Watching Rick Stein’s latest TV series inspired me to go back to the book of his last series – From Venice to Istanbul – and search for a new recipe to try, and I found these wonderful lamb & pistachio kofte. I’ve made a Moro recipe for kofte for years and it’s become my ‘standard’, but I liked the idea of adding pistachios. Fortuitously, the weather decided to cooperate with my plan and summer came back after a few days of rain and cold. Summer is such an uncertain thing in UK that we have to take our chance when it puts in an appearance. I rang Jonathan and suggested they came round for a barbecue. He was already defrosting some chicken breasts so said he’d marinate them to bring. Meanwhile, I planned some salads and set to making the kofte and dough for flat bread to accompany them (using Moro’s quick flatbread recipe from Casa Moro).
Rick Stein’s Lamb & Pistachio Köfte
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- ½ tsp fennel seeds
- ½ tsp coriander seeds
- 1.2kg lamb mince
- handful of chopped flat-leaf parsley
- 1 tsp dried mint
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 2 cloves garlic crushed or grated
- 75g pistachios, roughly crushed
- 1 tsp chilli flakes
- 1 tsp salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- juice of 1 lemon
- plain flour to bind, if necessary
- olive oil for brushing
Crush the spice seeds with a pestle and mortar; roughly crush the pistachios. Put the lamb mince in a large bowl and add the crushed spices, pistachios and all the other ingredients.
Mix well together with your hands. Do not be tempted to put into a food processor or you will have a paste – not the right consistency at all. If it’s too wet, add a little plain flour to help bind the mixture together.
Put a little oil on your hands, take some of the mixture and form into a sausage shape on a skewer. Rick says the recipe makes 8-10 kofte. However, I weighed out 100g for each kofta (which makes a pretty big one!) and made 9 for today and had some mixture over. I made another 4 x 100g kofte which I shaped like little burgers, plus 2 smaller ones, and I put these into the freezer for another day.
I made these a couple of hours in advance so kept them in the fridge until needed. Then I got on with some salads. I made a lovely freekeh salad with mint, parsley, roasted hazelnuts, crumbled feta, pomegranate seeds and a dressing of olive oil, lemon juice and pomegranate molasses.
Then I made some flatbreads using Moro’s quick flatbread recipe (click here). I’ve always bought white bread flour before but saw some spelt wholegrain suitable for breads in Waitrose this morning and decided to try that.
They didn’t puff up quite as much as usual but they tasted really good from all that extra nutty taste in the flour. And, of course, they were healthier. Fourteen-month-old Freddie, who loves bread of all kinds, tucked into them enthusiastically.
I also made a green salad. When Jonathan arrived he got the barbecue going quickly and soon the meat was cooking. First of all he grilled the big chicken breasts he’d marinated. And they were SO good! The chicken was from our local farmers’ market and it’s the best we can find anywhere, always so tender and tasty.
He done a very simple oil and lemon juice marinade for Freddie’s benefit. But as it turned out, Freddie thought Nonna’s (as he calls me) – or perhaps I should say Rick Stein’s – lamb & pistachio kofte were AMAZING! Lyndsey gave him small pieces from her plate and he kept wanting more.
It was wonderful to sit in the sunny garden. We had a plate of gorgeous food, sipped at chilled white wine, and it turned into a perfect Sunday afternoon.
The kofte were a big hit with the adults too so I’m sure this is going to become a favourite family recipe. Meanwhile, I now have some tucked away in my freezer so I’m certainly going to enjoy more on another day.