Eating lamb is a spring tradition throughout the world - they were often a sacrificial animal, symbolizing rebirth. This is especially true in the Middle East, where lamb is commonly consumed and used in religious rites. Lebanon (being the country that was continually invaded - a bit like the puniest kid on the playground who could never stand up to those around him) has an array of cuisines brought to its lands by foreign invaders. Lamb became a staple around the 1500s, when the Ottoman Empire ruled. Kafta, essentially lamb meatballs usually barbequed on skewers, increasingly predominated the culinary scene. But, as what happens when any region adapts a recipe as its own, Lebanese inclinations concerning their food modified and shaped these little mouthwatering pieces of protein. Since they border the Mediterranean, Lebanese cuisine relies on the freshness that comes from an array of vegetables and fruit, but also has the complexities of spices and herbs that are to be found in the Middle East (as well as the sophistication that came from being a French mandate). Seafood is a popular staple because of the location, as is poultry; pork is hardly consumed and the main red meat is lamb.
Laurentian Leadership Center a little over a year ago. After several hours of loveliness, we parted ways after appointing another time to (hopefully) carry out our carnivorous habits (unless we decide on a vegetarian dish - unlikely!). Perhaps next time it will have something to do with veal, just to outrage a few more people.*
*Note: I could never cook veal. Baby cows are just so sweet, have the loveliest brown eyes, and softest noses.
2 lbs finely ground lamb
1 c. fresh parsley, finely chopped
1 c. fresh mint, finely chopped
1 large onion, minced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 lemon, juiced
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. coriander
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. cloves
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1 tbs. olive oil
1 c. cherry tomatoes, cut into quarters
1/2 long english cucumber (or preferably, 4 lebanese cucumbers), chopped
1/2 sweet white onion (vidalia is a good choice), finely chopped
1 sweet yellow pepper, chopped
1/2 c. fresh mint, finely chopped
1/2 c. fresh parsley, finely chopped
1/2 lemon, juiced
2 tsp. extra-virgin olive oil
salt to taste
2 heads garlic, tops taken off
1/4 c. extra virgin olive oil
1 lemon, juiced
salt, to taste
1/4 c. yoghurt (I didn't have this on hand, so I just left it out - just as good, but less saucy.)
1 c. bulgur wheat
2 1/2 c. water
1. Place 2 1/2 c. water on to boil. When it comes to a rolling boil, add bulgur wheat. Take off the stove. Let soak in the hot water for around 30 mins. Strain and fluff with fork.
2. Mix kofta mixture thoroughly. Place on flat skewers if BBQing, if not (like I had to), heat a cast iron skillet with 1 tbs. olive oil. Shape meat into flat long patties. Place in heated pan. Cook, turning occasionally, until brown and cooked through - about 8 minutes.
3. Toss all the ingredients for the salatat together.
4. Preheat oven to 400F. Place garlic bulbs in the oven. Let roast for around 10 minutes, or until soft and dark brown. Place garlic, without skin, along with the rest of the toomeh ingredients, into a blender. Blend until smooth.
5. Serve kofta on a bed of bulgur and salad. Drizzle toomeh on top.
6. Pray. Eat. Enjoy. Pray again for eating a baby animal.