Lamb Kofta

Inspiration: When it comes to Indian food, I can truly never get enough. I have just a handful of curries that I make over and over again at home, but I’d love to have many more recipes stashed away in my back pocket. So here’s to that goal.

What We Loved: This was a nice mild curry that was different than many of the other curries that we’ve eaten or made. A lot of times I’ve found that curries are very spicy, complex, and heavy (which I love), but this one had a nice mellow flavor that was a good chance of pace. I feel like the meaty, earthy flavor of lamb always goes so perfectly in curries, and we both really loved that the lamb was in the form of meatballs in this curry (meatballs are the best!). The lamb paired very well with the creamy sauce and the slightly understated flavor of the turmeric and other seasonings. We ate this curry alongside some simply buttered and salted green beans for a lovely meal.

Tips: The coconut milk definitely added just a touch of sweetness to this dish. If you want to avoid that, you could use cream or half and half instead. I also mistakenly added twice as much turmeric as needed (1 teaspoon instead of 1/2), so my dish might look a little more yellow than yours. I listed the correct amount in the recipe below.

Lamb Kofta
Source: Adapted from The Essential Asian Cookbook (Jane Bowring, Editor) 
Serves: 2-3

For the Meatballs
1 lb ground lamb
1/2 small onion, very finely diced
1 jalapeno, very finely diced
1 teaspoon ginger, minced
1 large clove garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
Kosher salt and black pepper, to taste

For the Sauce
1/2 small onion, finely sliced
1 jalapeno, very finely diced
1 teaspoon ginger, minced
1 large clove garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1 1/2 teaspoons ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
Kosher salt, to taste
1 tablespoon vinegar
Scant 3/4 cup water
5 oz coconut milk
3 oz Greek yogurt (I use Fage 0%)
Cilantro, to garnish

1. To form the meatballs, mix all of the ingredients together in a bowl. Roll into small meatballs (I was able to make 20) and place on a plate.

2. Heat a good pat of butter in a saute pan. Add the meatballs, and brown on all sides. Remove from the pan and set aside.

3. Heat another pat of butter in the pan if necessary. Add the onion, jalapeno, ginger, garlic, and turmeric. Stir to combine, and cook until the onions are softened.

4. Add the coriander, cumin, chili powder, Kosher salt, vinegar, and water to the pan. Gently return the meatballs to the pan. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes.

5. Mix in the coconut milk and yogurt, and simmer uncovered for about 10-15 minutes more, until the sauce is nice and thickened.

6. Serve garnished with cilantro.

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: When I first started cooking seriously, I’d have big ambitions to make these huge, exotic meals every night, and a lot of nights I’d try to. Back then, though, I wouldn’t take my time so much, or I wouldn’t use the best ingredients, or I wouldn’t adjust the seasonings and ingredients in the recipe here and there to our tastes….and as a result, a lot of times the final meal was underwhelming. One of those meals was my first shot at moussaka. It turned out okay enough, but if it tells you anything, I haven’t made it since then and I didn’t even keep the recipe. Which is a sad thing, because for some reason, I’ve always had this romantic fascination with this dish. I don’t know what it is, but something in me has always needed to find a fabulous moussaka recipe for our repertoire. Color me weird if you’d like :)

What We Loved: This was one of those great meals that I could just tell was going to be fabulous while everything was still simmering away in the pan. I love when that happens. The aromas in the kitchen while this is cooking are amazing - so complex, spicy, and earthy – and the taste is just as perfect. The casserole is made with beautiful and comforting lamb and vegetables, like you’d find in a stew; a lovely combination of sweet and savory spices (we love that cinnamon in there); delightfully creamy eggplant; and a rich, cheesy topping. One of the best things about this meal is the way that the eggplant transforms itself into a soft, creamy, almost sweet layer in this dish – it’s such a treat.  Throwing in a myriad of slightly sweet spices with all of the other savory ingredients really makes the flavor of the final dish so intense and complex, and the yogurt topping is surprisingly creamy with a nutty bite of Parmesan. We ate this three nights in a row without ever tiring of it (and in fact looking forward to it each night), with more leftover for lunch. I’m so glad that we’ve finally found a great moussaka recipe to hang onto as a staple in our recipe collection.

Tips: I told Brandon while we were eating that the only thing that I would change about this recipe would be to add more of the yogurt topping. It’s delicious! So I might recommend doubling if it you’re so inclined (or instead, maybe making about 1/2 more of the original recipe, as doubling might result in too much). I’ve written the recipe below as I made it (not doubled).

Source: Adapted from Simply Delicious

1 lb ground lamb
1 large leek (or two medium-sized ones), cleaned and finely sliced
4 large carrots, peeled and finely diced
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 bay leaves
2 teaspoons cinnamon
2 teaspoons cumin
2 teaspoons paprika
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon cloves
1 tablespoon dried oregano
14.5 oz can diced tomatoes
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 cups water (or stock)
2 eggplants, sliced into 1/4 inch slices (use your judgement on how many eggplants you need – you want enough slices in the end to make two layers in a 9 x 13 casserole)
Extra virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and black pepper
16 oz thick Greek yogurt (I used Fage)
2 eggs
1 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese

1. Saute the lamb over medium heat in a large saute pan until about halfway cooked through. Add the leeks and carrot. Season to taste with salt and pepper, mix well, and continue sauteeing until the lamb is cooked through and the vegetables are softened.

2. Add the garlic and bay leaves, and mix together. Stir in the cinnamon, cumin, paprika, nutmeg, cloves, and oregano.

3. Add the diced tomatoes and tomato paste, and mix together. Add the water or stock, bring to a boil, and then reduce to a simmer. Simmer uncovered until the mixture is nice and thick, about 20-30 minutes. Cook longer if necessary to allow the liquid to reduce.

4. While the lamb mixture is cooking, place the eggplant slices onto baking sheets, drizzle generously with olive oil, and season well with salt and pepper. Place in a 350 degree oven for about 25 minutes or so, until they eggplant slices are lgihtly roasted/wrinkly.

5. Combine the Greek yogurt, eggs, Parmesan, about 1 teaspoon salt, and a good sprinkling of fresh black pepper. Mix well to combine.

6. Remove the bay leaves from the lamb mixture. Taste for salt, adding more if necessary. Spread a little bit of the mixture onto the bottom of a 9 x 13 baking dish. Add a layer of roasted eggplant, followed by half of the lamb mixture. Repeat one more time, adding the second half of the eggplant and the second half of the lamb mixture.

6. Pour the yogurt mixture over the casserole, spreading it out into an even layer.

7. Bake at 350 degrees for about 25 minutes. Allow to set for about 10 minutes before serving.

Charcoal-Grilled Leg of Lamb with Rosemary and Garlic

Inspiration: Sundays were just made for dinners like these, right? A meal that’s a little more involved, something fancy or some good comfort food, a nice bottle of wine. What a perfect way to wind down from the weekend and start the week.

What We Loved: There were a few aspects of this dish that we really enjoyed – the charcoal/grilled flavor that was absorbed into the meat, the seasoned crust, and the taste of the lamb itself. When we each took our first bites, we were somewhat surprised by how much of the charcoal flavor that the lamb picked up. It was extremely noticeable and fabulous. And as lamb has a somewhat earthy flavor on its own, earthy rosemary is always a super pairing. This recipe combines rosemary with plenty of garlic to add a nice depth of flavor and seasoning to the lamb, and the meat itself is rich and tender. I roasted some zucchini, yellow squash, and onions and served them alongside this lamb with a side of tzatziki sauce for an all-around great meal.

Tips: We grilled this directly over the coals for the entire duration without flipping, which resulted in a charred crust on the bottom. In spots it was a little too charred, so we might suggest flipping the meat a time or two to create more even browning. The reason that we didn’t flip the meat was because we had a meat thermometer inserted into the middle and sticking out of the top, and I didn’t want to mess with moving it around after we started cooking. Sticking the thermometer into the end or side of the meat would be a nice way to solve that problem and allow you to flip the meat as needed. Also – we had a  small cut of meat (2.25 lbs), so the cooking time was relatively short – about an hour. If you use a large cut, grilling over indirect heat would probably be necessary.

Charcoal-Grilled Leg of Lamb with Rosemary and Garlic
Source: Adapted from Emeril Lagasse

1 leg of lamb, bone in (ours was about 2.25 lbs)
Juice from 1/2 small lemon
Extra virgin olive oil
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
1-2 tablespoons minced fresh rosemary
Kosher salt and black pepper

1. Remove the lamb from the fridge and let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes. Drizzle with olive oil and the lemon juice, using your hands to rub the liquids into the meat.

2. Using your hands, pat the rosemary and garlic all over the outside of the lamb. Sprinkle with Kosher salt and black pepper.

3. Insert a meat thermometer into the end of the lamb, inserting it into the middle and away from the bone. Grill on a charcoal grill until the meat reaches an internal temperature of 125 degrees for rare, about an hour. Flip while cooking to ensure even browning.

Broiled Lamb Chops with Lemon and Herbs

Inspiration: Thank you CSA for a lovely cut of lamb chops. They’re such a spring meal, aren’t they? And no other ingredient says spring to me more than lemon, so this was a perfect match. Now if only the weather would start cooperating? Stuck in the 30s-40s with frost on the car every morning and a “snowy mix” in the forecast for tomorrow is not making me a happy girl.

What we Loved: Brandon taught me that the best way to prepare lamb chops is to cook them with the rack in tact. That way, when you slice them apart, they’re still nice and pink all of the way through. This recipe took a completely different approach – slicing them and then broiling them. We were worried that the lamb chops would be cooked through way too much and dried out, but what a pleasant surprise these turned out to be! They were so juicy and tender from the marinade, which had all of the lovely flavors of rich olive oil, tart lemon, and earthy seasonings. I still can’t believe how tender and delicious they were. We added a bright squeeze of lemon juice on top, and that was really the finishing touch. I wouldn’t change a thing.

Helpful Hints: All of the measurements below are approximate, since I didn’t really measure. But you don’t really need to – just add enough of all of the ingredients to coat your lamb chops, depending on how big they are. And make sure to allow two hours to marinate! I like to use a freezer bag to marinate, since it allows the marinade to seep completely around the meat, but you can of course just use a baking dish or bowl as well.

Broiled Lamb Chops with Lemon and Herbs
Source: Adapted from Food Network, originally from Family Circle Magazine

Scant 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 large clove garlic, minced
Juice from 1/2 large lemon
1/2 teaspoon herbes de Provence
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
4 lamb chops

1. Add the oil, garlic, lemon juice, herbs, salt, and pepper to a large Ziploc or freezer bag.

2. Add the lamb chops to the bag, coating them in the mixture. Seal the bag, squeezing out as much of the air as possible.

3. Marinate in the fridge for two hours.

4. Heat the broiler. Broil the chops about four inches away from the heat for three minutes. Flip, and broil for three minutes more. Remove and let rest for 5 minutes before serving.

Lamb Chops with Blueberry Pan Sauce

Inspiration: One of my favorite things about being in a meat CSA is digging through our share to find a cut that I’m really excited about. Before we joined the CSA, I bought my meat at Whole Foods, and it was rare for me to purchase cuts on the more expensive side like lamb, bison, etc. So when we randomly receive them in our CSA share, it makes for a great surprise. Of course, I get excited when we have more than one package of ground beef, too, because that means more burgers for me :)

What we Loved: My favorite thing about this meal was that it was so different. When the sauce was finished, I told Brandon that I had never put something of that color on the plate in my kitchen before – and I love that. And not only was the sauce pretty, but it tasted fantastic. The red wine, onions, and garlic lent a prominent and rich savory flavor that matched so well with the tart and delicious blueberries and balsamic. Lamb is one of my favorite meats because of its rich and strong savory flavor, so I thought that the decadent sauce was really a perfect pairing. With some mashed cauliflower with Parmesan and onions on the side, I think I would best describe this as a fancy comfort dish.

Helpful Hints: While it may not make for as pretty of a plate, I might recommend putting the blueberry sauce in a sauce dish for dipping. It sure was hard to figure out how to cut around the bones with that dark sauce on top.

Lamb Chops with Blueberry Pan Sauce

Source: Adapted from Mike’s Table to serve 2

4 lamb chops
Kosher salt and black pepper
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1/2 small onion, diced
1 large clove garlic, minced
1/4 cup red wine (I used cabernet sauvignon)
1/2 cup fresh blueberries
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

1. Take the lamb chops out of the refrigerator 30 minutes before cooking to let them come to room temperature. Season both sides with salt and pepper.

2. Heat the butter and oil in a saute pan over medium heat. Add the lamb chops, and cook for 1-2 minutes on each side to brown.

3. Move the lamb chops to a baking dish, and insert a meat thermometer in the thickest part of one of the chops. For medium, bake at 400 degrees until the lamb reaches 140 degrees, approximately 6-10 minutes. When the lamb chops are done, remove them from the oven and let rest for 5 minutes.

4. While the lamb is cooking, make the sauce. Add the onions to the saute pan that you browned the lamb in, and cook until softened. Add the garlic, and cook for an additional 30 seconds. Deglaze the pan with the red wine, and cook until reduced by half. Add the blueberries and balsamic vinegar, and simmer for 2-3 minutes. Puree the sauce in a food processor until smooth.

5. Serve the lamb chops with the blueberry sauce.

Prosciutto-Wrapped Lamb Burgers

Prosciutto-Wrapped Lamb Burgers

*Photo Updated April 2012*

Inspiration: It’s been gorgeous here lately, and that’s been making me a very happy girl. 85 and sunny every day! When that kind of weather hits, I just love having fresh and summery foods. Something about sitting down to a nice summery supper when the weather is sunny and beautiful just brightens my mood even more.

What we Loved: I’ve found one of my all-time favorite burgers. I absolutely loved everything about this burger, from the ridiculously juicy lamb to the fresh pile of pesto on top to all of the wonderful flavors mixed into the burger itself. One of the good things about lamb for making burgers is that it’s very fatty, so these burgers were so tender and juicy. Plus, the prosciutto wrapped around the burgers helped to keep some of the juice in, and the eggs/cream mixed into the burgers really helped with the tenderness, too. The other add-ins to the burger – namely Parmesan and sundried tomatoes – added a great kick of rich and cheesy flavor. I’d really liken this to an Italian meatloaf, both in texture and flavor. With the dollop of pesto on top, it really was over-the-edge delicious!

Helpful Hints: I recently learned from Bobby Flay to form your burgers thinner on the inside than around the edges, which will prevent them from bloating up in the middle and forming a too-round burger while they cook. I made a nice depression in the center of these burgers before cooking, and it really did work perfectly and resulted in burgers that were nice and flat.

Prosciutto-Wrapped Lamb Burgers
Source: Adapted from Giada De Laurentiis

1/4 cup almond meal
1 small egg
1 tablespoon cream
1/3 cup grated Parmesan
1/8 – 1/4 cup chopped sundried tomatoes
Kosher salt and black pepper
1/2 lb ground lamb
2-4 slices prosciutto (enough to wrap the burgers)
Extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons pesto
Other desired toppings

1. Combine the almond meal, egg, cream, Parmesan, sundried tomatoes, and a big pinch of salt and pepper in a bowl. Stir to combine. Add the lamb, and mix to incorporate.

2. Place the slices of prosciutto on a cutting board. My prosciutto slices were thin and narrow, so I used four pieces total. For each burger, I placed one piece vertically on the cutting board and then one piece horizontally on top to form a cross.

3. Place the burger on top of the prosciutto, and fold the prosciutto up and around the burger so that the bottom is covered and the prosciutto clings to the sides or top.

4. Heat a drizzle of olive oil in a saute pan. Place the burgers in the pan prosciutto-side down, and cook for approximately 6-8 minutes. Flip, and cook for 6-8 minutes more.

5. Top the burgers with a dollop of pesto and any other desired toppings.

Lamb Chops with Mint Gremolata

Inspiration: 1) I was at my parents’ house recently and had some fantastic lamb, and it made me wonder why I didn’t cook with it more. B and I both love it, and B very often orders it if it’s on the menu in a nicer restaurant. 2) B was looking through our wine shelves recently and mentioned that he’d like to have a nice dinner soon so that we could open one of our nicer bottles. 3) The Curious Case of Benjamin Button was waiting to be watched and returned to Netflix. 4) Sunday nights were just made for relaxing at home with loved ones and nice suppers, weren’t they?

What we Loved: Like I said, B and I both really love lamb, and we really loved the simplicity of the way that the lamb was cooked in this recipe. It was just pan-seared with salt, pepper, and olive oil until a nice crust formed, which is really my favorite way to cook an expensive cut of meat when the grill isn’t an option (which ours wasn’t, as it’s buried in snow). I always feel like you shouldn’t use too many ingredients, sauces, etc. and risk losing the actual flavor of the meat. That being said, the mint sauce that went on top of the lamb in this recipe was a really great compliment to the flavor of the meat itself, not obscuring it but offering such a fresh and minty contrast. I cut up my lamb and mixed it all together with the sauce, giving me just a tiny dollop of the sauce with each bite, which was perfect. We ate this lamb alongside some wild mushrooms sauteed with garlic and some mashed cauliflower mixed with carmelized onions and Parmesan. Such a perfect meal!

Helpful Hints: This is the first time that I’ve ever cooked with mint. Until now, I was hesitant and a little scared to do it. I don’t care for sweet and savory combinations (ham with pineapple, chicken or fish with fruit, etc.), and I really didn’t think that I would enjoy lamb with chewing gum. However, I’m so glad that I gave this a try. The mint flavor added such a bright and fresh component to this dish that was unlike anything I’ve ever eaten. So if you’re scared, I’d recommend trying it anyway!

Lamb Chops with Mint Gremolata
Source: bitchincamero

I adapted the recipe slightly. Here’s the recipe as I made it.

For the Lamb
Lamb chops (desired amount)
Kosher salt and black pepper
Extra virgin olive oil

For the Gremolata
1 handful mint leaves
3 cloves garlic
1/4 teaspoon lemon zest
Kosher salt and black pepper
2-3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1. Take your lamb chops out of the fridge, and season both sides with salt and pepper. Let the chops sit for about 30 minutes to come to room temperature.

2. While the chops are coming to room temperature, make the gremolata sauce. Add all of the ingredients into a small food processor, and process until finely chopped.

3. Heat a saute pan over medium high heat. When the pan is hot, add a good drizzle of olive oil and about a tablespoon of butter. Add the lamb chops, cover the pan, and cook for approximately 4 minutes. Once you place the chops in the pan, don’t touch them until you’re ready to flip. This will help create a sear.

4. Flip the lamb chops, and cook for approximately 4 minutes longer for rare. If you like your meat medium or medium-well, cook longer. The cooking time will depend upon the thickness of the chops and your tastes.

4. Serve the lamb chops topped with the gremolata.