This is a basic, pan-regional recipe for minced lamb shaped onto skewers.
1 large onion, grated
1 tablespoon coarse salt
2 pounds lamb, ground twice
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/3 cup minced fresh cilantro
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon ground allspice
freshly ground black pepper to taste
olive oil for oiling skewers, lamb, and grill Olive Oil
1. Stir together the onion and salt in a small bowl and let stand for 15 minutes.
2. Place the lamb in a large bowl. Squeeze onion juice out of the salted onion through a very fine strainer or cheesecloth into the bowl with the lamb. Add the eggs, cilantro, cumin, thyme, allspice, and pepper, and mix thoroughly, kneading with your hands and pounding the meat against the side of the bowl with a wooden spoon, for 2 minutes. Let the mixture stand at room temperature for 1 hour.
3. Prepare a charcoal fire.
4. With moist hands, shape the lamb into 8 sausages, about 1 inch in diameter and 4 inches long, and taper the ends of the sausage shapes to keep the meat from slipping off the skewers during cooking. Oil 8 metal skewers, and put the skewers through each sausage. Oil the surfaces of each sausage.
5. Broil the kofta on an oiled grill, preferably about 4 inches above the hot coals, until evenly browned on the outside and pink on the inside. (Alternatively, the kofta may be broiled in oven, about 5 minutes per side.) Serve hot with tzatziki and pita on the side. The kofta may be slipped off the skewers and served in the pita with the tzatziki, tomatoes, and fresh parsley.
This is a basic, pan-regional recipe for minced lamb shaped onto skewers. Very important in all koftas is the smooth texture that comes from grinding the lamb twice and from the thorough mixing that it gets; it is kneaded like bread dough, very unlike the coarse American meat loaf and hamburgers where a quick and gentle mixing is the only way to keep the meat tender. Makes 8 skewers