Lamb Kofta

Whether you spell it kofta, kefteh, or koftah, these middle eastern grilled meatballs are to die for. They're actually very quick to make, which makes them great for a weeknight. If you don't want to use skewers, shape them into oblong patties and place perpendicular to the grill grates. Yields enough for 4 to 6 people.

Ingredients:

  • ¼ large red onion (½ small)
  • 1 bunch cilantro tenders (the stems up to the leaves)
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 pound 80% lean ground lamb
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika (aka pimentón)
  • 1 teaspoon ground fennel seed
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • ½ teaspoon ground coriander seed
  • ½ teaspoon chile flakes
  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano
  • Oil

Equipment:

  • Bamboo or metal skewers, two per kofta
  • Grill or grill pan
  1. Very finely mince the onion. Cut off the bottommost inch off the cilantro, then finely mince from the cut stem end up to about where the leaves start. Press, grate, or finely mince the garlic. In a large mixing bowl, combine the onion, cilantro stems, garlic, and lamb.
  2. To the lamb mixture, add the remaining ingredients. Mix very thoroughly and set aside.
  3. If using bamboo skewers, soak in hot water at least 15 minutes. If using a grill, set up for two-zone grilling, with the coals banked up on one side and a hot grate. If using a grill pan, heat over medium-high heat.
  4. To form the kofta, take a large palmful of the meat mixture and form it into an oblong shape around two skewers. It may help to pinch the ends down onto the skewers. Use the flat of your palm to squeeze the meat down into shape. Lightly brush each kofta with oil.
  5. Grill about 5 minutes, then flip and grill another 3 to 5 minutes. When done, let rest a few minutes before serving.