Lamb Kofte

I tried this recipe in an effort to expand my son’s palette.   He loved it–said it tasted like taco meat.  Yay. One point for mom.  Eh,  I’ll take it.  I’m just happy that I won’t have to make two meals on “Kofte Night”.  It’s now in our rotation, and on a lazy Saturday (I don’t really have them), I make a big batch and keep them in the freezer.

Lamb-Kofte

Lamb Kofte with Yogurt Sauce & Muhammara

Ingredients

Yogurt sauce:

  • 1 cup plain low-fat yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons tahini (sesame seed paste) Note:  It’s pretty easy to find now in the bigger markets.
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Kofte:

  • 2 pounds ground lamb
  • 1/2 cup minced fresh mint
  • 1/4 cup coarsely grated onion
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 tablespoons paprika
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 11/2 teaspoons coarse kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 12 5-to 7-inch-diameter soft round Middle Eastern flatbreads (preferably with no pocket)
  • 2 tablespoons (or more) olive oil, divided
  • 2 large onions, halved through core, cut crosswise into 1/4- to 1/3-inch slices

Muhammara:

  • 1/2 cup finely chopped drained roasted red peppers from jar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons (or more) pomegranate molasses (I couldn’t find any in the store, so I made my own, see note below)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley

Method

For yogurt sauce: 
Stir all ingredients in medium bowl to blend. Cover and chill.  Note: This basically tastes like hummus, only with yogurt instead of chickpeas.

For Köfte:

  1. Line large rimmed baking sheet with plastic wrap. Gently mix lamb and next 8 ingredients in large bowl. Using moistened hands and scant 2 tablespoonfuls for each, roll meat mixture into 1 1/2-inch meatballs. Arrange on sheet.
  2. Preheat oven to 300°F. Place large sheet of foil on work surface. Heat large nonstick or cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add flatbreads to skillet 1 at a time; cook until browned, about 2 minutes per side. Enclose in foil; place in oven to keep warm.
  3. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in same skillet over medium-high heat. Add onions; sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper. Sauté until golden brown, about 8 minutes.
  4. Transfer onions to 1 side of large rimmed baking sheet; place in oven to keep warm.
  5. Add 1 tablespoon oil to same skillet; heat over medium-high heat. Sauté half of meatballs until just cooked through, 7 to 8 minutes. Transfer to baking sheet in oven. Repeat with remaining meatballs, adding oil to skillet if dry. Reserve skillet.  Note: My pan required quite a bit of oil.

Koftke-Prep

For muhammara: 
Add roasted peppers to reserved skillet; stir 1 minute. Add 1/2 cup water and 2 tablespoons pomegranate molasses. Bring to simmer, scraping up browned bits. Cook until reduced to 2/3 cup, stirring occasionally, about 4 minutes. Mix in parsley. Season to taste with salt, pepper, and more pomegranate molasses, if desired. Transfer to small bowl. Arrange onions and meatballs on platter.  Serve with warm breads, yogurt sauce, and muhammara.

Note about the pomegranate molasses:  I couldn’t find it in any store, so I decided to make a pomegranate simple syrup instead.  I added 1 part pomegranate juice to 2 parts sugar.  Combine the juice and sugar in a small pot and bring to a boil.  Continue to boil until the sugar dissolves.  Reduce to a simmer and let cook until the syrup begins to thicken. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.  It will thicken a bit more as it cools. If you find it to be too sweet, you can add a little lemon juice.  

muhammara

My muhammara looks super crazy, but the taste isn’t bad at all. I’m sure also, it would have been a little thicker if I had the molasses.

Kofte-complete

This isn’t the best shot of the final product, but it’s the best shot out of 6.  It’s very challenging trying to make this look appetizing, but I promise that if you try it, you won’t be disappointed.

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