Butternut Squash Kofta

By: The Local Palate
Plated butternut squash kofta
Image courtesy of Katlin and Mohsin Kazmi

“This is where hearty comfort meets earthy forage,” the Kazmis say. The kofta meatball incorporates foraged mushrooms, roasted chestnuts, and sourdough breadcrumbs. The simple sauce pairs nicely with the rich meatballs.

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Serves 6 to 8

    For the Kofta Meatballs
  • 3 pounds 80/20 ground beef
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 tablespoons ginger paste
  • 1 jalapeño, chopped
  • 1 handful cilantro, finely chopped
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon coriander
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • ½ cup sourdough breadcrumbs
  • 5 garlic cloves, minced
  • ½ cup mushrooms, chopped (optional)
  • 1 cup roasted chestnuts, crushed (or another nut of choice)
  • For the Butternut Squash Sauce
  • 2 large butternut squash
  • 3 tablespoons garlic olive oil, divided
  • Salt
  • 2 tablespoons garam masala
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons cumin seeds
  • 2 teaspoons ground turmeric
  • ½ cup vegetable or beef stock
  • Cooked basmati rice for serving

For the Kofta Meatballs

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a large bowl, combine all ingredients except nuts and roll into ¾-inch diameter meatballs (this will make approximately 25). Roll each meatball in crushed chestnuts. Place on a greased sheet pan and bake, turning once, until cooked through, about 25 minutes, until internal temperature reaches 145 degrees. Leave oven on.

For the Butternut Squash Sauce

  1. Prick skin of squash with a fork 2 to 3 times. Cut squash in half lengthwise and remove seeds and pulp. Season inside of squashes with 2 tablespoons garlic olive oil, salt, and garam masala. Place on a baking sheet skin side up and bake for about 20 minutes, or until a knife goes through smoothly. Let squash cool.
  2. In a large skillet, heat the remaining garlic olive oil over medium-high heat. Add onion and sauté for 4 to 5 minutes. Add garlic and cumin seeds and cook 1 minute more. Add turmeric and allow to bloom, about 1 minute.
  3. Scoop butternut squash meat from skin and discard skin. Add squash to skillet along with stock; whisk to combine and lower heat to medium-low. Cook until sauce thickens, about 12 minutes.
  4. Once thickened, add meatballs to sauce and let simmer over medium-low heat until oil starts to separate from sauce, about 10 to 15 minutes. Serve hot over basmati rice.
  • Recipe By
    Katlin and Mohsin Kazmi of The Pakalachian in Abingdon, Virginia

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