Tag Archives: barbecue

Lamb and Chickpea Kofta with Kale and Tahini Salad

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As a rule of thumb I will only make kofta with freshly ground lamb mince. For this you will need to visit a respected butcher. The spices to flavour the meat are important. I use Middle Eastern flavours – cinnamon, all spice, and nutmeg. To heighten these spices I add smoked paprika and lemon zest.

Now, not traditional to a kofta mix, but something I think works a treat, are chickpeas. These need to be blended to a rough crumb and combined with chopped parsley and onion to the free-range lamb mince.

Kofta can be cooked in a fry pan, but for a taste that is hard to beat I cook them on the barbecue – rather slowly in fact. This gives them a chance to cook through properly without getting too dark in colour on the outside. This batch took 20 odd minutes to cook. That leaves plenty of time for laying the table, which if at all possible, setting a table in the garden and eating them out side only adds to the experience of this satisfying meal.

 

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A subtly spiced lamb kofta (not the prettiest of foods) needs two things. A good salad; enter kale. And a good sauce; enter tahini.

When crisp sprightly leaves of kale are shredded and steamed they soften and relax and suddenly the kale is vibrant and green with a milder flavour than when served raw. It’s delicious alongside these homemade kofta. Although the salad and kofta are good companions there is no reason why either one couldn’t be made as a dish on it’s own.

Tahini offers it’s versatility in this recipe as both a sauce and a salad dressing. It might be known that tahini – ground sesame seed paste – loves lemon juice, and garlic for that matter, and when combined with the simple pairings of salt and pepper makes a flavour worthy of both these dishes.

And then thee’s the grilled bread, it is optional, yet I find it hard to resist.

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Kale and tahini salad with Lamb and chickpea kofta

Ingredients 

For the kofta

500g lamb freshly ground free-range lamb mince

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp ground all spice

1/2 tsp nutmeg

3/4 tsp smoked paprika

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp white pepper

Zest of 1 lemon

1/2 cup chickpeas, drained and rinsed (use a 400g can of chickpeas and reserve the remaining chickpeas for the salad)

1/3 cup roughly chopped parsley

1 small onion, roughly chopped

1 clove garlic, chopped

For the salad

4 cups firmly packed shredded kale

Remaining chickpeas (use what’s left of the can from the kofta)

1/4 cup toasted sunflower seeds

2-3 small avocados (or 1 large)

For the dressing and sauce

3 tbsp tahini paste

1 large lemon, juiced

1 small clove garlic, minced

1 tbsp chopped parsley

Large pinch salt and cracked black pepper

To serve

Grilled pita bread or sliced tomatoes

For the kofta, place the lamb mince, spices, seasoning and lemon zest in a large bowl.

Place the chickpeas in a food processor and blitz to a small crumb, add to the mince. Put the onion, garlic and parsley in the food processor and chop finely, add to the mince. Use your hands to mix the kofta till well combined. Take small handfuls of kofta mince and shape using the palm of your hand into small sausage like cylinders. Place on a tray and set aside out of the fridge for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, steam the shredded kale for 2 minutes, rinse briefly under cold water to cool then squeeze the excess water from the kale, place in a large salad bowl. Add the remaining drained and rinsed chickpeas, sliced avocado and toasted sunflower seeds (make sure they’re cold).

For the tahini dressing, place all the ingredients in a small bowl and mix to combine. Check the seasoning and consistency, if the tahini dressing is too thick add a dash of hot water or a little extra lemon juice.

Pre heat a barbecue or a frypan (use a little oil if using a fry pan). Cook the kofta on a medium to low heat so the meat cooks slowly and cooks all the way through, turn regularly to ensure even cooking.  This can take 20 odd minutes on a low barbecue or if using a fry pan maybe 12 – 15 minutes.

Just before serving, take a few tbsp of tahini sauce and dress the salad, toss to combine. Serve the kofta with the remaining tahini sauce. To accompany the meal you might add some grilled pita bread or sliced tomatoes – this is optional.

Barbecued Lemon Myrtle Lamb Skewers

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It’s almost considered criminal to live in Australia and not cook regularly on a barbecue. It’s part of our heritage; part of our life style. When the weather warms up, we get out side and cook. It’s a fabulous thing.

Any occasion can warrant the excuse for a barbecue. Kids birthday – yep barbecue…Get together with friends, time for a barbecue…It’s too hot to cook in the house, crank up the barbecue…

There were a number of years there were I didn’t own a barbecue (shock horror). I had to get my fix of barbecued foods at other peoples houses. This was so un Australian of me. Then, I was given a barbecue as a gift. It was no Kmart job either. It was one of those small yet stylish type barbecues that runs on charcoal, or gas, or both. The gas element is great for when you’re in a hurry, and the slower method of cooking with the charcoal delivers a flavour that just can’t be matched on any indoor stove. I feel complete.

But let me tell you about these tasty lamb skewers. They have become my favourite.

You’ll need some preserved lemons.

Preserved lemon and lamb go together like presents and Christmas. The other special ingredient I’ve used in the marinade is Lemon Myrtle. Have you heard of it? It’s a native Australian bush herb. It’s fairly pungent, yet delicate in it’s lemon scented flavouring, which also highlights hints of lime.

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Truth be known, this lamb was only marinated for 3 hours. It most certainly can be marinated over night, and if I wasn’t trying to feed my husband’s work friends, who conveniently popped in that day, as well as get a shot of the lamb while the light was still good, I would of left the lamb to marinate longer.

I often serve lamb skewers with yoghurt sauce. On this occasion I snipped fresh mint from the garden, roughly chopped it, grated a cucumber and squeezed the excess water from it,  and added it to the yoghurt with extra virgin olive oil, black pepper and sea salt.

 

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Lemon myrtle lamb skewers

Ingredients  

800g free range lamb shoulder (ask your butcher for a lean piece)

1 preserved lemon

2 tsp ground lemon myrtle

3 cloves garlic, crushed

1/2 cup fresh oregano

1 tbsp rice bran or olive oil

Sea salt

Cracked black pepper

12 bamboo skewers

 

Dice the lamb into 3cm pieces. Remove the pith of the preserved lemon and discard the pulp, keeping only the rind. Roughly dice the rind and place in a food processor with lemon myrtle, garlic, oregano and oil, blitz till well combined. Pour over the lamb, gently massage it into the meat, and set aside to marinate in the fridge for 4 – 24 hours.

Soak 12 skewers in cold water for 15 minutes (this helps stop the wood from burning).

Pre heat a charcoal barbecue. Skewer the lamb evenly between the bamboo skewers. Season both sides with sea salt and cracked black pepper. Cook the lamb over a medium heat, for 8-10 minutes, turn regularly.

Set the lamb aside to rest for 5-10 minutes before serving. Serve lamb skewers with minted yoghurt and your favourite salads.