Kofta with Spiced Chickpea and Chevre Salad

I ADORE lamb. Ok, that’s out, as a confession and a warning that this year, there will probably be lots of lamb and chevre recipes. I am on an elevated protein diet, thus I am able to eat entrees that feature both meat and cheese. This is not recommended to everyone for every night, but will drive my food searches for the next few months, anyway.

This lovely entrée comes courtesy of Yoham Ottolenghi and What Ryan Eats. Thanks so much to both, adaptations to include chevre are my own.

Spiced Chickpea Salad:

  • 1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 large cucumber, chopped
  • 2 medium ripe tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 small red onion, peeled and chopped
  • 1/4 cup flat leaf parsley, chopped
  • 1/3 cup cilantro, chopped
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • zest from 1 lemon
  • 2 teaspoons sherry vinegar
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground coriander seed
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper

Mix together the cumin, coriander, 1 tsp salt, and 1/2 tsp pepper on a plate. Toss the chickpeas in the mixture until thoroughly coated. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a pan over medium-high heat and add the spiced chickpeas. Saute for about 4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Set aside.

In a small bowl combine the remaining olive oil, lemon juice, sherry vinegar, and sugar. Emulsify, then add salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.

In a large bowl, combine the herbs and vegetables and mix well. Add the emulsified dressing and toss lightly. Place salad on a plate with a wide crater in the middle. Fill the crater with spiced chickpeas.

Kofta with chevre-yogurt Tzatziki and Pomegranate Seeds:

  • 1 lb. ground lamb
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped (plus more for garnish)
  • 1/4 cup flat leaf parsley, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons chives, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons dill, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 cup bread crumbs, maybe more
  • 1/2 cup plain yogurt mixed with 2 Tbps room temp chevre
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped cucumber
  • 1/4 cup pomegranate seeds
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Olive oil for cooking

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a skillet on medium heat. Add the onions and saute for 3-5 minutes until translucent, stirring frequently. Add the garlic and saute for another minute. Spoon into large bowl and add the lamb, herbs, spices, eggs, bread crumbs, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Mix thoroughly. Chunks of the mixture should stay together with ease. If it needs more cement, add more bread crumbs.

Heat 2 tablespoons of oil over medium-high heat in your skillet. While the oil is heating, form your meat mixture into torpedo-like shapes, about 2 inches long. Fry your kofta torpedoes until dark brown on the bottom (about 2-3 minutes) then flip and do the other side. You may have to do this in batches. When they’re all done, put them in the oven for 7-8 minutes.

While your torpedoes are in the oven, mix your yogurt-chevre and finely chopped cucumber. Grind some pepper in the mixture to taste. This is your tzatziki.

Take the kofta out and plate them. Drizzle tzatziki over the top, then sprinkle with cilantro and pomegranate seeds.

Salad recipe directly adapted from Ottolenghi’s Jerusalem, p. 56. Kofta recipe loosely adapted from the principles on pages 192-199.

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