2000s Recipes + Menus

Lamb Köfte with Tarator Sauce

Serves4 to 6
  • Active time:40 min
  • Start to finish:1 hr
June 2008
Köfte are a street-food favorite in the Middle East. The warm, irresistible flavor of this version comes from a combination of allspice, cinnamon, clove, and Aleppo pepper, a Syrian chile with a mild kick.

Learn the story behind this dish in our column, The Recipe.
  • 3 slices firm white sandwich bread, torn into pieces
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1/2 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 1/2 lb ground lamb
  • 1 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 teaspoon Aleppo pepper or 1/2 tsp hot red-pepper flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • Equipment:

    20 (8- to 10-inch) wooden skewers, soaked in water 30 minutes
  • Accompaniments:

    tarator sauce; chopped tomatoes; chopped onion; pita bread
  • Soak bread in water to cover 30 minutes, then squeeze gently to remove as much water as possible.
  • Pulse onion in a food processor until finely chopped. Add parsley and pulse to finely chop. Add lamb, bread, spices, and 1 tsp salt and pulse until combined.
  • Divide mixture into 20 portions (about 1/4 cup each), forming each into a ball. Roll each ball into a 5-inch-long “cigar.” Slide a skewer lengthwise through center of each.
  • Prepare grill for direct-heat cooking over medium-hot charcoal (medium-high heat for gas); see “Grilling Procedure.”
  • Oil grill rack, then grill köfte, covered only if using a gas grill, rotating a quarter turn occasionally, until just cooked through, about 5 minutes total.
Cooks’ note: Köfte can be broiled in batches on an oiled broiler pan 3 to 4 inches from heat, rotating a quarter turn occasionally, until just cooked through, about 8 minutes total.
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