Ottolenghi/Jerusalem Lamb Kofta B'Sinyah with Fireworks Garlic Butter
I love to eat Mediterranean food. Anything with hummus and tahini...could there be any better condiments? I fell in love with this dish years ago. And I've made it several times since. The Kafta's make delicious morsels for entertaining. They look like little football shaped meatballs that you serve over a smooth and creamy tahini based sauce. Perfect for piercing with tooth picks and eating while socializing. My most recent iteration was trying to solve for overcooking the meatballs as outlined in Ottolenghi seminal book, Jerusalem. The method he uses seemed to dry out my kafta. He coaches us to brown them in a skillet in batches first and then to transfer them to the oven at 425. I found multiple times that through these steps, I over cook them somewhere and they become too dry. So I battled that outcome with two edits: 1. I added cooled melted garlic butter to the lamb mixture before browning them in the skillet. 2. I cooked them for less time in the skillet before finishing them in the oven.
Here's the adapted version:
Fireworks Chefs Butter style Kofta b'sinya with garlic butter
(makes 18 kafta- serves 6)
14 oz ground lamb
14 oz ground beef1 small onion, finely chopped
2 large garlic cloves, crushed
7 tbs toasted pine nuts
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
1 large medium to hot red chili, seeded and finely chopped (I used jalepeno or serrano)
2-4 tbs Fireworks Chefs Garlic Butter, melted
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp allspice
3/4 tsp grated nutmeg
1 1/2 tsp fresh ground pepper
1 1/2 tsp salt
2/3 cup light tahini paste
3 tbs fresh squeezed lemon juice
1/2 cup water
1 medium clove garlic, crushed
2 tbs sunflower oil
toasted pine nuts for garnish
sweet paprika for garnish
finely chopped parsley for garnish
Put all the kafta ingredients in a bowl and use your hands to mix everything together well. Then shape into long torpedo shaped meatballs, roughly 3 1/4 inches long. Press each one to make sure its compressed and tight to keep its shape. Arrange on a plate or baking sheet until you are ready to cook them, for up to 1 day. Cover.
Preheat the oven to 425. In a medium bowl , whisk together the tahini paste, lemon juice, water, garlic and 1/4 tsp salt. The sauce should be runnier than honey. Feel free to add 1 to 2 tbs more water.
Heat the sunflower oil in a large fry pan over med. high heat (I kept it at steady medium to ensure they didn't over cook) and sear the kafta. Do this in batches to keep from crowding them. He says to sear for 6 minutes per batch, until all sides are golden brown. They should be medium rare at this point. Take them out of the skillet and arrange on a baking sheet and cook 2-4 minutes for medium or well done. Turn off oven after the kafta come out.
On a large serving platter, spread the tahini sauce in an even coat. Place the kafta so it covers the dish. Spoon more tahini over the kafta but leave most of the meat exposed. You can place the platter in the oven for a minute to warm up the sauce a little.
If you have more melted butter, you can pour the rest over the kafta as soon as they come out of the oven. Scatter them with pine nuts and parsley and sprinkle with paprika. Serve and watch the fireworks fly! Sizzle. Spread. Boom.