British BBQ-time: Lamb koftas with pickled onion salad and feta


Over recent years the changing of the clocks has not only heralded the arrival of British Summer Time, but also the ever unexpected though increasingly reliable burst of gorgeous summer-esque weather. The last week or so has been a scorcher, which has led me to crave light and fresh summery dinners of salads and, well, salads to be honest. It’s been a bit salad heavy up in Feed & Gastro towers, much to Sven’s chagrin probably (never a particularly professed lover of salad). So when I thought Sven was about up to his eyeballs with chicken salad, Greek salad, and cous cous salad, and every other salad under the sun, I thought it was about time to turn to meat.

That’s the funny thing about hot weather. Whilst the hot sweltering (we’ll be lucky) days make you want to eat light, the long balmy evenings say one thing and one thing only: BARBECUE! Sizzling chargrilled meat, served alongside cold beer and good friends. So to celebrate the return of British BBQ-time, I rustled up these spiced lamb kofta kebabs, with, um, er, salad. Why break a habit of a lifetime, eh? Meat and salad, natural summer bed-fellows.

Lamb koftas with pickled red onion salad

(adapted from Jamie Oliver)

Serves 4

  • 500g good quality lamb mince
  • a small bunch of fresh thyme
  • 1 tbsp cumin
  • 2 tbsp sumac
  • juice and zest of 1 lemon
  • 2 tsp chilli powder
  • sea salt and black pepper
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 red onion
  • a good mix of salad leaves, some crunchy
  • a small bunch of fresh mint
  • a small bunch of fresh parsley
  • natural yoghurt
  • 6-8 small flatbreads (we managed 1 1/2 each – they are surprisingly filling)
  • hummus, drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with paprika
  • 1 block of feta cheese, crumbled.

Combine the lamb mince with the picked leaves of your thyme, cumin, sumac, lemon zest, chilli and a good pinch of salt and pepper. Drizzle with a little extra virgin olive oil. Pulse until well combined and is the texture of a very fine mince.

Divide the mixture into six equally sized pieces and get six skewers.

Stretch and mould the meat mixture around the skewers, until you have long sausage-like koftas (I won’t mention what else they look like, ahem). These are now ready to sizzle on the barbecue (or on a griddle pan or even under the grill). Cook until golden on each side.

Now, if you go for traditional gender stereotypes, your mans can get on with burning the meat on the barbecue whilst you frou frou in the kitchen and make the salady bits. Or if like me, you’re doing everything yourself, or you’re a modern man who is comfortable enough with his sexuality to make salad himself, then you might want to prepare the salad in advance (but don’t dress it until the last minute). Slice your red onion as finely as you possibly can, and put in a bowl. Season with a generous pinch of sea salt and a good grind of black pepper and the juice of half the lemon, which will lightly pickle the onion.

In a second bigger bowl combine your salad leaves with the picked leaves of your mint and parsley, and add the pickled onion. Mix together. Dress lightly with a little olive oil and a squeeze of lemon juice (from the remaining half).

Warm your flatbreads for 30 seconds or so under your grill, then dress with a little salad, a drizzle of natural yoghurt and a dollop of hummus. Slip the kebabs off their skewers and break them up into the wraps (1 per wrap is plenty). Finally, scatter over some of the crumbled feta. Wrap and serve. Of course, ever the lazy host, I just put all the bits on the table and let my mates grab whatever they wanted.

Bloody good bbq fare. Serve with cous cous too if you like, we did!

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Filed under Lamb, Main courses, Recipes, Spices

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