inch thick patties.

Flour your patties or meat balls and fry!

That's it!  Another easy and absolutely scrumptious dish!  The mint was surprisingly mellow.  I would put more in the next time around, I held back because I was not sure how it would all come together.  This is a play on an American favorite is all I could think as I was cooking.  The flavor was mellow all the way around but had so many different levels.  One minute it's onion and cheese the BAM!  You get the mint, and lamb.  You could easily do all beef or a mixture of any ground meats if lamb is not your thing.

The Tullumba was good but as I said it was one heck of a mess for me!

Here's What You Need:

2 tablespoons melted butter
1 glass flour??? what the heck dose that mean?
3 tablespoons water
4 eggs
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 glass olive oil

for the syrup:

2 glasses sugar
1 1/3 glass water
1 teaspoon lemon juice

Syrup:  Put sugar in a sauce pan with water and lemon juice and let reduce till nice and thick.  Set aside and let cool.

Pastry:  Melt butter in another sauce pan, add water and salt and boil.  Reduce the heat and add all the flour and stir constantly until it pulls away from the edges and forms a ball. (It never did this for me) Set aside and let cool.  Add your eggs and knead into dough.  Place dough in a pastry bag and squeeze small portions into heated oil to fry golden brown.  Set aside and let oil drain.  Dip in syrup and chill.  Plate and serve!

They are quite good.  I bet it would be out of this world if executed right.  See even I struggle,  I just find it fun and challenging!

I made a basic mash potato to go with my Qofte te Ferguara.  The only reason I'm posting about them at all is because I discovered Blue Potatoes.  They are beautiful!  They taste great and are not used enough.  If you want to add some color to your meal I suggest you go give them a try!
Well that is it for this excursion on 2011: A Foodie Odyssey.  Switzerland was the winner for next week!  Be sure to cast your vote for the next country before you go!  Vote at the top of the page.  Thanx all! 

Love Food, Live Life!


1 comment:

  1. This post was fun for me because my grandpa lived in Albania for awhile. I was too young to remember what the heck he was doing there, but cool food post nonetheless.