The word kofta comes from the Persian koofteh, which means "pounded meat," and these meatballs have been eaten for hundreds of years—the earliest written recipe dates to ancient Arabic cookbooks. Mehmet Gürs of Istanbul's Mikla serves them simply with mustard.
Ground lamb adds rich flavor to traditional Turkish meatballs. Serve them simply with mustard for a first course, or with rice or something more substantial.
Yield: makes 20 meatballs
1 lb. ground beef
10 oz. ground lamb
3⁄4 cup plain bread crumbs
1⁄3 cup minced red onion
2 1⁄2 tbsp. finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
2 tsp. kosher salt
1 tbsp. plus 1/4 tsp. ground cumin
2 1⁄2 tsp. dried thyme
2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
Coarse-grain mustard, for serving
In a large bowl, mix the beef and lamb with the bread crumbs, red onion, parsley, salt, cumin, thyme, and pepper. Using your hands, mix until evenly combined. Divide the meat mixture into 20 pieces, roll each into a ball, and flatten each slightly into a 3⁄4-inch-thick patty.
Light a grill or heat a cast-iron grill pan over medium-high. Place the patties on the grill and cook, flipping once, until browned and cooked to medium, about 10 minutes. Serve the grilled kofta while hot with the mustard.