LAMB KOFTA AND SEARED VEGGIES


Arguably the best use of ground lamb is the flavorful and healthy kofta. Don’t let the long ingredient list steer you away; lamb (or beef) kofta can be made in a large batch then frozen for later. This popular meat dish originates from the Middle East and the spices vary by the different regions. If you are lucky enough to have a cast-iron skillet, you can make this entire recipe as a one-pot dish.

Allergens and substitutions: To avoid dairy omit the goat yogurt and replace the butter with olive oil.

 

HEALING BENEFITS

Lamb is not as lean as some other meat choices, however, the fat profile is actually quite healthy. Lamb is rarely raised in stressful factory farm situations which means healthier (and tastier!) meat. If you do enjoy the flavor of lamb, it is an easy meat to buy in bulk from a rancher. And it’s much cheaper in bulk (~$4/lb). We always split a locally raised lamb with a friend every year then store it in a chest freezer. Search on Local Harvest to find a rancher near you.

 

Lemons are antibacterial and have the most calcium citrate of all the citrus fruits. This is important because it can decrease the rate of formation of kidney stones. Drinking lemon juice can be used to counteract nausea, heart burn or acid indigestion. The mighty lemon can also reduce swelling, water retention and inflammation in your body. It’s antibacterial properties can help to rid the body of the bacteria that causes UTI’s (urinary tract infection).

 

Broccoli is in the same family as cabbage and kale. This sturdy vegetable is an immune system booster and rich in vitamin C, not to mention healthy fiber. Of importance to diabetics, broccoli is high in carotenoids, specifically lutein which promotes good eye health. Broccoli can block the growth of some cancer cells and repair DNA.

 

PUTTING IT ALTOGETHER

Follow the instructions below to make this simple and savory meal. The key to making a good kofta, meatball or other ground meat dish is to have the meat defrosted and refrigerated, but not at room temperature. It mixes best this way. Pulling out the ingredients you need to measure or chop beforehand will simplify your cooking. (Leave the ground meat in the refrigerator until you are ready to mix everything together.) The French call this practice mise en place which translates to “putting in place”. It is practiced in restaurants and taught to chefs in culinary school.

I like to start by mixing the dry spices together first. Use a spice grinder or mortar and pestle to grind the cumin and coriander, if needed. It is easiest to mix the cumin, coriander, salt, pepper, ground ginger and cinnamon together in a small bowl before putting together with the meat. If you are using ground garlic, dried parsley or dried mint, you can add it here too. While these ingredients are quicker, using the fresh versions will reward you in every bite with superior flavor.

Chopping the parsley and mint, dicing the red onion and garlic come next. As silly as it might seem, saving the onion for last and using swimming goggles results in the least tears shed. It’s a good kitchen trick. Any leftover onion can be sliced, diced or quartered and frozen. It can be used in later recipes, poaching liquid for sausages or for making broth. Mix all the ingredients thoroughly with the cold ground meat.
Lamb Kofta i
This recipe does well in larger batches, too. If I have enough lamb on hand I will make a double batch. It saves time in the long run when you make double recipes in one kitchen session. Once the meat is mixed, use a kitchen scale to measure kofta into evenly sized portions. You can go one or two ways here. For women, the serving size is 1/4 lb, so making the kofta into 1/8 lb portions will allow you to eat two per meal. For men, a serving of 1/3 lb is suggested, so making the kofta into 1/6 lb portions allows for two pieces.

1,500 Calorie: 1/8 lb = 0.125 lb = 57 grams = 2.0 oz
2,000 Calorie: 1/6 lb = 0.167 lb = 76 grams = 2.7 oz

Place the kofta on a wire rack or plain cookie sheet to freeze them individually. After a day in the freezer you can then put them into a freezer bag. Taking the time for this extra step means that they will not all freeze together as one giant meatball. It is never fun to try to pry apart frozen food with a butter knife only to hurt yourself in the process.
Lamb Kofta ii
Tzatziki is a refreshing Mediterranean meat sauce. This yogurt based recipe is a simple mix of cucumbers, garlic, lemon juice and some spices. An immersion blender makes for quick work of the mixing. The key is to blend everything, except the yogurt, with the blender, then mix the yogurt in slowly with a spoon. Any leftover tzatziki makes for a healthy dip for vegetables and keeps in a refrigerator for about a week.

After the kofta and tzatziki has been made, the vegetables for searing can be prepped. Wash the exterior of the pepper with a mild soap or vegetable cleanser. Cut the pepper into bite-sized slices. Trim the leaves from the broccoli and cut into small florets (about 2″ pieces). If you are using florets that have already been cut and washed, you can skip this step. Rinse the florets under cool water to remove unwanted items. Bring a 10″ cast-iron skillet up to high heat by warming up for 3-5 minutes. (An 8″ or 12″ skillet or dutch oven also works.) Add the butter or ghee to the pan and allow to melt (30 sec). Then add the broccoli and pepper to the skillet with a lid. Sear for 2 minutes then give them a stir and add the lemon half(ves) with the lid. Remove vegetables from the pan after another 2 minutes. Be cautious using a conventional skillet for this recipe. Some non-stick surfaces, new or old, do not hold up well to high heat cooking. Those potentially hormone disrupting chemicals in the non-stick coating can stick to your food.

 

LAMB KOFTA AND SEARED VEGGIES
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Arguably the best use of ground lamb is the flavorful and healthy kofta. Don’t let the long ingredient list steer you away; lamb (or beef) kofta can be made in a large batch then frozen for later. This popular meat dish originates from the Middle East and the spices vary by the different regions. If you are lucky enough to have a cast-iron skillet, you can make this entire recipe as a one-pot dish.
Author:
Recipe type: Entree
Cuisine: Mediterranean
Serves: 6-8 servings
Ingredients
  • Ground Lamb, 2lb (or 100% grass-fed beef)
  • Red Onion, diced, ⅓ cup
  • Italian Parsley, fined chopped, 1 cup
  • Mint, fresh, chopped, 2 tbsp
  • Garlic Cloves 6X (or 6 tsp garlic powder)
  • Cumin, ground, 1 tsp
  • Coriander, ground, 2 tsp
  • Cinnamon, ground, 1 tsp
  • Sea Salt, 1 tsp
  • Black Pepper, 1 tsp
  • Ginger Powder, ½ tsp
  • Butter or ghee 2 tbsp
  • ++++++++++++++++++++++++
  • Red Bell Pepper, ORGANIC, cored and sliced 2X
  • Broccoli Florets 2 lb (32 oz)
  • Lemon, cut in half, 4X
  • Butter or ghee 2 tbsp
  • ++++++++++++++++++++++++
  • Cucumber, peeled, seeded, roughly chopped, ½
  • Goat Yogurt, 8oz
  • Cumin, ground, 1 tsp
  • Sea Salt, ½ tsp
  • Black Pepper, ½ tsp
  • Olive Oil, 1 tbsp
  • Lemon, ½, juice of
  • Garlic Clove, 1X
Instructions
  1. KOFTA: Mix the dry spices together in a separate bowl. Grind the cumin and coriander in a spice grinder or mortal and pestle if still whole. Mix the cumin, coriander, cinnamon, salt, pepper and ginger powder together. If using dry mint, dry parsley or dry garlic powders also mix in at this time.
  2. Chopping the parsley and mint, dicing the red onion and garlic come next. Mix all the ingredients thoroughly with the cold ground meat.
  3. Using a kitchen scale, measure out the kofta and form into tubes, as pictured. The 1,500 calorie plan should form ⅛lb (2.0 oz) kofta and the 2,000 calorie plan should form ⅙lb (2.7 oz) kofta.
  4. Freeze unused kofta for later use.
  5. Sear all sides of the kofta over medium heat in a skillet with 1 tbsp of butter or ghee.
  6. TZATZIKI: Optional step is to toast the clove of garlic with the skin on in a dry skillet over medium heat for about 10 minutes or until brown. Remove the skin once it is cool.
  7. Peel the cucumber skin with a potato peeler. Chop in half once by the length and once by the width. Refrigerate half for later use and scoop the seeds out of the middle of the other with a spoon; discard seeds. Roughly chop the half cuke.
  8. Add the olive oil, lemon juice, salt, pepper, garlic and cumin to an immersion or conventional blender. Pulse until the mixture is pureed.
  9. Add the yogurt to the mixture. Using a spoon (and not the blender!) fold the yogurt into the spice mix.
  10. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes prior to serving. It should keep in the refrigerator for about a week.
  11. CAST-IRON VEGGIES: Bring a 10″ cast-iron skillet up to high heat by warming up for 3-5 minutes. (An 8″ or 12″ skillet or dutch oven also works.)
  12. Add the butter or ghee to the pan and allow to melt (30 sec).
  13. Then add the broccoli and pepper to the skillet with a lid. Sear for 2 minutes.
  14. Stir veggies and add the lemon half(ves) with the lid. Remove vegetables from the pan after another 2 minutes.
  15. Squeeze the lemon over the veggies, stir and serve warm.

 

Photo by Roger Davies and liz west [/two_third]

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