I’m always looking for interesting cuts and ways to cook meat, and to introduce my kids to new flavours. Even as little boys, they’ve always loved middle eastern food and so it’s within those areas that I try to improve my own dinner time repertoire. Maria Ellia’s Middle Eastern Spiced chicken recipe is a solid gold favourite in my house which came as a surprise to me considering the amount of all-spice in the recipe. And so it was without hesitation that I tried Ottolenghi’s kofta recipe which is also heavy on the all-spice. Amongst other things. This recipe can be taken and made your own by adding more of the flavours you like and will stand up to being made if you don’t have some of the ingredients on hand. I think the base of this kofta recipe would be really lovely made with lentils and chickpeas for a vegetarian alternative, for now let’s just try the original. I have made this with lamb and beef mince, as it specifies in the recipe, and also with lamb only and I am sure it would be just as delicious with beef only mince. I recommend whipping out the food processor for this one. Even though it adds to the washing up, you’ll get through the preparation much quicker and you’ll get the fine texture needed to make these tasty little meat balls easy to roll and light to eat. You can pan-fry the kofta, but I find oven-baking any meatball kind of dish to be a better way because you get less smoke and smell, and you use less fat.
Lamb or Beef mince Kofta Recipe
500g lamb/beef mince
1 small onion
2 cloves garlic
50g toasted pine nuts
handful of flat leaf parsley
1 tsp cinnamon
1.5 tsp allspice
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1 lemon (optional)
Oven at 180C
In a food processor whiz up the onion, garlic, pine nuts and parsley till they almost form a paste.
Pour this mixture into a bowl and add all the spices and seasoning. Give it a mix.
Now add the mince and mix through with your hands. Form into meat balls or torpedo-shaped morsels to be more authentic.
Place on an oven tray covered in foil and bake in the oven till brown and cooked through.
If you want, baste the kofta in a mixture of lemon juice and olive for another dimension of flavour and a lovely glossy finish.