Turkish Lamb Köftes with Pistachios and a glass of Turkish Okuzgozu wine


Turkish köfte’s are such a flavour filled, expressive way to cook minced lamb. The first time I tried them, I was hooked. However, this recipe is my favourite. I saw it first on an episode of Rick Stein’s Long Weekends ‘Venice to Istanbul’ and was so happy to find the recipe online. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!


  • 1tsp cumin seeds
  • ½tsp fennel seeds
  • ½tsp coriander seeds
  • 1.2kg (2lb 12oz) minced lamb
  • A handful of flat-leaf parsley, chopped
  • 1tsp dried mint
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 75g (2¾oz) pistachios, roughly crushed
  • 1tsp chilli flakes
  • 1tsp salt
  • 3 grinds of black pepper
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • Plain flour to bind, if necessary
  • Olive oil, for brushing
  • skewers (optional)


Set the oven to 180°C.

Simply, combine all the ingredients and mix together in a bowl. I used my hands! A bit gooey, but it worked!

After mixing the ingredients, I carefully formed them into individual little sausage shapes.

Finally, I baked them in the oven for about 18-20 minutes, turning them halfway. If you want to grill them using skewers, then cook them for about 8 minutes over a hot BBQ, turning halfway.

I served these beauties with a colourful salad, chips and yogurt sauce (cacik in Turkish) which is like tatziki. Needless to say, paired with a glass of the Turkish 2013 Kayra Okuzgozu wine, this dinner was such a success that there weren’t any leftovers!

Wine Pairing:

When cooking a specific dish from a certain country, I firmly believe that’s best to pair local food with the local wine. So, when trying to find the perfect red for this dish, I came across a 2013 Kayra Okuzgozu, which is a ruby red coloured wine with 14% abv. The Okuzgozu grape is native to eastern Anatolia (eastern Turkey) and creates more approachable, medium-bodied wine than Boğazkere, which is another popular native wine grape that has very high tannins and is more full-bodied. Okuzgozu wine often has high levels of acidity which enables it to age well. On the nose this wine presents ripe black fruit aromas mixed with earthy notes. Lucious blackberry and plum flavours accompanied by subtle hints of mint, tobacco and spice greeted my palate along with medium tannins and a long finish. Wow! I love this wine! Welcome to Turkey!

Turkish Lamb Köftes w/ Pistachios and Turkish Okuzgozu wine

Enjoy these meaty Turkish delights packed with pistachios and savoury herbs! Grill on the BBQ or bake in the oven. Enjoy with a glass of Turkish Okuzgozu wine.
Prep Time30 minutes
Cook Time20 minutes
Total Time1 hour
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Turkish
Keyword: Köftes, Minced lamb, Okuzgozu, Turkish wine
Servings: 6 people


  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp ground fennel
  • 1/2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1.2 Kg minced lamb
  • handful of chopped parsley
  • 1 tsp dried mint
  • 2 eggs beaten
  • 2 cloves crushed garlic
  • 75 grams roughly chopped pistachios
  • 1 tsp chili flakes
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 tbsp plain flour (more or less depending upon consistency)
  • olive oil for brushing
  • skewers (optional if cooking on the BBQ)


  • Set the oven to 180°C or prepare the BBQ.
  • Combine the first 13 ingredients in a bowl and mix together. You may then need to add a bit of plain flour if the dough is too sticky.
  • Form the meat mixture into individual little sausage shapes (5cm x 2.5cm) or form around skewers if you are BBQing them.
  • Bake them in the oven for about 18-20 minutes or cook on the BBQ for 8 minutes, turning halfway.
  • Serve these beauties with a colourful salad, chips and yogurt sauce (cacik in Turkish) which is like tatziki.
  • Wine pairing: A glass of Turkish Okuzgozu wine.