>> Friday, June 25, 2010
The first day of summer was earlier this week and with it, the flowers are starting to bloom, Calgarians are finally starting to enjoy patio weather and BBQ’s around town are all coming out of hibernation. Every summer we would have people over and throw burgers and hotdogs on the grill while hanging out in the backyard beside the fire pit for hours on end. Nothing defines the quintessential BBQ more than the summer burger, but this year I wanted something different, something that gives us the same satisfaction as grilling burgers but surprises our taste buds evermore. I didn’t have to look far in my recipe book to find one of my favorites, Lamb Koftas, a Lebanese / North African dish very similar to our burger patties, except done on skewers over the grill. The lamb gives the patties a different taste profile and adds that new element of flavour that I was looking for, plus anytime I’m given the opportunity to update the recipe slightly to make it healthier, I gladly rise to the occasion.
The original recipe calls for ground lamb but since I find the gameness of lamb to be overpowering at times, I figured it would work well to mix in ground beef which will mellow out the gamey taste without losing the flavour profile. Since this dish is usually meant to be served with pitas and tzatziki, it would be a nice refreshing way to kick start our summer, plus the yogurt is healthier than mayo and ketchup anyhow.
Here is my take on Lamb Kofta adapted from various recipes I’ve found over the years:
1/2 lb lean ground lamb
1/2 lb lean ground beef
2 cups chopped fresh parsley
1/2 of an onion, chopped
1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp allspice
1 tsp cayenne
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp tumeric
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
If forming skewers: soak skewers in water to prevent them from burning on the grill. Sometimes I prefer to make these in to patties which don’t require this step.
In a small bowl, combine cumin, paprika, allspice, cayenne, ground coriander, tumeric, salt and pepper set aside.
In a large bowl, combine the ground lamb and ground beef. Add in the fresh parsley, onion and egg, continue to mix well. Finally slowly mix in the spices. You might want to taste test the meat mixture at this time to see if there is indeed enough salt and pepper.
Grab about 1/4 cup of the meat mixture and form them in to small balls and place carefully on skewers, give them a good squeeze to prevent them from falling apart on the grill. If you’re making patties, just lightly press them flat instead.
Since the koftas are made from lamb and beef they don’t need to be on the grill for long, approximately 8-10 mins depending on the heat of your grill. Keep an eye on them since they’re juicier when they’re not cooked for too long!