With a glass of Pinot and a salad at the side, this is seriously heaven.
With a glass of Pinot and a salad at the side, this is seriously heaven.

Serves 6

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.

Ingredients

150gm light tahini paste
3 tbsp lemon juice
120ml water
1 medium garlic clove, crushed
2 tbsp sunflower oil
30gm of unsalted butter (or ghee)
Sweet paprika to garnish
Salt
Chopped flat-leaf parsley

Kofta

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

Method

  1. Put all the kofta ingredients in a bowl and using your hand, mix well together.
  2. 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.
  3. Preheat the oven to 200c.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. Melt the butter in a small saucepan and allow it to brown a little ensuring it doesn’t burn.
  8. 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.

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