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Kufta-bozbash

Bozbash

Bozbash means "gray meat balls" in Azerbaijani. Kufta bozbash is a soup in Azerbaijan cuisine made with peas and meatballs. Each meatball often contains a sour fruit inside, like sour prunes or cherry-plums are used for this.

To make this soup, the peas are boiled in the broth made with bones. The meatballs are made from minced lamb or mutton with onion, rice, salt and spices.

Imagine a meatball as big as a soccer ball, stuffed with a baked chicken that, in turn, is stuffed with a hard-boiled egg. One meatball is enough to feed many people. Because of its dramatic size, kufta is a favorite at big parties.

But kuftas in the Republic of Azerbaijan are rarely that large: they're more likely to be the size of a walnut or, at best, of an apple. In comparison, they are simpler fare, best for a quick winter lunch but not a special occasion.

The root "kuft" in Persian means to hit against something and refers to chopping the meat into small pieces. These days, meat for kufta is usually minced at home in a machine. Inside a kufta you'll find minced lamb, rice and herbs. Split peas, potato, egg, saffron and dried mint may also be added. Dried sour plums are also placed inside and are said to help with the digestion of meat. Kuftas are served in the clear broth, in which they have been simmering for hours.

Mutton -163 g; rump fat - 20 g; rice - 15 g; fresh cherry plum - 30 g or dried - 10 g; peas - 25 g; potatoes - 150 g; onions - 18 g; saffron -0.1 g; dried mint - 0.1 g; pepper and salt to taste.

Steep peas. Make meat stock from bones and put the peas into boiling stock. Put meat and onions through the mincer. Add rice, salt and pepper, mix thoroughly and make meat balls; 1-2 balls for one helping. Put 2-3 rinsed dried cherry plums inside each ball. When the peas are cooked, put the balls, potatoes and finely chopped browned onions into the stock. Add pepper, saffron infusion and salt 10-12 minutes before the dish is ready and boil until cooked. When serving, sprinkle with fresh coriander leaves in summer and dried mint in winter.