Minced Lamb “Köfte” with Eggplant/Aubergine on a Skewer
Oven-baked Sweet and White Potatoes Chunks
Fall Beet, Apple, Walnut and Goat Cheese Salad
Köfte is a kebab variation which is popular in Turkey and Iran but also can be found in Macedonian, Armenian, and Romanian cuisine.
In good Turkish restaurants in Germany you can find it grilled with eggplant which is my favorite way. in the US, eggplant is the name for this beautiful vegetable; British-speaking people will know it as aubergine. In this recipe the flavoring of the spices and the meat gets soaked up by the eggplant slices and makes the kebab juicy instead of dry when it is grilled.
Here is a simple but yummy alternative to hamburgers on the grill or when you want to make something instead of hotdogs or brats alongside the hamburgers.
The lamb should be freshly ground if you can get it. You may grind it yourself using cubes of flank, breast and/or fore/lamb shank meat. If you are grinding yourself please note the following remarks:
- lamb should be ground just before you use it and used quickly after grinding
- fat and tendons should be removed before grinding
- when using a meat grinder you should grind fine or several time
- when using a food processor, make sure to use cubed meat and to pulse with the on/off button
- stirring after several pulses. Do not process continuously or the lamb will become a sticky paste.
I served these skewers with oven-baked sweet and white potato chunks accompanied by beet, apple, walnut and goat cheese salad. Pita bread can also be served with this as a side or you can put the Köfte in the pita bread with or without your favorite yogurt sauce as a Köfte sandwich.
Make the potatoes first so they can go in the oven, and then prepare the Köfte and eggplant skewers. The last thing to do is to make the salad while the skewers are grilling.
All recipes serve 4 persons
Minced Lamb Köfte with Eggplant/Aubergine
- 500 grams of minced lamb
- 1 tsp finely chopped mint leaves
- 2 tsp ground sumac
- ¼ cup of finely grated onion
- ½ tsp of ground cumin
- ½ tsp ground dried thyme
- ½ tsp ground coriander
- 2 tsps red paprika (sweet)
- ½ tsp red chili flakes
- ½ tsp ground black pepper
- 1 ½ tsps of salt for meat
- 1 TBSP salt for eggplant
- 1 TBSP of bread crumbs or fine bulgur
- 2 TBSP of finely chopped flat leaf parsley
- 2 – 3 small eggplants/aubergines
- 2 TBSP olive oil
- At least 4 metal skewers or pre-soaked wooden skewers
Putting it all together:
- Light your charcoal grill if using.
- Wash the eggplants and cut off the stem. Cut the eggplants in half lengthwise and then into 2 cm slices/wedges.
- Line a tray with several layers of paper towel, place the eggplant slices on the tray, sprinkle the slices with the salt, mix with your hands to
and let rest for 20 minutes on the paper towels
- In the meantime grind the meat if you are grinding it yourself
- Place ground meat in a bowl; add the mint, sumac, onion, cumin, thyme, coriander, paprika, chili flakes, black pepper, salt, and breadcrumbs or bulgur
- Mix thoroughly and keep cool into using.
- After the eggplant has rested for at least 20 minutes, squeeze it with the paper towels so as to drain off the liquid that was extracted by the salt.
Place in a bowl with olive oil, mix to coat.
- Light your gas grill now if using.
- Put a sheet of waxed or baking paper on your counter as a working space.
- Place your spiced meat, the skewers, the eggplant and a board or metal tray for the finished product in easy reach.
- Taking a skewer, stick a piece of eggplant onto the skewer through the middle from the skin side inwards so that it is skewered like a half moon
with the cut side towards the inside.
- Your hands will be oily from the eggplant but that is fine, now scoop about a tablespoon-full of meat into your hands, roll it like a meatball
and then shape it into a little log. Skew this through the middle so that it rests alongside the eggplant and fits the length of the slice.
Now add a slice of eggplant this time going through the open side first so that the meat is enclosed in the 2 half-moons of eggplant
- Use your hands to reshape and firm-up the eggplant and meat so that they hold well together.
- Repeat this sequence again and again until your skewer is full. You should be able to get 4 “eggplant/meat whoopee pies” on one skewer:
- Continue with a new skewer until meat and eggplant are used up.
- If you have meat left over shape it into a log or a patty and grill it with the skewers.
- Grill the skewers 5 minutes on each side taking care and adjusting either the heat (gas) or the height of the grill rack
so that the meat and eggplant brown but do not burn.
- Remove to serving tray and enjoy as mentioned in article!
Oven-baked Sweet and White Potato Chunks
- 2 medium-sized sweet potatoes
- 4 medium-sized white potatoes
- 3 TBSP olive oil
- 1 TBSP honey
- 1 tsp Grey Poupon or other spicy mustard
- 1 tsp salt
- ½ tsp peppercorns
- ½ tsp coriander seeds
- ½ tsp cumin seeds
- ½ tsp chili flakes
- ½ tsp dried thyme
- 1 TBSP balsamic vinegar
Putting it all together:
- Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius
- Grind the spices roughly in a mortar of pulsed in a coffee grinder.
- Wash and chop the white potatoes into wedges; place in a large bowl.
- Wash, peel and chop the sweet potatoes into wedges, add to bowl with white potatoes.
- Add the rest of the ingredients and mix well.
- Place in a rectangular baking pan.
- Bake for 10 minutes at 200 degrees C. Lower the temperature and bake another 25-30 minutes, taking care not to burn the potatoes.
Cover with foil if necessary.
- Turn and scrape with a spatula every 15 minutes.
- When done, turn off oven, cover with foil and let sit in oven until ready to serve.
Fall beet, apple, walnut and goat cheese salad
- 2 cooked beets
- 1 sour apple
- ¼ cup of roughly chopped walnuts
- ¼ cup of roughly chopped hard goat cheese
- ½ chopped yellow bell or Hungarian sweet yellow pepper
- 1 finely chopped spring onion, only white parts used
- Juice of 1 orange
- ½ tsp finely ground dried mint leaves
- 1 tablespoon of sherry or fruit vinegar (peach, currant or raspberry)
- 1 TBSP olive oil
- 2 tsp walnut oil
- Salt & fresh ground pepper to taste
Putting it all together:
- Using gloves and a plastic board dice the beets and place them in a salad bowl.
- Add the fresh squeezed orange juice.
- Peel, core and cube the apple to the size of the beet cubes. Add to the bowl and stir so as to prevent the apples from going brown.
- Add the walnuts and the hard goat cheese pieces.
- Add the chopped peppers, the onion, the mint leaves and the vinegar. Add the oils last.
- Mix and season with salt and fresh ground pepper.
Complete the meal with a dessert of choice if you still have room …..Yuummmmmm……