These fragrant kofta—the meatballs of the Middle East—are tender little gems studded with spices, dried fruits and nuts. They’re incredibly simple to make and pair wonderfully with a crunchy cucumber-tomato salad.
Yield: 20 kofta
Active Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
2 small onions
13 ounces ground beef (20% fat)
13 ounces ground lamb
1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoon allspice
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon chili powder
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
Medium bunch flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
Medium bunch mint, leaves removed and finely chopped
1/3 cup pine nuts, toasted
1/3 cup dried currants
Olive oil, for browning
3/4 cup tahini
Juice of 2 lemons
4 medium to large cloves of garlic, minced
2 tablespoons champagne vinegar
1 tablespoon pomegranate molasses
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons raw honey
3 tablespoons water
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.
For the kofta, grate the onions, then squeeze and drain juices. Transfer to a large bowl with the rest of the ingredients and combine with hands until all the ingredients are fully incorporated. Roll 20 equal-sized meatballs, shaping the mixture into oval fingers by rolling between your palms. Arrange kofta on on baking tray in a single layer. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour.
Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat and sear the kofta on all sides until they’re golden brown, about 4 minutes, working in batches so they are not crowded in the pan. Re-arrange the kofta on the baking tray and bake in preheated oven for 8 to 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, whisk all of the ingredients for the tahini sauce together in a bowl. Season to taste with salt and if need be, thin with slightly more water.
Serve the kofta with either the sauce drizzled on top or served on the side for dipping.
Note: Cooked kofta can be frozen and re-heated as desired for a wonderful snack or easy dinner.
Photo credit: Paul Delmont
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