|Lamb Kofta Appetizer with Tzatziki Sauce|
As writers and budding cooks we get our inspiration from many different sources. This recipe idea came from an on-line magazine from South Africa....Crush! Kofta is a minced meat kabob, typically molded into the shape of a sausage and wrapped around a skewer. The texture of the kofta comes from grinding the meat into a paste-like consistency and mixing it with herbs and spices of your choice.
Kofta is nothing new here on these pages but what I loved about this particular dish was the idea of serving these as an appetizer with olive-shaped little meatballs. With Easter coming up it seems only fitting that I share a few of my favourite lamb recipes. I like to use lamb for my koftas and serve these tasty morsels canapé fashion with fresh local crudités, tzatziki for dipping and a cool glass of rosé!
This dish is rich, satisfying, and incredibly flavourful. Keep in mind that the kofta also freeze well, so feel free to make a big batch! The tzatziki recipe is based on a method from my good friend Peter at Kalofagas. He recommends adding his secret ingredient...a dash of ouzo to create complex flavour. Perhaps I could use some fennel fronds to get that anise flavour since ouzo is non-existent around here but fennel is at the moment! I have no doubt it's delicious!!!
**Lamb Kofta with Tzatziki Sauce**
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 lb (450 g) ground lamb
2 tablespoons (30 ml) each chopped fresh mint and parsley
1 tablespoon (15 ml) chopped fresh oregano, or 2 teaspoons (10 ml) dried
1 teaspoon (5 ml) ground cumin
½ teaspoon (2.5 ml) each ground nutmeg, cinnamon and cloves
sea salt and freshly milled black pepper to taste
toasted pita breads for serving
herbed tzatziki for serving (see recipe below)
1. Preheat the oven to 200 °C.
2. Fry the onion and garlic in a little olive oil for 5–7 minutes until soft and translucent.
3. In a large bowl, combine the lamb mince with all the herbs, spices and seasoning, and then add the cooked onion and garlic. Add the egg and mix well. At this point you can cover the bowl and refrigerate or form the koftas (oval-shaped meatballs) immediately. Place the koftas on a sheet of greaseproof paper. Heat a few tablespoons of oil in a large frying pan and brown the koftas for 2 minutes per side.
Remove from the pan and drain on paper towelling. Skewer each olive-shaped meatball onto bamboo skewers and then place them on the baking tray. Place the baking tray in the oven for 5-10–15 minutes until the koftas are cooked through depending on the size.
Serve with toasted pita breads and Herbed Tzatziki (see recipe below).
1/2 English cucumber
1 cup (250 mL) Greek-style plain yogurt
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup (250 ml) finely chopped fresh dill, parsley and mint, mixed
Juice of 1/2 lemon
salt to taste
Good quality extra virgin olive oil
(If you cannot find thick Greek yogurt strain your yogurt in a cheesecloth bag or fine mesh seive overnight in the refrigerator. Make sure to have a bowl underneath to catch the excess liquid. This will create a thick yogurt perfect for this sauce).
With a box grater grate the cucumber directly into a mesh strainer or, a couple layers of cheese cloth. Sprinkle with a pinch of sea salt. Set the strainer over a bowl to catch the liquid or hang your cheesecloth bag over the drain of the sink. Allow it to drain for a half hour. With your hands squeeze the remaining moisture out of the cucumber. Discard the liquid.
In a large bowl, mix together the strained or Greek yogurt, garlic, dill, cucumber, lemon juice and a generous pinch of sea salt. Taste the Tzatziki and season with additional salt if needed.
Just before serving, drizzle the Tzatziki with a bit of olive oil.