Sunday, June 2, 2013

NEW RECIPE: Lamb Kofta with Zatt'ar Bread and Cucumber Yogurt Salad

© Constantine William Spyrou

I love watching television, especially cooking shows. One of my favorite shows to watch is MasterChef, where home cooks compete to see which one of them is the best home cook out of the thousands that apply for the competition. I hope to one day apply for the competition (maybe during a gap year of school) and hopefully make it to the elite 18 competitors that get to enter the kitchen. While that's a distant dream from now, one thing I do want to do is try out each of the challenges the current home cooks get that requires them to make their own recipes- Mystery Box Challenges, Recipe challenges, and Elimination Challenges. I'll post what I would have done as a recipe each time a challenge comes up on this blog!

The first challenge the home cooks had was to make the most awesome dish ever with lamb under an hour. For me, lamb is a strong point and my favorite meat to cook. I do prefer roasting lamb, however, which takes hours. I can do other lamb dishes too, fortunately. One of my favorites is the Middle Eastern classic- lamb kofta. These meatballs are extremely flavor-packed and delicious. Growing up in a Middle Eastern environment has helped me learn many of the flavors and what goes great with lamb. As a result, I added a bright and flavorful cucumber salad to help balance out the dish and add color, and added zatt'ar bread (with the zatt'ar spice made from scratch!) to add a slight sour but savory note to the dish. Hopefully, it's a dish that the judges would've approved of! 

Recipe makes 2 servings.

For the Zatt'ar spice:

1/4 cup sumac
3 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves
1 tablespoon toasted white sesame seeds
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp ground caraway seed
2 tbsp dried oregano
2 tbsp dried marjoram

For the Zatt'ar bread:

2 pieces of pita bread
Around 2/3rds of the zatt'ar spice
4 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons lemon zest
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

For the Cucumber Salad:

1/4 cup sliced cucumber (I like it shaved into ribbons for this, use your vegetable peeler to make these long thin ribbons).
2 tablespoons plain yogurt
2 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp chopped mint
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp zatt'ar spice
Salt and pepper to season

For the Kofta:

12 ounces ground lamb
2 tbsp fresh chopped parsley
1 tsp sumac
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp cumin
2 tsp zatt'ar spice
1 tbsp fresh chopped mint
1 tbsp lemon juice
Salt and pepper to season


1. Combine the zatt'ar spice, lemon juice, and olive oil for the zatt'ar bread and mix to form a paste. Spread about 1-2 tablespoons of this on top of the pita bread, and toast in an oven at 350 degrees F for about 3 minutes, or until the pita is even toasted on bottom and the zatt'ar paste has started to harden on top. Set aside to cool.

2. Combine all of the ingredients for the cucumber salad into a bowl and mix well. Set aside to chill for about 10-20 minutes to let the flavors combine.

3. Combine all of the kofta spices together with the ground lamb and mix well. Form into about 6 2-oz elongated patties (almost like a flattened football). Cook in a hot pan with olive oil for about 2 minutes on each side.

4. Place 3 cooked meatballs in a stack, plating the cucumber salad and zatt'ar bread next to it.

The binding ingredients for this recipe are the zatt'ar and lemon. Being present in each part of the dish allows all of the elements to combine together well and impart a great overall flavor that will last. Having the sour notes of each also cuts through the rich lamb flavor. 

I hope you enjoy this dish! Let me know what you think and what you would change! If you make it, tell me how it turns out! Enjoy! =) 

No comments:

Post a Comment