Friday, March 7, 2014

Out Like a Lamb Keftas

In like a lion out like a lamb. That is the old expression used to describe the month of March and its frequently unreliable weather. March also brings with it other harbingers of Spring like daffodils, asparagus and robins. Lamb is a common ingredient in many vernal recipes and meals, but none more versatile than the kefta. Keftas are made with ground meat, usually lamb, mixed with Moroccan spices such as cumin, paprika, coriander and parsley. Cinnamon, chili pepper, and mint leaves are optional additions.

As the days get longer and warmer, these spicy sphereoids make the perfect excuse to break out the grill. Served with naan, tzaziki, feta and cucumbers, this meal hits all the flavor notes. Economical and easy to prepare, these skewered meatballs make a great option for party food, but be prepared to double the recipe because your guests are likely to gulp these skewers down before you can blink twice.

  • 1 ½ pounds ground lamb
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons ground cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon ground cloves
  • ½ teaspoon ground allspice
  • ½ teaspoon ground cardamom
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ½ Kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons fresh mint, chopped  

Prepare grill for cooking over medium-hot charcoal. In a large bowl, combine lamb with chopped onions, spices and mint. Mix until well blended. We use our hands to thoroughly combine all the ingredients. Form lamb mixture into meatballs about 2 inches in diameter.

Thread 5 or 6 meatballs onto each skewer. Now, you may be wondering how you are going to thread these keftas on a skewer and get them onto the grill without them falling into the coals. When skewering the meat, squeeze them onto the skewer. Refrigerating the meat will firm them up a bit. Use care when transferring them onto the grill where they will firm up quickly as they cook through.

When the coals are ready, lay the skewered meat on the grill and cook until lightly charred on the outside and the juices run clear when pierced with a knife or fork. Transfer to a platter and serve with assorted salad ingredients, minty yogurt dressing, feta cheese and pita bread or naan for a surprisingly satisfying and healthy meal.

And for those days that are still more like that proverbial lion and grilling is out of the question, the keftas can be broiled on baking pans set about 5 inches from the heat. Broil for about 3 minutes each side until golden brown and just cooked through.



Yum

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