One of my favorite restaurants is a local Turkish restaurant. They have the most amazing variety of traditional Turkish dishes. A very popular dish at the restaurant is their Chicken Kofte (Kofta). It is rare for you to be dining at the restaurant and not see plate after plate of the Chicken Kofte constantly coming out from the kitchen. Even my 7 year old son is a huge fan of their Chicken Kofte and will eat every last crumb on his plate!
Traditional Turkish Chicken Kofte is made with minced ground chicken, fresh parsley, bell pepper and onion. The ingredients are mixed and shaped into either a meatball, patty or meatloaf form. Our local Turkish restaurant shapes the Kofte into a flat patty form. I prefer this shape of the Kofte so I have kept the patty shape for my Kofte recipe. I like my patties to be slightly thicker then the traditional flat patty, but you can create them to any width you would like.
The traditional Chicken Kofte recipe is a fairly healthy recipe by nature and doesn’t need much (if any) revisions to become healthier. Some recipes include oil, breadcrumbs and/or eggs. I have kept the recipe at its most basic form without any added oils, breadcrumbs or eggs. I have substituted the ground chicken for lean ground turkey. You can keep the traditional recipe as is and use ground chicken. I used lean ground turkey because it has more moisture and a tad more flavor than ground chicken. But either ground meat will work for this recipe.
Spices used in a traditional Kofte recipes also vary from recipe to recipe. Most only use parsley, pepper and onion to flavor the ground meat. Some recipes also use cumin, sweet paprika, black pepper and even ground ginger. I decided to switch up the flavor profile, on my recipe, to create my own Kofte version. One of my favorite flavor combines is Rosemary and Thyme. There is something about the Rosemary and Thyme combination that just sets your taste-buds signing.
Kofte can be grilled, baked or pan fried. For my recipe I have chosen to bake my Kofte. Baking the Kofte retains the meats moisture, ensures proper cooking throughout and no added oils are needed (like pan frying). I have found that wrapping the Kofte in an aluminium foil “tent” works best at keeping the juices in so that the Kofte doesn’t dry out.
Healthy Turkey Kofte (Rosemary and Thyme Version)
1 pound ground lean turkey (or ground chicken)
1/2 tablespoon dried Thyme
1/2 tablespoon dried Rosemary
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon minced garlic (or 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder)
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon chopped onion (or dried minced onion)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl combine all the ingredients. Mix very well (almost into a pâté type texture) and using your hands, form meat mixture into balls, patties or a loaf form (I prefer the patty form but any form will do). Lay out 4 squares of aluminium foil (measuring about 8 ” by 8″). Lightly grease each foil square with spray oil (I prefer to use spray coconut oil). Place a shaped Kofte’s onto the center of each greased foil square. Fold the foil up and around the Kofte to create a tent form. Place the Kofte tents onto a baking sheet and cook in the preheated oven for about 20 minutes.