Slow-Cooker Kofte in Tomato-Lime Broth

Slow-Cooker Kofte in Tomato-Lime Broth

While you’re at the beach, at work or doing anything at all, these bright, light, brothy meatballs can be stewing in the slow cooker. They are made in the style of kofte (from the Persian word meaning “grind”), in which ground meat is combined with lots of herbs and ground spices. Yogurt adds moisture and tang, but you don’t need another binder or to brown the meat first. As the meatballs slowly cook, their juices mingle with the tomatoes to create a rich but tart broth. Eat with grains (bulgur wheat, farro, rice), couscous, noodles or pita. For a stovetop version, see the Tip.
  • Total:
  • Serves: 4 persons



  1. Step 1

    Use a vegetable peeler to peel the rind off the lime in wide strips. Add the rind to a 6- to 8-quart slow cooker, along with the garlic and ¼ cup water. (Reserve the lime.)
  2. Step 2

    In a large bowl, stir together the herbs, yogurt, turmeric, 2 teaspoons salt and 1 teaspoon black pepper. Add the meat and use your hands to combine. Form the meat into 8 balls (roughly 4½ ounces each) and add to the slow cooker in a single layer. If they don’t fit in one layer, add a few tomatoes to buffer the meatballs from one another, then add another layer of meatballs. Add the cherry tomatoes, season with salt and pepper, then cover and cook on low until the meatballs are cooked through, 3 to 4 hours.
  3. Step 3

    Transfer the meatballs to plates, then remove and discard the garlic and lime peel. Burst most of the tomatoes by smashing them on the side of the slow cooker with a spoon. Squeeze the reserved lime into the slow cooker, then season to taste with salt, pepper and sugar. (The sugar helps compensate for too-tart tomatoes.) Spoon the tomatoes and broth on top of the meatballs, along with more fresh herbs.