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Saturday, February 21, 2009

Turkish Lamb Kefta with Almond Tahini Sauce

Seasonal Recipe of the Week
I love lamb, especially New Mexican Lamb, so when I found this recipe for Turkish Lamb Kefta I knew I had a winner. Note: you need to make the meat mixture a day in advance.

Ingredients for meatballs
1 teaspoon Caraway seeds
1/2 teaspoon Cumin seeds
14 ounces ground lamb
1 onion grated
1 garlic clove crushed
1/2 teaspoon paprika
2 tablespoons fresh chopped mint leaves
6 black olives pitted and finely chopped

Ingredients for sauce
1/2 cup blanched almonds
1 slice white bread cut into small pieces
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Pinch Saffron threads
1 tablespoon Tahini
3 cups chicken stock
2 tablespoons vegetable oil

Start by toasting Caraway and Cumin seeds in a hot, dry frying pan for about 15 seconds, shaking the pan constantly to keep them from burning. Next, place seeds in a spice grinder or mortar and pestle and crush to a fine powder. Then combine spices with all meatball ingredients and mix well. Using wet hands, form meat mixture into meat balls about 1 inch in diameter. Place on a plate, cover with plastic and refrigerate overnight.

To make the sauce, fry and almonds and bread cubes in the olive oil till golden in color. Transfer to a blender and add the saffron, Tahini, and 3/4 cup chicken stock and blend till smooth.

Heat the vegetable oil in a frying pan and add the meatballs, frying on all sides to seal in the flavor. Add the saffron sauce and remaining stock, bring to a boil and then turn down to a simmer and cook gently for 20 minutes till meatballs are cooked all the way through. Thin sauce with a little water if necessary. Transfer meatballs to a platter and pour sauce over the top.