I love that my ethnic heritage is of Middle Eastern roots. The food is about the best anywhere in the world! Spices, sweet and savory ingredients mixed together, lamb and seafood prepared in so many varied ways. Yep, I am thankful my palate was awakened as soon as I could chew food!!
Having grown up with lamb as my primary meat and not beef, I often found beef to have very little flavor unless lots was heaped on it. Ground meat lends itself to become flavor filled, but again, lamb still is my favorite choice when serving meatballs, burgers or other ground meat dishes.
Koftas are really just giant meatballs rolled into a sausage shape and cooked either with or without a skewer stick in the center. It is a great way to serve a large gathering of friends and family or easy to prep ahead, keep in the fridge and cook quickly for a busy weeknight dinner at home, but there is a trick to kofta, a technique that makes its texture different than most ground meat recipes.
Ingredients – makes 4-6
- Ground Lamb – 1.5 pounds
- Onion – 1 small
- Sumac – 1 teaspoon
- Cumin (preferably black) – 1 teaspoon
- Salt – 1 teaspoon
- Rosemary – 1 teaspoon fresh or 1/2 teaspoon dried
- Cinnamon – 1 teaspoon
Preparation – preheat oven to 400
- Place everything except the meat into a food processor or blender and puree. Place the pureed mix and the meat into a large bowl and not only mix this mixture well but knead it as you would bread dough. This is a technique that is often done with ground meat in Syrian and Lebanese food preparation. It pulverizes the ground meat almost into a paste. Fabulous texture!
- Shape the meat into long 3/4 inch sausage shapes. If you are using skewers, now is the time to slide them through the center. Refrigerate until ready to cook.
- These can be cooked on an outside grill, though watch closely so outsides don’t burn. Cooked on top the stove on a griddle or baked. I prefer baked because it frees up my hands to prepare the side dishes.
- Place on a cookie sheet and put into the top rack of the oven. These cook in about 20 minutes. You can broil for a minute at the end just to get a seared crust on top, though not necessary.
I serve these on pita bread that has been quickly grilled on both sides with a little olive oil, and served like a sandwich with a variety of toppings, such as feta, salted tomatoes, roasted peppers and Tzatziki, of course! Or, they can be served over rice.
* These beauties are what I made while competing on #Guys Grocery Games AND WON!!