For a few years my partner lived in Cyprus and grew to love their food. This is one of their recipes that they bought back. The original recipe contained sugar in both the meat and the sauce plus flour neither of which are necessary. The salt will help the meat bind together as you knead it and when it is chilled. Depending on how spicy you like things you have the option to heat things up a bit by adding the chilli paste in the tomato sauce, I don’t tend to but my partner does so that’s where the yogurt/Tzatziki comes in for me
KÖFTE WITH SPICY TOMATO SAUCE & YOGURT
900g (2lb) minced lamb or beef
1 onion, finely chopped
large bunch of flat leaf parsley, finely chopped (a little stalk is good)
15g (½oz) fine salt
1 quantity Spicy Tomato Sauce
6 heaped tablespoons Greek yogurt or Tzatziki (optional)
freshly ground black pepper
Using your hands combine the mince, onion, parsley and salt.
Add pepper to taste and knead well for 5–10 minutes.
Divide into 85g (3oz) pieces and shape into small oval patties.
Chill the köftes until needed.
Heat grill to medium-hot and cook the köftes for 10-15mins seasoning with a little fine salt and turning them regularly.
Serve with the tomato sauce and yogurt (if using)
These are ideal for the BBQ.
SPICY TOMATO SAUCE
100ml (3½oz) extra-virgin olive oil
4 garlic cloves, sliced
1 red chilli, sliced, seeds left in
1 teaspoon chilli flakes
1 tsp chilli paste (optional)
500ml (18fl oz) tomato passata (this is tomatoes and onions cooked together and puréed)
100ml (3½fl oz) water
1 teaspoon thyme leaves
2 teaspoons sherry or red wine vinegar
flaky sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Heat the oil in a small saucepan, add the garlic, red chilli, chilli flakes and hot pepper paste and cook gently.
Once completely soft, add the passata and water.
Season with salt and pepper and simmer over a low heat for at least 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. If you can cook it for 1 hour, all the better, as it will intensify in flavour.
Finish by adding the thyme and vinegar.
Set aside and keep warm to serve with meat