Meaty beef Kofta

Somehow I managed to miss eating Kofta in Israel although I certainly ate my fair share of kebab so when I saw this recipe I had to try it. The picture in Ottolenghi’s book “Jerusalem” makes these Kofta jump off the page and unfortunately my pictures below don’t quite do them justice but the taste was divine. I couldn’t find minced lamb in Italy as it is not eaten much here except at Easter so I made mine out of beef mince which seemed to work well. I do love lamb though so can imagine how tasty they must be following the true recipe of 50/50 beef and lamb.

The sauce is a lovely touch as adds some necessary moisture as the Kofta are solid meat balls. I’ve learnt how to make a substitute tahini in the process which whilst nowhere near as creamy as the real deal, worked well and had a powerful sesame flavour. It also means you can make this dish whenever you like without needing to buy in tahini especially.

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Ingredients: 800g beef mince (or 400g beef / 400g lamb mince), 1 small onion (chopped finely), 2 cloves garlic, 50g toasted pine nuts, 30g chopped parsley, 1 red chilli, 1-2 tsp of ground cinnamon, 1 tsp pimento, 1tsp ground nutmeg, 1-2 tsp ground black pepper, 1-2 tsp salt.

Sauce: 150g light tahini, 3 tsp lemon juice, 120ml water, 1 clove garlic, 30g unsalted butter, paprika.

*To make your own tahini simply dry bake sesame seeds in the oven for  c. 10 mins and then blend with olive oil until smooth.

Preparation: 45 mins- 1 hr plus cooking time

  1. Put all of the ingredients for the kofta in a large bowl and mix well.

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2. Take 1 tbsp of mix at a time and roll into a Kofta shape (wet your hands first so that the mix doesn’t stick to your fingers. Once done put the Kofta in the fridge for a couple of hours until ready to cook.

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3. Meanwhile prepare the sauce by blending the tahini, water, lemon juice, garlic and salt. It should be nice and runny so add extra water if it looks too thick. Preheat the oven to 200C ready for the Kofta.

4. Take the kofta and lightly fry in olive oil in a large pan until golden for c. 5-6 minutes and then transfer into an oven dish.

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5. Place the Kofta into the oven to finish cooking for a further 2-4 minutes. Then pour over the tahini sauce mix and pop back in the oven for a final 1-2 minutes.

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Sprinkle some extra pine nuts and parsley over to serve and enjoy hot!

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