Try the Persian version of lamb koftas with spice, pine nuts and currants. Ideal for sharing as part of a mezze meal.
500g/1lb 2oz lamb mince (not too lean)
1 large onion, minced or very finely chopped
1 heaped tsp turmeric
½ tsp ground cinnamon
2-3 tsp ground cumin
1½ tsp crushed sea salt
50g/1¾oz pine nuts, lightly toasted
large handful currants
2 x 20g packets of flatleaf parsley, leaves and stalks finely chopped
2 large free-range eggs, beaten
vegetable oil, for frying
Preheat the oven to 140C/275F/Gas 1. Line an ovenproof dish with non-stick baking paper.
Put all ingredients, except the oil, into a large mixing bowl. Using your hands mix everything together. Really work the mixture for a good few minutes, taking the time to pummel the meat until it has broken down and to ensure that the egg and spices are evenly distributed into the mixture.
Take a small handful of mixture, slightly larger than a golf ball, and shape into a small, elongated sausage-like shape, just over 5cm/2in long, with slightly pointed ends and a fatter middle. This is the traditional kefta shape, but you can shape them into small or large patties or simply make meatballs, the choice is yours. Repeat until all the mixture has been used.
Heat a large, non-stick frying pan over a medium-high heat. Heat a drizzle of the oil in the pan and fry several of the patties at a time without overcrowding the pan. Don’t flip them over until you see a little brown crust forming on the underside. Brown on all sides, then transfer to the ovenproof dish lined with non-stick baking paper and keep the cooked batches warm in the oven while you fry the remaining kefta.
Serve hot as part of a mezze meal.
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James Martin presents with help from top chefs Gennaro Contaldo and Francesco Mazzei.