Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Lamb Koftas with Tomato, Basil, and Feta Salad

The first time I tried lamb was on a date with hubby (then-boyfriend) at Lebanese Taverna in McLean, Virginia. Being with a handsome, smart new guy was romantic enough, but the sights and smells really warmed the atmosphere.

When our meals were delivered to the table, the smell was overwhelming. I'd never smelled lamb, but wow. It was earthier than I would have expected (something I've come to love about it). Hubby took a bite and told me how much it reminded him of the local food he had in Iraq.

Since then, we've made lamb a couple times on our own and every time it has turned out fantastically. (Not because I'm a fantastic cook, but because lamb is so versatile and savory on its own!) I have found that too much lamb in dishes can be overload. For me, it's best when there's a smaller-than-usual quantity of lamb but with plenty of sauce (and naan or flatbread).

This recipe comes from The Confident Cook by Lauraine Jacobs. Because we don't have a propane tank for the outdoor grill at the moment, we used our grill pan (which I LOVE). That being said, we didn't use skewers for the koftas as they wouldn't have fit in the pan. No worries - just shape the lamb into the same oval cylinders as you would if you were using skewers and use tongs (rubber-tipped if you're using non-stick a pan) to flip.

Ingredients for Koftas:

  • 2 lbs minced lamb (ground lamb works, too)
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp ground fennel
  • 1 tsp spicy paprika
  • 1 large onion, very finely chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled and grated
  • small bunch fresh flat-leafed parsley, finely chopped
  • *I love lamb with Greek (plain) yogurt and recommend about 3/4 C for dipping and garnish. 
Ingredients for Salad:
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes
  • 8 oz. feta cheese
  • large bunch basil, shredded
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 tbsp EVOO
Directions for Koftas:
  1. Place all the kofta ingredients in a large bowl. Work the mixture together really well, kneading the spices into the meat. The longer you knead, the better the texture will become. Try to do this for at least five minutes.
  2. Wet your hands and work the mixture into longish oval cylinders to thread on to skewers. This should make about 12.

  3. Heat the grill, turn the heat to low and cook the skewered meat for about 10 minutes on one side, and then a further six minutes on the other. Times are approximate as it will depend on how thick your koftas are and how hot the grill is.

Directions for Salad:
  1. Slice the tomatoes in half. 
  2. Cut the cheese into cubes about the size of tomatoes.
  3. Combine the tomatoes and feta in a small serving bowl.
  4. Toss the shredded basil on top and dress with a little salt and pepper and the olive oil.

    Et voila!

    Shared here:


  1. Certainly one of the best dishes I've had in the last couple months; great flavors presented in a simple way, and easy to make, I think ;)

  2. This looks awesome. I would just love this recipe, thank you so much for sharing it.
    Miz Helen

  3. looks great...sure it taste fabulous too! happy weekend! :)

  4. Wow! These look amazing! I love Middle Eastern food and the flavors look like they marry together nicely. Thank you SO much for sharing this with Friday Potluck this week!