Monday, March 7, 2011

Zucchini-wrapped lamb koftas

How often do you make the same dish, over and over and over?

I have phases where I'll make the same favourite dish every week... until I get sick of it, or something else takes the mantle of 'most wanted'.  I've made this lamb kebab/kofta three times in three months, so I'm not yet weary of it.  It does take a bit of effort in pre-cooking the lamb and the zucchini, but this can be done beforehand, with the dish assembled, ready for the oven just before you want to serve it.  And don't forget the amazing red sauce - the hint of chilli flakes in the sweet tomato sauce will have you coming back for more.

Just a note on terminology: I call them 'zucchinis', but the recipe (which is by UK-based Yotam Ottolenghi) refers to them as 'courgettes'.  I'd also refer to the lamb balls as 'koftas' rather than 'kebabs', but I thought I'd follow the recipe. Heck, who am I kidding? This isn't some Nobel Prize essay - just call them scrumptious.

Courgette-wrapped lamb kebabs
serves 2-4

2 tblsp pine nuts, lightly toasted
50g stale white bread, crusts removed
300g minced lamb
55g feta cheese, crumbled
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground cumin
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 egg
15g flat-leaf parsley, chopped
1 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
light olive oil, for frying
2 medium courgettes (zucchini)

2 tblsp olive oil
2 garlic cloves, crushed
400g Italian tinned tomatoes, crushed
pinch dried chilli flakes
1 tsp basil leaves, chopped

1.  For the sauce: Place the oil and crushed garlic in a saucepan and stir over medium heat for 1-2 minutes.  Add the tinned tomatoes and chilli flakes and season with salt. Bring to the boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes, until slightly thickened. Remove from the heat, taste and adjust seasoning. Set aside.
2.  For the kebabs: Soak the bread in cold water for 2 minutes, then drain and squeeze to remove most of the water. Crumble the bread into a large mixing bowl and add the lamb, crumbled feta, pine nuts, spices, garlic, egg, parsley, salt and pepper.  Mix the ingredients with your hands until well combined, but do not overmix.  Shape into 12 fat, cigar-shaped balls.
3.  Pour 5mm (1/4") depth of olive oil into a large frying pan and shallow-fry the kebabs for 1 minute on each side until they are browned. Remove from the pan and set aside on a baking tray.
4.  Preheat oven to 200C/400F.
5.  For the courgettes: Slice off both ends and then cut long, thin slices down the length of each courgette. You'll need about 12 slices (the same number as there are kebabs).  Brush each slice with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.  Place a chargrill pan over high heat. When heated, lay the courgette slices in the hot pan and cook for 2 minutes on each side, until grill marks appear.  Remove to a tray to cool.
6.  Wrap each kebab finger in a slice of courgette and arrange in a single layer in a baking dish. Bake in the preheated oven for 8-10 minutes, until cooked through.
7.  To serve, bring the sauce back to the boil, add the basil and stir through.  Arrange the kebabs on serving plates and spoon over the sauce.

recipe adapted from Ottolenghi the cookbook
Ingredients, including tomatoes and garlic (for the sauce), and feta, egg, spices, pine nuts and lamb (for the kebabs)
The zucchini are chargrilled before wrapping around the pan-fried lamb kebabs.
Keep away from curious Tabitha cats.  
The kebabs are beautiful when served with the sauce on top

And the sauce is also fantastic on its own, with pasta


  1. Belle! That looks DELICIOUS! Perfect for work lunch too. Will have to try this

  2. I swear I've flipped through this cookbook a ridiculous amount of times and I don't remember this recipe! Looks delicious! I absolutely need to try it.

  3. eee i love that dish you have for the garlic!

  4. Hehe I do too! I thought that was just me with my repetitive lunches (although I try and do different things for dinners). These look fabulous and even part finger food too!

  5. these look yum... I need to dust off my Ottolenghi and get cooking.

  6. It's so cute how you wrap them in zucchini :) And they look so delicious, I can see why you'd make them so often!

  7. Your dish is SO the idea of using zucchini as a wrap. Looks delicious and so it! Have a great week ahead Bel :-)

  8. They look so lovely, I think I would be very happy to eat them every week too :)

  9. Those look divine! Fabulous photography! I'm definitley going to be trying these!

    Great blog; happy I found you!

    Mary xx
    Delightful Bitefuls

  10. Well, you can call _me_ anything except late for dinner if you were making these.

    Saving this recipe fo shiz!

  11. What a lovely presentation. These really look delightful. I'm relatively new to your blog and don't comment as often as I should. I just wanted you to know how much I like your blog and the food and recipes you feature here. I always enjoy my visits. I hope you have a great day. Blessings...Mary

  12. I would love this with some wholewheat pasta which I just had for dinner. Those lamb kebabs look fantastic!

  13. Hey, diggin bright red the sauce-I can taste the sweet/tangy/slightly spicy flavours. Yum.

    Oh and love the shot of your kitty in the background!

  14. Oh my goodness, this looks absolutely incredible! Your pictures are beautiful as well, thanks so much or sharing :)

  15. Who the hell cares what you call them. They're so quick & easy to make. Perfect for when I couldn't be bothered faffing around too long in the kitchen after work

  16. yea sometimes id have the same dish 4 times a week if im in that phase! haha. this looks like a bit more of an effort to make but love to give this a go...ive never cooked with lamb mince before! ohh..ive been thinking about ordering the ottolengh cookbook online...its good?

  17. Courgettes always sound so much fancier than zucchinis. lol. These look delicious no matter what you call them!

  18. Hey Bel! This looks delicious. Your photos really show how nice a dish this is. Oh, and I think you might love lamb as much as I do/used to;-) You seem to make it a fair bit, and I don't blame you (smile but seriously)...

  19. Such a fun way to prepare kebabs!

    It is Kebab week at Get Grillin' we would love if you submitted up to any 3 recipes (they don't have to be grilled) to our link up. This one would be perfect! This week we have a Rosle Grill Utensils giveaway.