Beef & Pork Kofta Kebab
An interesting combination of spices are added to a mixture of beef and pork to create a traditional Middle Eastern dish known as Kofta. This flavorful meatloaf-style delight is usually formed as either a log or in balls and then grilled. There are many recipes for this food which vary from country to country and family to family using different blends of spices and meats. Depending on the region, kofta kebabs are served with sauces such as tzatziki or curries which add an additional dimension of flavor.
Toasting the whole spices in a dry skillet will enhance the flavors. I found a coffee grinder at a thrift store for only a few bucks that I reserve just for spices, but a mortar and pestle also will do the trick. Just like making meatloaf I find that nothing works better to combine the meat and spices than my hands. After the meat is well mixed I like to place it in the the fridge for a few hours to allow the flavors to come together. To check my spices I fry a small patty of the meat in a skillet to sample which gives me the opportunity to adjust the spices before forming the kebabs and grilling.
To form the kebab I take a handful of the meat and pack it into a ball then roll it between the palms of my hand into a cigar shape. Then I stick the skewer through the meat and squeeze in tight to the stick making final adjustments to the shape as needed. Grill the kebabs over direct heat. I cook each side about 6 or 7 minutes before turning a total of 4 times. If you mess with them too much especially in the beginning the meat can fall off of the skewer.
In the Mediterranean Kofta is often served with Tzatziki Sauce which brings a nice cool to the spicy flavors of the kebab, while in south Asia curries may accompany the dish. Regardless of the region a flat bread or Naan is typically eaten with this meal.
- ½ pound lean ground beef
- ½ pound fresh ground pork
- 3 Tablespoons onion finely minced
- 3 cloves garlic finely minced
- ½ cup parsley finely chopped
- 1 egg
- 3 teaspoons cumin seed roasted & ground
- 2 tablespoons ground coriander
- 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon allspice
- 1 teaspoon ginger
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons black pepper
- 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 12 wooded skewers soaked in water
Soak wooden skewers in water for several hours.
Toast all whole spices in a small dry skillet. Allow to cool and grind.
Mix meat and all spices together by hand in a large bowl.
Refrigerate meat mixture for several hours to allow the flavors to develop. This step can be skipped in the interest of time.
To check your spices form a small patty of the meat and fry in a skillet, adjust spices if needed and mix well to combine.
Form the Kofta by molding a handful of meat around each skewer into a cigar like shape.
Grill kebabs over medium high heat until browned and cooked through.
If you are using a packed sausage like Jimmy Dean reduce the amount of salt in the recipe by at least half. The packaged sausages contain quite a bit of sodium.
I like to chill the meat mixture for several hours before grilling to allow the flavors to develop however this step can be skipped to shorten the overall prep time.
Fry a small patty of the meat to taste your spices and adjust if needed before forming the kebab.