While really more of a middle-eastern dish, a traditional Turkish Lamb Kafta Kebab really straddles the line between middle-eastern and eastern European, given the similar cooking methods in some parts of Greece and other places in southeastern Europe. Like so much food of this region, a Turkish-style Lamb Kafta Kebab is a simple recipe that uses outstanding flavors – largely driven on the strength of bold seasonings and herbs.
While you can use beef for this recipe, lamb is the best choice and the one we would recommend making. If you avoid eating lamb or can’t find good ground lamb near you, beef works really great also.
1 pound finely ground lamb or beef
1 cup tightly packed washed and picked parsley
6 tablespoons fresh mint leaves or ½ teaspoon dry mint leaves
2 small onion or large shallot, cut up for food processor
1/4 teaspoon each ground cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg, combined
1/2 teaspoon salt, more to taste
1/2 teaspoon ground, black pepper, or to taste
6-8 wooden skewers
In a food processor, chop onion extremely fine. Add parsley and mint and pulse until you have a homogeneous mixture.
Put the meat in a large mixing bowl, add all ingredients and spices to meat, combine and mix thoroughly with your hands (I wear latex gloves). Place bowl in fridge for 30 minutes covered with plastic wrap (helps flavors of the mixture blend).
Soak skewers in water for a couple of hours or more to soften and avoid splintering (and thus, splinters being in the meat). Divide the mixture into evenly-sized balls and shape into football-shaped ovals; work them onto the skewers for ease of handling while cooking. Grill over medium charcoal fire or broil in oven until nicely browned.
Serve your lamb kafta kebab with flatbread, pita, or side salad. This dish is also great with a side of fresh middle-eastern spiced orzo.
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