By Joanie Simon
Last week I hosted my first Test Kitchen Dinner Party. I was joined by 13 folks at The Henry with discriminating tastes who gave me real, live, feedback on recipes I have been testing. They cheerfully sat through appetizers, an entree and two desserts, giving me great suggestions on changes and opportunities for improvement. I’m still working out some details on the recipes, but I have tweaked the Kofta I presented and it’s here, ready for your cooking pleasure.
Kofta is a general term used for a variety of Middle Eastern meatball/meatloaf/kebab/ground meat dishes, infused with aromatic spices and vegetables. You’ll see it a lot of times in a meatball or tube form, speared with a skewer, but I opted for the prettier patty presentation. It’s up to you on how to shape your kofta.
I served these over Lundberg Family Farms Quinoa and Rice mix and sautéed zucchini, but the class concurred that these would also make great burgers. No matter how you serve them, it’s a fun way to dress up ground beef.
This recipe was initially inspired when the friendly folks at Arizona Grass Raised Beef Company sent me some of their 85/15 ground. It’s important to note that this is what we call “the good stuff”. It’s not mealy like some ground beefs. It has a deeper red color, is less sticky (I know, lovely descriptor) and cooks up with a clean beefy flavor. The folks in the class said they could taste the difference.
Combine in a large bowl: 16 ounces ground beef, 1/4c diced red pepper, 1/4c diced red onion, 2 smashed cloves garlic, a dash of seasoned salt, 1T minced mint, 1/2 tsp ground smoked paprika, 1 egg, 1/4 cup breadcrumbs, 1/4 tsp cinnamon, 1/8 tsp ground fennel, 1/8 tsp allspice, 1/4 tsp coriander, 1/2 tsp cumin, 1/4 tsp salt, 1/4c minced flat leaf parsley and 1T plain greek yogurt. Mix it all up until well incorporated, but be careful not to over mix so as to kill the lightness and texture of your kofta.
From there, depending on how you want to serve them, if you’re going for patties, grab a little handful of meat, and smash into a round patty. If you’re doing burgers, make them a bit bigger. Certainly you could make them meatballs, too. The options are endless!
After that, heat a skillet over medium high heat with a little bit of oil and pan fry your kofta on each side, getting a good caramelization on the outside and cooking to desired doneness in the center. These certainly could be grilled, too.
Once they are cooked, serve them over a bed of your choice of grains, sautéed zucchini, and drizzled with yogurt sauce (blend together 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt, 1 T mint, 1 tsp lemon juice, 1 clove garlic and salt to taste). Garnish with more parsley.
*Lundberg Family Farms and Arizona Grass Raised Beef Company provided the ingredients for this recipe, though all opinions and thoughts expressed in this post are my own.