Recently, I ate dinner at a restaurant that served Azerbaijani ground lamb on a skewer, and the taste exploded on my tongue. If you need a geography refresher, Azerbaijan is just to the east of Armenia (which is just to the east of Turkey). The meat was perfectly flavored and tender and let’s be honest…any kind of food on a stick is just more fun than the rest. I found myself on a mission to make something similar and ended up with a mashup of kofta – basically seasoned ground meat usually shaped into meatballs – and kebab.
I polled my Facebook readers (if you haven’t, go like my page now because I post up content that doesn’t make it onto my website…unashamed self-promotion!) to see if they’d prefer lamb or beef in a recipe (this one) – and a majority said beef. Kofta can come in many variations with different ground meats, so I decided to make mine with a mixture of lamb and beef. To be honest, ground lamb straight up is too strong for my tastebuds! If you wanted, you could do all beef, all lamb or something else.
If you don’t have skewers, you could make these into meatballs or even burger patties. Let your creativity and your tastebuds be your guide…no need to be fussy! I served mine with two dipping sauces – a Paleo version of an Indian raita and a lemony herb sauce. Both were super damn tasty but are in no way mandatory.
Prep time: 20 min Cook time: 15-20 min Makes: ~12
- 1.5 lb ground lamb (I used half lamb / half beef)
- 1/2 cup onion, minced
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 Tbsp mint leaves, chopped
- 1 Tbsp flat-leaf parsley, chopped
- 2 tsp paprika
- 2 tsp ground cumin
- 2 tsp coriander seeds (or 1 tsp ground coriander)
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1/2 tsp ground ginger
- Soak 24 bamboo skewers in water for at least 6 hours.
- Preheat the oven to 350F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil or parchment paper.
- Combine the ground beef with the onion, garlic, salt, herbs and spices in a large bowl. Mix well with your hands to distribute the ingredients.
- Shape the meat into sausage-sized cylinders around two skewers (about 1/3 cup meat per skewer). Place in a single layer on the baking sheet.
- Bake for 15-20 minutes or until the meat is cooked through but not overdone. You could also grill the skewers.
- Serve with lemon herb sauce or Paleo cucumber mint raita for dipping.