(Middle Eastern spiced meatballs)
4 to 6 servings, or about 20 meatballs
- Ground lamb or beef, or a mixture of the two -- 2 pounds
- Onion, minced -- 1
- Fresh parsley or mint, finely chopped -- 1/2 bunch
- Ground cumin -- 1 tablespoon
- Cinnamon -- 2 teaspoons
- Allspice (optional) -- 1 teaspoon
- Salt and pepper -- to season
- Oil -- 1/4 cup
- Place the ground beef or lamb, onion, herbs, spices, salt and pepper in a large bowl and knead together well. Wrap in plastic and chill for 1-2 hours to allow the flavors to mingle and make the meat easier to handle.
- Form the meat mixture into balls, patties or ovals the size of a small egg.
- Heat the oil in a skillet over medium flame and, working in batches, sauté the meatballs until browned on all sides and cooked through. Browned meatballs can also be finished in a 350ºF oven.
- Serve as is or in pita bread as a sandwich with tzatziki sauce.
- Keftedes (Greece): add some breadcrumbs and a little red wine to the meat mixture.
- Köfte (Turkey): add some breadcrumbs and form the meat into a sausage shape on skewers. Oil the meat well and grill over hot coals.
- Before frying, you can roll the kefta in some flour and shake off the extra to help them brown.
- Experiment with different seasonings--coriander, cayenne, sesame seeds.