I have been home almost a week and one half now. My jet lag has waned but my memories of my wonderful trip to Istanbul and other parts of Turkey are still sharp in my mind. I think I will try my hand at making lamb meat kufte today. The lamb kufte along with stuffed tomatoes, lentil soup, and some cut up Persian cucumbers should make a nice dinner that my husband and I will enjoy. I drove over to my kosher butcher shop Doheney Kosher Meat on Pico Boulevard and purchased two pounds of ground lamb.
I was very impressed with the clean organic flavors of Turkish food on my trip. They use a lot of vegetables, fresh herbs, and mild seasoning along with a few chilies here and there. The tomatoes are incredible as everything is fresh harvest and Turkey’s climate and soil makes for great produce.
Nothing tastes like meat grilled over an open flame from charcoal but I will be satisfied with my outdoor gas grill. We switched to gas many years ago when my brother-in-law the oncologist said it wasn’t good to eat charcoal grilled foods as many times a week as we grill. Oh well, I made up my recipe from bits and pieces I gathered from people in Turkey. Everyone was eager to share his or her twist on how to do kufte. There is literally a kufte restaurant on every corner and on every stretch of highway!
2 pounds fresh ground spring lamb
½ cup finely chopped onion
1/3 cup chopped mint
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
½ to one teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
1-2 tablespoons baharat seasoning
¼ cup olive oil
¼ cup cold water
½ cup panko crumbs
Additional oil for brushing the outside
Preheat your grill to medium high. Combine the lamb with all the ingredients and mix well. Form into torpedo shaped ovals and set on a plate. You can make between 12 to 15 kufte from two pounds of ground lamb. Brush the kufte with a little olive oil and place them on the grill using a tongs or your hands. Grill them and when they have blackened grill marks, give them a turn. They only need a few minutes on each side, like hamburgers. When the kufte reach the desired doneness, remove them from the grill, and place them on a clean plate. I served them with grilled onions, and rice stuffed tomatoes.