Sunday, 29 July 2012

Kebab week: Köfte

It's all very well talking about chicken and chickpeas, but I haven't done kebabs justice until there's some lamb involved. There are endless variations on the grilled, ground lamb theme. Every country and region from the Balkans to Central Asia has it's speciality.

I ended up making a bit of a hybrid, Turkish-style kebabs with Greek and Middle eastern accompaniments. The kebabs are closest to Köfte with a bit of Adana kebap thrown in for good measure.

The spicing is quite gentle with these; cumin, garlic and just a hint of chilli supporting the flavour of the meat rather than taking over. The parsley adds a bit of freshness and lightens things up a bit.

I served them plated up Turkish style on a bed of bread with salad, but also with tabbouleh, hummous and tzatziki. Some grilled onions and charred peppers would have been good too.

Makes 4 skewers, enough for a large meal for two

For the kebabs

1lb (450g) ground lamb
1 scant tsp salt
2 tsps ground cumin
1 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp chilli powder
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 tbsp chopped parsley
1 large clove garlic, finely chopped

For the tabbouleh

4 large handfuls flat leaf parsley
1 small clove garlic
zest and juice of 1 lemon
1 tbsp cooked cous cous
salt and pepper
extra virgin olive oil

For the tzatziki

150ml thick yoghurt
quarter of a cucumber
1 clove garlic
juice of half a lemon
salt and pepper

Salad, bread and hummous thinned with lemon juice to serve

1. Mix all of the kebab ingredients together in a large bowl, then form the mix around kebab skewers. Put them in the fridge to firm up for half an hour.

2. Make the tabbouleh by chopping the parsley and garlic finely then mixing it up with the lemon juice, zest and cous cous. Add salt, pepper and olive oil to taste.

3. Make the tzatziki by finely chopping the cucumber and garlic, then mixing it up with the yoghurt and lemon juice. If it's still a bit thick add a splash of water. Season with salt and pepper.

5. Grill the kebabs under a hot grill until a bit charred on the edges and just done on the inside. About four or five minutes on either side should do it.

6. Warm two pitta breads under the grill on top of the kebabs so they absorb some of the juice.

7. Prepare two plates with salad and tabbouleh, then sliced pitta bread, then the kebabs, then the tzatziki and hummous.

8. Eat immediately.

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