27 April 2008

Barbequed Lamb and Beef Kofte

Spring has finally arrived. How do I know this besides the fact that the forsythia are blooming? I went to the farmers market yesterday morning. Living in the Great White North we don't have year round local produce or indoor food markets (at least not here in K-town). I was hoping that there might be an abundance of interesting foods available. There was the usual organic meats, breads and cheeses, but other than that only Spring lettuce, radishes and spring onions (scallions as you might call them). I thought there might be a garlic scape or two, rhubarb or some purple headed broccoli that I have seen popping up on all your blogs. Something that I would have to Google to find out how to prepare it and do some research on. But....no such luck. Mostly the farmers market here is a big craft sale with the perogy lady thrown in for good measure. I am not complaining, even though it may sound like I am, because if all else fails I can pick up some of the best hothouse tomatoes and cucumbers on the planet. Maybe even an eggplant or two. Therefore it is not always a total loss.

In the vein of positive thinking I cooked up some Turkish Kofta for lunch fired up on the barbeque!!! The backbone of this recipe comes from Gourmet magazine and uses a turkish blend of spices called baharat (follow the link to prepare your own). In keeping with my usual style, and using what I have on hand, I used some of the za'atar I had made previously. I also used only a few red pepper flakes as I don't like my foods uber hot!!! Was I being innovative or just lazy...doesn't matter because it was an exceptional substitution and added its own unique flavour to the meat mixture. The za'atar also has sesame seeds mixed in so this adds another dimension to the meat mixture as well. I also used a combination of lamb and beef because I find the beef to be too lean on its own. The recipes I came across for Turkish kofta used only lamb.

With this I served up a dish that struck my fancy that I found on Julia's blog A Slice of Cherry Pie . She is cooking up a storm in Kent, England. She says, " I’m a self-taught cook who’s passionate about good food and home cooking". I fell in love with her Jersey Potatoes with Feta & Watercress Sauce .The sauce went very well with the koftas too!!!!! If I were to make this sauce only for a dipping sauce with the kebabs I would omit the watercress. The koftas have enough spice on their own and do not need to compete with the mild peppery flavour of the watercress. Of course we don't have potatoes from the island of Jersey in the English Channel here in Canada, but we do have small new potatoes from the market. There were some new potatoes on sale at the farmers market but I already had a bag waiting for me at home from the grocers. Julia's recipe will come later. It rocks!

This was one of my favourite barbeque meals. I should have remembered to use metal skewers because even with soaking the wooden skewers in water all morning it didn't save them from the Barbeque Flame Monster. They also need to be more cigar shaped, but they sure were good!!! I was one very satisfied Cheshire cat after licking my lips with this one!!
Now I need to prepare my dish for the barbeque at a friends place tonight. I am also making a dish for an event as well. I need to enjoy the afternoon as well in the sunshine. Sunday is my only day off!!!! Cheers!!!!

**Turkish Ground Beef & Lamb Kofte with Feta Cheese Sauce**

2 slices firm white sandwich bread, torn into pieces
1 lb ground lamb (or lamb and ground beef mixture)
1 small red onion, minced or grated
1/3 cup finely chopped fresh parsley
1 T baharat spice mix* (I used za'atar or dukka whatever you want to call it)
1- 1/2 tsp Maras pepper flakes* (optional)
*1- 1/2 tsp Urfa pepper flakes * (optional)
*2 tsp salt

16 soft lettuce leaves for wrapping (optional)
Feta Cheese Sauce

*Available by mail order from Formaggio Kitchen (888-212-3224)
Cover bread with water in a bowl and soak 30 minutes, then squeeze bread to remove as much moisture as possible. Prepare grill while bread soaks.

Transfer squeezed bread to a large bowl and add remaining kofte ingredients, then mix well with your hands until thoroughly blended. Divide lamb mixture into 16 portions and form each into a ball. Roll each ball into a 7- to 8-inch-long "cigar," rolling first between your hands and then on a work surface (be sure the köfte are thin enough for even cooking). Slide a skewer lengthwise through center of each kofte.

Grill on oiled grill rack, turning over once, until golden and just cooked through, 4 to 6 minutes.

Serve warm with sauce.

NOTE: Kofte can be broiled on a baking sheet 5 inches from heat, turning over once.

Serves 4 - 6
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  1. What a beautiful and unique meal. I have never had anything like this and would love to try it.

    Thanks for sharing.

  2. Your giving me ideas for lunch.

  3. I love lamb! I am going to have to give this a try. I am going to forward this to a friend. This looks amazing!

  4. I love all the blend of spices and herbs in Turkish cooking:D
    Thansk for stopping by Glamah & Christine:D

  5. That looks great! Such a unique recipe!

  6. This sounds so interesting. I love the idea of the feta cheese sauce. Next time I'm feeling particularly ambitious, I'll give this a try!

  7. Enjoy your day off. I don't thing I would find Baharat spice around here. I can't to go visit the family in Montreal. The markets are so good. And we can pretty much find what we are looking for.

  8. Hi Val,
    Lamb and feta goes so well together. Love the spices that you used for your kofta.

    p/s: maybe you've already tried this: stuff a lamb patty with a cube of feta next time you want a new twist to the usual lamb burger.

  9. Brilliant. Haven't had kofte for ages, and now I know what to have for tea tomorrow night. Can't wait!


  10. sauce looks delish. i like that it's a bit different from the normal tsatzki. and those pitas look great - they were store-bought?

  11. Hi Val...been away the last few days and have missed a lot of your posts (sorry!). The kofta look great and the spices used certainly contribute to the whole dish. Your passion for bbq cooking is at fever point! A great read and very informmative as usual.

    Btw, thanks for the links to all the cooking schools in one of the previous posts.

  12. Thanks ever so much everyone. I love the feta cheese sauce. I used storebought naan bread for the base. I like it more than the pitas locally:D

  13. these look just lovely. sounds a little like some of the food we have around these parts too!

  14. Looks great. I love the combination of lamb and feta.

  15. Wow Val, thats a gourmet meal you have there! It truely looks delicious!! The sauce looks great!

  16. I hope you find more things at the market next time.
    It shouldn't be long.

    The kofte looks very good...especially with the feta sauce. And olives-yum.

  17. This real does sound SO interesting Val!! I have tummy rumbles now after drooling over your wonderful dish.

    Rosie x

  18. What a delicious meal. It looks super tasty and inviting.

  19. Val, what a fab meal for the patio and the Baharat mix sounds real good.

    You can grill with the best of the dudes.

  20. This is my favorite sort of meal. I love lamb. And grilled lamb is even better :)

  21. Oh my gosh, you made Za'tar!!! You are my hero!! I've never been able to find it in the states, or find a recipe for it, so I've always resorted to bringing literally a small suitcase home full of the biggest jars of Za'tar I could find whenever I go to Israel... Now, thanks to you, I can fix it at home!! Thank you, thank you!!

  22. what a great meal Val!!! I want to try this sooo badly! Too bad about your market though. I would think you guys would be getting some great stuff by now. Hope you enjoyed your day off!

  23. That kofte looks so good all covered in a feta sauce...mmm...

  24. This is a new one for me but looks absolutely mouthwatering. Save me leftovers? :-P

  25. This is just my kind of dish -- and I've got some lamb in the freezer. I love all the blends of herbs from that part of the world.

  26. Spring is affecting you Val! You sound sooooo enthusiastic! It's such a pleasure reading your posts :D

    How come all canadians have your barbaques ready and I still have it covered with winter dust?

  27. I would love one of these right now - just delicious!

  28. Hey Valli! I came over to drool over your tropical pancakes for the Joust and found these instead. YUM. I love me some koftas! I have been thinking of making them soon!

    Best of luck on the Joust too, my friend!


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