This recipe is from a book called ‘Jerusalem’ (Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi), bringing together recipes from the city; east and west. The book was a birthday present from our great friends, Woodles and Billy and they swear by it. After cooking this recipe, I do too.
This dish stood out immediately for two reasons.
Firstly, I love mince and anything to do with mince.
Secondly, it was a different sort of mince recipe than I had cooked before; mainly the use of the warmed tahini as a base and the burnt butter whilst serving.
What is really grabbing about it, is the presentation; it is beautiful and dramatic and perfect for a simple Sunday lunch with friends. I served it with a warm potato salad, though it would be well served with a salad of cucumber and tomato and some pita bread at the side.
150gm light tahini paste
3 tbsp lemon juice
1 medium garlic clove, crushed
2 tbsp sunflower oil
30gm of unsalted butter (or ghee)
Sweet paprika to garnish
Chopped flat-leaf parsley
400gm minced lamb
400gm minced veal or beef
1 small onion
2 large garlic cloves, crushed
50gm toasted pine nuts, roughly chopped, plus extra whole ones to garnish
30gm finely chopped flat-leaf parsley, plus extra to garnish
1 large red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
1½ tsp ground cinnamon
1½ tsp ground allspice
¾ tsp grated nutmeg
1½ ground black pepper
1½ tsp salt
- Put all the kofta ingredients in a bowl and using your hand, mix well together.
- Shape the koftas into long, torpedo-like fingers, roughly 8cm long. Press the mix to compress it and ensure the kofta is tight and keeps it shape. Set aside and refrigerate for up to a day.
- Preheat the oven to 200c.
- In a bowl, whisk together the tahini paste, lemon juice, water, garlic and ¼ teaspoon of salt; the sauce should be a bit runnier than honey and add one or two tablespoons of water if it is not.
- Heat the sunflower oil in a large frying pan (I used a griddle) and sear the kofta over a high heat; do this in batches so they are not cramped. Sear them on all sides until they are golden brown; around six minutes per batch. At this point they should be medium rare.
- Transfer the kofta to an oven tray and spoon the tahini sauce around the koftas. Place in the oven for a few minutes, both to cook the koftas a bit further (2 – 4 minutes depending on your preference) and to warm the sauce.
- Melt the butter in a small saucepan and allow it to brown a little ensuring it doesn’t burn.
- Spoon the butter over the koftas as soon as they come out of the oven; scatter with pine nuts and parsley and finely sprinkle paprika on top.