Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Middle Eastern burgers

Köfte is a Persian word which means "mashed".  Kofte are meatballs or kebabs, served commonly in Turkey, Greece, and throughout the Middle East, and they are a delicious change from regular grilled burgers.  I think they taste best if you mix them up the day before grilling.  Soak some wooden skewers in water for at least 15 minutes, and form the kebabs around them.  Cover with plastic wrap and stick in the fridge overnight.  Traditionally, the kebabs are formed as long ovals so you can wrap them in pita along with a garlicky yogurt sauce.  You can also make them into meatballs, or even into burgers as I did above.

Here's my favorite spice mix, no matter which way I'm going to fix them:


For each pound of meat (ground lamb or beef):
1/3 c pine nuts
3 garlic cloves
1 t hot smoked paprika
1/2 t salt
1/2 t cumin
1/4 t pepper
1/4 t coriander
1/4 t cloves
Dash of nutmeg
Dash of cinnamon
1/3 c grated onion
1/4 c minced fresh parsley
1/4 c minced fresh mint
1 t unflavored gelatin

Process the pine nuts and garlic with all the spices until it forms a coarse paste.  Scrape into a large bowl along with the rest of the ingredients and knead well.  Form into burgers, meatballs, or cylinders around soaked wooden skewers.  Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.  Serve kebabs wrapped in pita bread.

Garlicky Yogurt Sauce

6 oz plain Greek yogurt
1 1/2 T lemon juice
1 12 T tahini
1 garlic clove, minced fine
Dash of salt

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